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The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats.If no majority is formed, a minority government can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply votes is assured. Since the 2014 election, there have been 71 electorates (which includes 7 Māori electorates), and the remaining 49 seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electorate or 5% of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats.The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.
During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life.
The Moriori population was all but wiped out between 18, largely because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases also contributed.
In 1862 only 101 survived, and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.
Sometime between 12, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture.
In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand.