New Zealand information
|Human population||4.3 million|
New Zealand is strongly focussed towards tourists. Tourism contributes
around 10% of New Zealand's GDP.
New Zealand geography
New Zealand landscape comprises some of the most awe-inspiring scenery.
The two main islands are diverse. In the South island you will discover high mountain peaks, glaciers, breathe taking fiords and coastal plains. In the North Island you will see the land come to life, with active geysers, boiling mud pools and volcanoes sitting impressively in the middle of the island. Venture to the top of the island and around Coromandel Peninsula for golden sandy beaches.
|Highest mountain||Aoraki/Mt Cook (3,754 m)|
|Largest lake||Lake Taupo(616 km2)|
|Longest river||Waikato river (452 km)|
|Longest glacier||Tasman glacier (27 km long)|
|Deepest cave||Nettlebed2 (NW Nelson, 889 m)|
New Zealand history
settlers arrived into New Zealand(Aotearoa) about the 10th Century, and
by the 12th Century settlements were scattered around the coastline. New
Zealand was visited briefly by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642.
However, it was not until 1769 that the British naval captain James Cook
and his crew became the first Europeans to explore New Zealand's coastline
New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, a battle lead by Kate Sheppard in the 1890s, and it gained its independence from Great Britain in 1907. During the 1980s, free-market economic reform led to the creation of today's modern New Zealand.
New Zealand people and culture
Zealand's people are renowned for their friendliness, 'can do' attitude,
and their accomplishments. The population is mainly of European descent
but the indigenous Maori and their culture is prevalent throughout much
of New Zealand society. There are also large Asian and Pacific Island communities
with Auckland being classified as the largest Polynesian city in the world.
New Zealand has in recent years undergone a cultural renaissance, from classical diva Dame Kiri te Kanawa to rock bands such as Shihad. Karen Walker is our best known designer in the fashion world, who keeps up with the best of them in New York, Milan and Paris. Prominent film directors include Nicki Caro, director of Whale Rider and Jane Campion, director of films such as The Piano, Portrait of a Lady and Holy Smoke. Not to forget our most famous director, Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy,King Kong and the Lovely Bones.
The Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) isbased on the waterfront in the capital city of Wellington. The museum combines Maori, colonial and contemporary cultures into a unique experience reflective of New Zealand society.
Sport and outdoor pursuits play a large role with New Zealanders. The All Blacks are New Zealand's most world recognised national rugby team. They inspire fear and admiration in their opponents with the haka, a Maori war dance at the beginning of each match. The gold medal tally at every Olympic Games is eagerly watched by millions of Kiwis, and New Zealand is now making its mark in sports such as soccer (football), hockey, basketball and cricket.
Not forgetting our most famous New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, who, together with his Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest
New Zealand language
English and Maori are the official languages of New Zealand. Maori became an
official language in 1987.
New Zealanders have their own accent which is similar to, but possibly less pronounced, than the accent of their Australian neighbours. As in any country, there is a wide diversity in the way individuals speak, but in general terms New Zealanders are quick talkers.
New Zealanders naturally also have a few words all of their own, such as: to be crook (to be ill); a dairy (a convenience store); jandals (thongs or flip flops) and a bach (pronounced 'batch' - a holiday home).
In April 2006, New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language, alongside Maori and English.
New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand.
Maori is the native language of New Zealand's indigenous people. Although it is not commonly spoken as a first language, Maori can be seen every day in place names, heard on the radio and television, on marae (a Maori meeting house), and increasingly in schools and kindergartens..