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New Zealand facts and history in brief


New Zealand
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



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New Zealand is a country located in the Southwest Pacific.
Its most commonly used Maori language name is Aotearoa, usually translated Land of the Long White Cloud.
Originally Aotearoa applied only to the North Island and its literal translation is Long White Cloud (ao = cloud, tea = white, roa = long).
An earlier Maori name for New Zealand was Niu Tireni, a transliteration of New Zealand.
New Zealand is somewhat isolated in the ocean and consists of two main islands (prosaically known as the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands.
The continent of Australia is almost 2000 km to the northwest of the main islands.
To the south is Antarctica and to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

New Zealand - Aotearoa
National motto: Formerly "Onward"
Official languages; English, Maori
Capital; Wellington
Queen; Elizabeth II
Governor-General; Dame Silvia Cartwright
Prime Minister; Helen Clark
Area; 268,680 km
Population; 4,000,000 April 2003)
Independence - Date From the UK September 26, 1907
Currency; New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Time zone; UTC +12
National anthems; God Defend New Zealand, God Save The Queen
Internet TLD; .nz
Phone Calling Code; +64

History
New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major land masses.
Polynesian settlers arrived probably some time between 500 and 1300 AD, and established the indigenous Maori culture.
The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, who sailed up the west coast of the South and North islands in 1642.
The Dutch thought it was a single land which they named Staaten Landt.
It was later named "Nieuw Zeeland" after the area in Batavia where they had been based, which in turn was named after their province of Zeeland.
In 1769 Captain James Cook began extensive surveys of the islands.
This led to European whaling expeditions and eventually significant European colonisation.
The Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840 between the British government and the Maori established British sovereignty over New Zealand.
New Zealand became an independent dominion on September 26, 1907 by royal proclamation.
Full independence was granted by the United Kingdom Parliament with the Statute of Westminster in 1931; it was taken up upon the Statute's adoption by the New Zealand Parliament in 1947, since when New Zealand has been a sovereign constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Politics
New Zealand is a Constitutional Monarchy with a parliamentary democracy under the New Zealand Royal Titles Act 1953 Queen Elizabeth II, is Queen of New Zealand, and is represented as head of state by the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright.
Parliament, consists of the 120-member unicameral House of Representatives from which an executive Cabinet of about 20 ministers is appointed.
There is no written Constitution.
The Cabinet is led by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark of the centre-left Labour party, which governs in coalition with the further-left Progressive Coalition party, and with support from the centre-right United Future.
General elections are held every three years; the most recent were held in July 2002.
The Leader of the Opposition is Don Brash who became leader of the National party on 28 October 2003.
Currently seven parties are represented in the House of Representatives, which since 1996 has been elected by a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional.
New Zealand is a party to the ANZUS security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
In 1985 New Zealand refused to allow US nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships to enter its ports, causing the US to abrogate its ANZUS responsibilities to New Zealand in 1986.
New Zealand has not formally withdrawn from the treaty.

Judiciary
New Zealand has a High Court (formerly known as the Supreme Court) and a Court of Appeal (formerly part of the Supreme Court), as well as subordinate courts.
Appeal from decisions of the Court of Appeal can be appealed to Her Majesty in Council, who refers the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
In 2003 the Supreme Court Act was passed, abolishing appeals to the Privy Council, with effect from 2004 and setting up a local Supreme Court in Wellington.

Provinces and Regions
When originally settled, New Zealand was divided into provinces, though these were abolished in 1876 so that government could be centralised for financial reasons.
As a result, New Zealand has no separately represented subnational entity such as a province, state or territory apart from its local government.
Since 1876, local government has administered the various regions of New Zealand. Due to its colonial heritage, New Zealand local government was modelled fairly closely on British local government structures, with city, borough and county councils.
Over the years some of these councils merged with each other by mutual agreement.
Many councils were merged and reorganised into districts and regions by the Local Government Commission in 1989.
Today, New Zealand local government is divided into 16 regional Territorial Authorities that encompass 57 districts and 16 cities of which four are unitary authorities, with combined regional and district administrative roles (marked by a *): North Island Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne*, Hawke's Bay, Northland, Taranaki, Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington.
South Island Canterbury, Marlborough*, Nelson*, Otago, Southland, Tasman*, West Coast.
The Chatham Islands district council is also considered a separate territorial (unitary) authority due to its isolation and small population.
North Island-South Island Separatism Political separation of the two main islands was very much an issue in the 1860s.
The North Island was riven by war and political turmoil while the South island was prospering and prosperous.
The South Island grew very tired of financially supporting the North Island while receiving very little in return.
The feeling was particularly bitter between Otago and Auckland.
A Dunedin journalist, Julius Vogel began a strong campaign to make the South island completely independent.
The matter was put to a vote in Parliament on 19 September, 1865.
Seventeen members voted for separation and thirty one for unity so New Zealand remained united.
The question has never quite gone away but in modern times it is more a matter of humour than of serious debate.
Julius Vogel later became Prime Minister of a united New Zealand.

