Population. New Zealand is an island country in the South West Pacific, about 1,200 miles South East of Australia. The population of New Zealand in 1986 was about 3.3 million. The population density is low relative to world standards, although this partly reflects the rugged landscape, which makes substantial areas of both main islands unsuitable for high density settlement. The population is a highly urbanised one, with about 84 per cent living in urban areas. There is a concentration of the population in the North Island and around the northern city of Auckland.