The North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the slightly larger but much less populous South Island by the Cook Strait. The island is the world's 14th-largest island. It has a population of 3,422,000 (June 2013 estimate).
Twelve main urban areas (half of them officially cities) are in the North Island. Listing from north to south, they are Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings, Whanganui, Palmerston North, and Wellington, the capital, located at the south-west extremity of the island. Approximately 77% of New Zealand's population lives in the North Island.
Open Water Swimming
Barry Devonport was the first person to swim across the Cook Strait when he crossed from North Island to South Island on 20 November 1962 in 11 hours 20 minutes. Several dozens of channel swimmers have since successfully crossed between North Island and South Island, many under the guidance of Philip Rush.
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