Geography
New Zealand is composed of two main islands and a number of smaller islands.
The South Island is the largest land mass, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Mount Cook, at 3754 metres.
There are eighteen peaks of more than three kilometres in the South Island.
The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism.
The tallest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2797 metres,) is an active cone volcano.
The total land area of New Zealand, 268,680 km, is somewhat less than that of Japan or of the British Isles, and slightly larger than Colorado in the USA.
The country extends more than 1600 km along its main, north-northeast axis.
The climate throughout the country is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0C or rising above 30C.
Conditions vary from wet and cold in Southland and the West Coast of the South Island, where most of the country's rain falls, to subtropical in Northland.
In Wellington the average minimum temperature in winter is 5.9C and the average maximum temperature in summer is 20.3C.

Scenic backdrop
New Zealand's scenery has appeared in a number of television programmes and films.
In particular, Hercules and Xena were filmed around Auckland, Heavenly Creatures in Christchurch.
Peter Jackson shot The Lord of the Rings in various locations around the country, taking advantage of the spectacular and relatively unspoiled landscapes.

Flora and Fauna
Because of its long isolation from the rest of the world, New Zealand has an extraordinary flora and fauna.
Until the arrival of the first humans just a millennium or two ago, 80% of the land was forested and, bar two species of bat, there were no mammals at all.
Instead, New Zealand's forests were inhabited by a diverse range of birds (many of them flightless), reptiles, and insects - some of them almost the size of a mouse (like the weta).

Economy
New Zealand has a modern, developed economy.
Its primary export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing and forestry.
There is also a substantial tourism industry.
The film and wine industries are considered to be up-and-coming.
Since 1984 successive governments have engaged in major economic restructuring, transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist and regulated economy to a liberalised, free-trade economy.
Despite periods of dynamic growth in the mid 1980s and early '90s, real incomes have declined from 1980 levels, and average yearly economic growth has been poorer than expected and is highly reliant on massive levels of immigration to boost GDP.
The current New Zealand government's economic objectives are centred around moving from being ranked among the lower end of the OECD countries to regaining a higher placing again, pursuing free-trade agreements, "closing the gaps" between ethnic groups, and building a "knowledge economy."
Unlike in previous decades, New Zealand has now contained inflationary pressures, meaning hyperinflation has been consigned to the past.
New Zealand is heavily dependent on trade - particularly in agricultural products - to drive growth, and it has been affected by global economic slowdowns and slumps in commodity prices.
Since agricultural exports are highly sensitive to currency values and a large percentage of consumer goods are imported, any changes in the value of the New Zealand dollar has a strong impact on the economy.
During the late 1980s, the New Zealand Government sold a number of major trading enterprises, including, amongst others, its telephone company, railway system, a number of radio stations and two banks in a series of asset sales.
Although the New Zealand Government continues to own a number of significant businesses, collectively known as State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), they are operated through arms-length shareholding arrangements as stand alone businesses that are required to operate profitably, just like any privately owned enterprise.
Various items of protective legislation establishes business objectives yet prevents shareholding governments from having influence over day to day operations of the business.
Postal services, electricity companies, radio and television broadcasters, as well as hospitals and other trading enterprises are established in this way.
The core State Service consists of government departments and ministries that primarily provide government administration, policy advice, law enforcement, and social services.

Demographics
Although the majority of the New Zealand population (~80%) is now of European origin, Maori people are the second largest ethnic group (14.7%).
Between the 1996 and 2001 census, people of Asian origin (6.6%) overtook Pacific Islanders (6.5%) as the third largest ethnic group.
Note that the census allowed multiple affiliations.
Maori culture is a significant feature of New Zealand's public life.
The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism and Methodism.
Over a third of the population is unaffiliated.

