New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses, that of the Northern, Southern, and numerous smaller islands. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. 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.