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North Island

North Island
Te Ika-a-Māui
NewZealand.A2002296.2220.250m North Island crop.jpg
Satellite image of the North Island
North IslandTe Ika-a-Māui is located in Oceania
North IslandTe Ika-a-Māui
North Island
Te Ika-a-Māui
Geography
Location Oceania
Coordinates 38°24′S 175°43′E / 38.400°S 175.717°E / -38.400; 175.717
Archipelago New Zealand
Area 113,729 km2 (43,911 sq mi)
Area rank 14th
Highest elevation 2,797 m (9,177 ft)
Highest point Mount Ruapehu
Administration
New Zealand
ISO 3166-2:NZ NZ-N
Regions 9
Territorial authorities 43
Largest settlement Auckland (pop. 1,495,000)
Demographics
Population 3,596,200 (June 2016)
Pop. density 31.6 /km2 (81.8 /sq mi)
Urban areas of the North Island by population
Urban area Region Population (June 2016) Urban area Region Population (June 2016)
1 Auckland Auckland 1,495,000   11 Wanganui Manawatu-Wanganui 39,600
2 Wellington Wellington 405,000   13 Gisborne Gisborne 36,100
3 Hamilton Waikato 230,000   13 Pukekohe Auckland 29,800
4 Tauranga Bay of Plenty 134,400   14 Taupo Waikato 24,100
5 Napier-Hastings Hawke's Bay 131,000   15 Masterton Wellington 21,200
6 Palmerston North Manawatu-Wanganui 84,300   16 Levin Manawatu-Wanganui 20,600
7 Rotorua Bay of Plenty 57,800   17 Whakatāne Bay of Plenty 19,600
8 New Plymouth Taranaki 56,800   18 Feilding Manawatu-Wanganui 16,250
9 Whangarei Northland 56,400   19 Tokoroa Waikato 13,700
10 Kapiti Wellington 41,800   20 Hawera Taranaki 11,800

The North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui (Māori) is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the slightly larger but much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island's area is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi), making it the world's 14th-largest island. It has a population of 3,596,200 (June 2016).

Twelve main urban areas (half of them officially cities) are in the North Island. Listing from north to south, they are Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings, Whanganui, Palmerston North, and Wellington, the capital, located at the south-west extremity of the island. About 77% of New Zealand's population lives in the North Island.

Although the island has been known as the North Island for many years, in 2009 the New Zealand Geographic Board found that, along with the South Island, the North Island had no official name. After a public consultation, the board officially named the island North Island or Te Ika-a-Maui in October 2013.

In prose, the two main islands of New Zealand are called the North Island and the South Island, with the definite articles. It is normal to use the preposition in rather than on, for example "Hamilton is in the North Island", "my mother lives in the North Island". Maps, headings, tables and adjectival expressions use North Island without the.

According to Māori mythology, the North and South Islands of New Zealand arose through the actions of the demigod Māui. Māui and his brothers were fishing from their canoe (the South Island) when he caught a great fish and pulled it from the sea. While he was not looking his brothers fought over the fish and chopped it up. This great fish became the North Island and thus a Māori name for the North Island is Te Ika-a-Māui (The Fish of Māui). The mountains and valleys are believed to have been formed as a result of Māui's brothers' hacking at the fish. Until the early 20th Century, an alternative Māori name for the North Island was Aotearoa. In present Māori usage, Aotearoa is a collective name for New Zealand as a whole.


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