Culture of New Zealand
The culture of New Zealand incorporates both Maori culture and that of the descendants of the early British colonists, many of whom were of working class origin.
While British culture predominates, it has been significantly influenced by the Maori and Polynesians.
Scottish influences are particularly strong, particularly in the South Island.
In general, early immigrants from other parts of Europe and Asia, and World War II refugees (particularly the Dutch) were readily assimilated.
Small enclaves of these early immigrant cultures remain as islands of unique heritage in a sea of British colonial culture.
Unlike Australia, New Zealand has not experienced sizeable immigration from Mediterranean countries in Southern Europe, but in recent years there has been a considerable influx of migrants from Asia, which now makes up a significant proportion of the population, particularly in Auckland.
After the Second World War, significant immigration from the Pacific Islands began, so much so that there are now more nationals from some Pacific island nations living in New Zealand than on their home islands.
The wide variety of Pacific Island cultures have combined in New Zealand, mostly in South Auckland, to form a distinctive subculture that is separate from the Maori culture.
For a variety of reasons many Maori and Pacific people have been socially disadvantaged, forming an underclass in some areas.
Cultural considerations for both Maori and Pacific people now has a significant influence on educational, medical and social organisations, particularly in areas with high concentrations of these population groups.
Immigration policy in New Zealand has often been controversial, with some politicians claiming that the pace of immigration has been too rapid for New Zealand to absorb, and that recent immigrants are having trouble adapting the New Zealand society.
This position is seen by others as a cynical appeal to xenophobic sentiment in order to gain votes near election time, and these views are not widely supported by the general population.

Is there a separate New Zealand culture?
A number of New Zealand commentators have observed that there is no culture in New Zealand.
This has led to protests from those who believe that there is a uniquely definable New Zealand culture.
Perhaps one of the more memorable protests was the song "Culture" by The Knobz after outspoken Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon stated that New Zealand pop music was not part of the New Zealand cultural scene.
Similarities with Australia
New Zealand culture has been likened to Australian culture because it bears many similarities and the two nations have much in common.
Indeed the 1901 Australian Constitution included provisions to allow New Zealand to join Australia as its seventh state.
While there is no prospect of political union now, there is still a great deal of similarity between the two cultures, with the differences often only obvious to Australians and New Zealanders themselves.
Many only realise how much the two nationalities have in common when they go to Europe to work and travel, although New Zealanders are almost horrified at the idea that they have anything in common with Australians.
Ironically, many of them are more likely to have visited Europe than each other's countries, and this is especially true of Australians.
When the Australian actress Cate Blanchett told US talkshow host David Letterman that her time on location in New Zealand filming The Lord of the Rings was her first visit to the country, he was genuinely surprised, while she was equally puzzled by his reaction.
The New Zealand - Australia relationship is less one of friendship than it is of brotherhood: New Zealanders and Australians often fall out over relatively minor matters - there are few more bitterly - contested sporting events than the trans-Tasman rugby matches;
New Zealanders have never forgiven Australia for cricketer Trevor Chappell's underarm delivery; Australia's anger over the Air New Zealand/Ansett Airlines fiasco was sharper than could be easily explained by the mere facts, and so on.
New Zealanders regard Australians as loud and opinionated, while Australians ridicule New Zealanders for their supposedly closer relationship with 'Mother England', yet there is not the slightest doubt that underneath the name-calling and the petty grievances, in case of need New Zealanders and Australians defend one another with both passion and courage.
The ANZAC tradition is rarely called on, but it is very real.
Like Australians, New Zealanders have a 'love-hate' relationship with the UK, although anti-English sentiment is not as strong, and republicanism is not yet as emotive an issue as it is in Australia.
While the UK, especially London is the first port of call on the 'OE' or 'Overseas Experience' for young Kiwis, they can often be dismissive of the so-called 'Mother Country', deriding 'Poms' as snobbish, inflexible, and backward-looking.
New Zealanders felt badly about the UK's entry into the European Community in 1973, which deprived them of their main trading partner, and often feel affronted at being treated as 'Others' by British immigration at Heathrow.
The three "R's" of New Zealand culture are Rugby, Racing and Beer.
This cultural image probably has its origins in colonial agricultural New Zealand, when hard farm work such as harvesting, shearing and droving took place in hot summer conditions.
The large number of soldiers who left New Zealand to fight in the First and Second World Wars and their subsequent socialising have contributed to this image.
Although less obvious today, in the past team sports, particularly Rugby football, gambling on horse races, and sharing a beer after a hard day's work with some good friends or work mates have been significant images of New Zealand life.
This predominantly working-class male cultural image has previously been so strong that it has overshadowed other, perhaps higher, cultural aspects of New Zealand society.
Sporting and outdoor activities still play a significant part in the recreation of New Zealanders.
Participation in a sport, rather than mere spectating, is considered a worthy pursuit.
Team sports and sporting abilities are generally held in high regard, with top-performing players often becoming celebrities.
World-class achievement and continued winning at the international level are primary requirements.
Being second, or worse, after having achieved winner status, indicates that the players have become a bunch of losers and should not be playing the game any more.
However, any player or team who puts in a maximum effort and still loses, especially in a challenging situation, is often praised as if they had won anyway.

