An archipelago lying some 2,000 kilometers southeast of Australia in the southern Pacific Ocean, the New Zealand Biodiversity Hotspot covers the country's three main islands (North Island, South Island and Stewart Island) and several smaller surrounding islands: the Chatham Islands, Kermadec Islands and Subantarctic Islands (including Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Campbell Island, Snares Islands, Auckland Islands and Macquarie Island). Also included are Lord Howe and Norfolk islands, both Australian territories.
Like the nearby New Caledonia Biodiversity Hotspot, New Zealand is an "ancient life-raft." Largely isolated for millions of years, the islands have evolved unique flora and fauna.
New Zealand ranges in latitude from subtropical to subantarctic and is a land of varied landscapes, with rugged mountains, rolling hills and wide plains. It is a tectonically active hotspot with frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.
New Zealand's forests have been greatly depleted, but, of the remaining forests, the most impressive are those of giant New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis), which are restricted to the far north.