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New Zealand is part of the British Commonwealth and is located in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. New Zealand consists of the North and South Islands. Colonized by the Maori about 1,000 years ago, the island nation is now an exciting mix of natives and Europeans who have settled there because of the extraordinary natural beauty. The North Island features numerous active volcanoes and the Maori culture at its best, while the South Island is known for its amazing views which showcase the country’s renowned landscapes. New Zealand gained notoriety after director Peter Jackson chose the country as the set for his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.