Kiwi
Although the Kiwi is an endangered flightless native bird, the name has also been adopted by New Zealanders when referring to themselves and their culture.
The Kiwi logo is often associated with New Zealand military forces and New Zealand goods.
The New Zealand dollar is often called the Kiwi dollar and the bird's image appears on both the 20 cent and one dollar coins.
The word kiwi, originating from Maori, is both singular and plural, when refering to the native bird, (as the word sheep is when referring to the animal). Do not be confused by the plural usage of Kiwis, which generally refers to New Zealanders.

Kiwiana
Items and icons from New Zealand's cultural heritage are often called Kiwiana, and include.
All Blacks (National Rugby team)
Black Singlet (worn by many farmers, shearers as well as representative athletes)
Buzzy Bee (child's toy)
Claytons (originally a non alcoholic beer, advertised as "The drink you have when you are not having a drink", that did not gain market acceptance. Now refers to any form of inferior substitute.)
Kiwi (native bird. Its stylised image or shape frequently appears on things associated with New Zealand)
Kiwifruit (Fruit from a goosberry vine originating in China but selectively bred by New Zealand horticulturalists to obtain large green, and recently gold, fleshed fruit.)
L&P (Lemon and Paeroa- a popular soft drink)
Silver Fern (native plant. Its stylised image or shape is displayed by many of the national sports teams.)
Tiki (A Maori icon, often worn as a necklace pendant.)
There are Kiwiana sections in many New Zealand museums, and some are dedicated to showing Kiwiana only.

Attitudes
The remoteness of many parts of New Zealand and the distance of the country from much of the developed world meant that things that were easily obtainable in other parts of the world were often not readily available locally.
This has given rise to the attitudes "She'll be right, mate" as well as "Can do".
"She'll be right, mate" is the attitude that the situation, repairs, or whatever has been done is adequate or sufficient for what is needed. This is often perceived as carelessness, especially when a failure occurs.
"Can do" is the attitude that the problem or situation can be solved, despite apparently insurmountable odds. This has sometimes lead to spectacular failure instead of success when inadequately prepared. This is a matter of pride and national identity, summed up in the saying "If anybody can a Kiwi can".
Another expression is "if you can fix it with a piece of No.8 wire..." meaning that it can be fixed with anything.
Australians and Americans have similar expressions involving coat hangers and duct tape.
"Cultural Cringe". Many New Zealanders are very conscious of belonging to a small country remote from the world centres of power and culture. Because of this they need reassurance that things in New Zealand are every bit as good as those in the rest of the world, coupled with a sneaking suspicion that maybe they are not. This manifests itself in several forms such as: adulation of any visiting celebrity; asking visitors what they think of New Zealand, usually as they are arriving or; the desperate assertion that sheep shearing is a valid sport or maybe art form.
Cultural cringe as manifested by the media and some politicians means that New Zealand should experience the same disasters and vicissitudes as the rest of the world.
Thus in late 2002 and early 2003 the New Zealand media appeared quite upset because the country could boast no cases of SARS or examples of international terrorism.
Cultural Cringe is not necessarily shared by those New Zealanders exhibiting the first two examples of Kiwi attitude but it is a pervasive New Zealand attitude.

Attribution.
Because many New Zealanders have to go elsewhere in the world to achieve fame and fortune, New Zealand society is keen to attribute famous people as being New Zealanders, however short their residency in New Zealand might have been.
While being born in New Zealand is an absolute qualification for being identified as a New Zealander, attendance at a New Zealand school, or being a permanent resident in New Zealand when fame is initially achieved also qualifies, irrespective of national origin.
This sometimes leads to famous people being identified as coming from both New Zealand and another country - often Australia, such as the pop group Crowded House, and the Pavlova desert, both of which are claimed by Aussies and Kiwis as 'theirs'.

