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Realm of New Zealand


The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area (or realm) in which the Queen of New Zealand is head of state. New Zealand is an independent, sovereign state. It has one Antarctic territorial claim, the Ross Dependency; one dependent territory, Tokelau; and two associated states, the Cook Islands and Niue.

The King/Queen of New Zealand, represented by the Governor-General of New Zealand, is head of state throughout the Realm of New Zealand. The exact scope of the realm is defined by the 1983 Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General. It constitutes one of 16 realms within the Commonwealth.

The Cook Islands and Niue became New Zealand's first Pacific colonies in 1901 and then protectorates. From 1965 the Cooks were self-governing; so was Niue from 1974. Tokelau came under New Zealand control in 1925 and remains a non-self-governing territory.

The Ross Dependency comprises that sector of the Antarctic continent between 160° east and 150 west longitude, together with the islands lying between those degrees of longitude and south of latitude 60. The British (Imperial) government took possession of this territory in 1923 and entrusted it to the administration of New Zealand. Neither Russia nor the United States recognises this claim, and the matter is left unresolved (along with all other Antarctic claims) by the Antarctic Treaty, which serves to mostly smooth over these differences. It is largely uninhabited, apart from scientific bases.


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