North Island of New Zealand measuring 113,729 km², is smaller then the South Island. Located between latitudes 34° and 42°south, and it runs almost parallel to longitude 170°east, separating the southwest Pacific Ocean from the Tasman Sea. This countries largest cityAuckland is located in the northern end of the island. The nations capital Wellington is situated on the Wellington Harbour at the southern end of the North Island, Wellington is also the terminal for the inter-island ferries connecting it to the Mainland.
According to Maori legend, Maui, the cultural hero, famous for his exploits and his trickery, caught the North Island with a hook made from his grandmothers jawbone, using his own blood as bait. He called this island Te Ika-a-Maui (The Fish of Maui). The mythical hero Kupe is credited by the Maori as being the first person to discover New Zealand, about 1000 years ago. For three hundred years after that up to ten large ocean going canoes immigrated from Hawaiki to Aotearoa, bringing the Maori race to this land.
The North Island is mainly rolling hill country, much of which is farmed. A series of narrow ranges (Kaimai, Tararua, Ruahine and Kaimanawa) form a roughly north-east belt of higher country that rises up to 1,700 m. Much of the surviving forest cover is found here and in other mountainous areas. In the central North Island, volcanoes, that have been active over the past million years, jut up thousands of metres near Lake Taupo and Taranaki. Lake Taupo is the country’s largest lake, formed by water filling a dormant volcanic crater. Nearby at Rotorua mud pools boil and geysers erupt, as part of the Taupo caldera.
In the central North Island are thousands of hectares of man made exotic pine forests, the timber is mostly used for paper production. There are paper factories at Taupo, Tokoroa, Whakatane and Kauwerau.
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