Social Conservatism.
While New Zealand has pioneered social reforms, including votes for women and the welfare state, its society can also be very conservative in outlook.
Until the late 1960s, pubs would close at 6pm in an attempt, while until 1980, shops would close all weekend.
Both were considered attempts to preserve family life, but increasingly local people, as well as overseas tourists, found them stifling.
In 1986, restrictions on shopping hours were repealed, but shops in smaller towns still close for the weekend on Saturday afternoons, while alcohol could not be sold on Sunday until recently, with the legal drinking age being 20.
However, New Zealand has now often gone to the opposite extreme, legalising prostitution in 2003.

Conformism.
While New Zealand, like Australia, prides itself as being more egalitarian than Britain, there is a degree of inverse snobbery known as the 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', in which people who are seen as (over)ambitious and having ideas above their station are cut down to size.
This is also known as the 'Great Kiwi Clobbering Machine', and has prompted many of the country's best and brightest to emigrate.

Regionalism and Parochialism.
While small in comparison to Australia or the US, there are regional differences in New Zealand, either between North Island and South Island, whose inhabitants refer to each other as 'Pig Islanders', or increasingly, between Auckland and the rest of the country.
Auckland, though no longer the national capital, is the largest city, and dominates New Zealand culturally and economically.
The New Zealand Herald, despite its name, is the daily newspaper of Auckland and the surrounding region, not the national newspaper.
Aucklanders dismiss anywhere 'south of the Bombay Hills', as backward, in much the same way as Londoners dismiss anywhere 'north of Watford', while people from the rest of New Zealand regard Aucklanders as brash, sharing many of the characteristics of Sydneysiders in Australia.
(Auckland has been described as a 'Clayton's [i.e.: ersatz] Sydney', with its harbours.)

Anti-Government Attitudes.
Following the experiences of the eighties and nineties there is a profound distrust of politicians in New Zealand.
This manifested itself most clearly in two recent referenda, on Proportional Representation and on Extending the Parliametary Term.
In both cases the general public seemed to establish in their minds what the politicians wanted and then voted almost ninety percent against it.

New Zealand language
Most New Zealanders speak a form of English that has not diverged greatly from British English.
The use of Maori words is increasing particularly in the North Island, although there is regional variation.
Thus "Kia Ora", literally "be healthy" is now a standard New Zealand greeting.
In Maori situations it is often used after someone has spoken meaning "Have you got that?" or possibly "Do you agree with me?" But this has not extended to general use.
Other Maori greetings, "Tena koe" {one person} or "Tena koutou" {several people} are also widely used.
Similarly Goodbye, "Haere Ra".
This may also be the origin of the much more widely used NZ phrase for goodbye "Hooray".
Greetings between people meeting on a cold morning is sometimes "Makariri nei?", cold isn't it? Curiously this phrase is changing to a bastard Maori-English word "Maka-Chilly". It probably started as a joke that won't go away.
"Buggered" is a word that quickly entered the Maori language as "Pakaru or Pakaruru" and is now returning to NZ English in its new form or as "Pakaru-ed"
It is in metaphorical phrases that NZ English has made most progress or divergence.
Often they reflect significant differences in culture.
For example
"Ladies, a plate" is often seen as part of the advertisement for social functions.
It means that the function is self catering; people attending are meant to bring a plate full of food.
Many new arrivals in New Zealand have mistaken this and turned up with an empty plate, but only once.
"Up the Puhoi without a paddle" meaning to be in difficulties without an obvious solution.
The Puhoi is a river just north of Auckland.
Over the years the phrase has evolved and is now often heard as "Up the Boo-eye without a paddle".
It is also some times attributed to other New Zealand rivers.
It will be interesting if the phrase can withstand competition from the modern and very colourful variant "Up shit creek without a Paddle".
"Wide enough for an Ox team to do a U-ie", said of very wide roads.
"Sticky Beak" meaning someone unduly curious about other people's affairs, ie nosey parker. Sticky beak is used in both New Zealand and Australia with the same meaning but slightly different emphasis.
In Australia "sticky beak" is quite pejorative, to be called sticky beak is definitely a criticism whereas in New Zealand it is used with more affection, it is often used as a tease.
"Box of Birds" or even more colloquially"Box of Fluffies" meaning to feel very good. "How are you feeling? Oh, a Box of Birds".
"Rattle yer Dags" an instruction to hurry up. Sheep running through gates and yards often make a curious rattling noise caused by their dags clattering together. Dags being the encrustations of dried shit that collects on the long wool,like a loose bunch of grapes, around their hind ends.
Similarly "He's a bit of a Dag' describes someone as a comedian.
The word "dagg" possibly derives from the regional english word, "daglock" meaning the same thing.

Iconic characters
Sir Robert Muldoon, nicknamed 'Piggy', authoritarian Prime Minister of New Zealand (1975-1984) who was either loved or loathed. His supporters were known as Rob's Mob.
Fred Dagg a satirical character that appeared on Television New Zealand in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Created and portrayed by comedian John Clarke, who later created The Games for Australian Television.
Sam Hunt poet, who presented his work in pubs rather than theatres.
Barry Crump humorous writer about New Zealand society, particularly the good keen man.
Portrayed the stereotypical man from the land in several books and TV commercials.
Sir Ed Hillary beekeeper, mountaineer, explorer, aid worker and ambassador. His face appears on the $5 note.
Kate Shepard women's suffrage campaigner. Her face appears on the $10.00 note.
Sir Apirana Ngata Maori politician and historian. His face appears on the $50.00 note.
Ernest Rutherford physcist and Nobel prize winner for chemistry, who "split the atom". His face appears on the $100 note.
Billy T James a successful Maori comedian, now deceased.
Sir Howard Morrison a perennial singer.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Opera Singer.
Sir Peter Blake (yachtsman), who won the America's Cup for New Zealand.
Any All Black, past or present.

The arts
New Zealand does possess the usual cultural activities such as theatre, dance, fine arts, classical and popular music and creative writing.
However, due to the small population base and a lack of arts funding sources, many artists have struggled to sustain themselves economically, even though they may achieve popular success.
For this reason many of New Zealand's best artists go overseas, especially to Australia, but also to Europe or America, so they can further their careers.
New Zealand imports much of its cultural material from overseas, particularly from Britain or the United States.
Most successful Hollywood films screen on New Zealand cinema screens and New Zealand Television shows a lot of British and American television programmes.
It is somewhat ironic that some of these programmes are now made in New Zealand but receive their first screening elsewhere.
The New Zealand cinematographic industry is becoming one of the country's major export enterprises, with several major motion pictures being filmed on New Zealand locations recently, including the highly acclaimed film adaptation of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" directed by the Kiwi Peter Jackson.
There are museums in many towns and cities that preserve the country's heritage.
Some museums specialise in particular themes, such as vintage transport, Maori culture or a particular historic building or event.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage are national bodies that assist with such heritage preservation.

Godzone
Generally accepted, by New Zealanders if nowhere else, as an alternative name for New Zealand.
When Richard Seddon, Premier of New Zealand around 1900, returned from one of his overseas trips he reportedly said it was good to be back in God's Own Country and the term was adopted, semi-ironically.

Public Holidays
1 January or the following Monday if this is a Saturday or Sunday. New Year's Day.
2 January or the following Monday if this day is a Saturday or Tuesday if this day is a Sunday or Monday as New Year's Day is celebrated on the Monday. Day after New Year's Day
6 February Waitangi day
The Friday before Easter SundayGood Friday
First Sunday after the first full moon since the vernal equinox Easter Sunday
The day after Easter Sunday Easter Monday
25 April ANZAC Day
1st Monday in June Queen's Birthday
4th Monday in October Labour Day
25 December or the following Monday if this day is a Saturday or Sunday. Christmas Day
26 December or the following Monday if this day is a Saturday or Tuesday if this day is a Sunday or Monday as Christmas Day is celebrated on the Monday. Boxing Day
These holidays are legislated by several Acts of Parliament, particularly the Holidays Act 1981.
Additionally, the Holidays Act 1981 specifies Provincial Anniversary Days to celebrate the founding days or landing days of the first colonists of the various colonial provinces. The regions covered are set by provincial district (as they stood when abolished in 1876), plus Southland, the Chatham Islands, South Canterbury and Northland.
The actual observance days can vary even within each province and is due to local custom, convenience or the proximity of seasonal events or other holidays.
This may differ from the official observance day, and may be several weeks from the official day.
Provincial Anniversary Days Provincial District includes Actual Day Observance Day
Southland Invercargill, Bluff, Milford Sound, Fiordland 17 January Varies - determined by local custom and tourist season.
Wellington Wellington, Manawatu, Wanganui 22 January Monday nearest to the actual day
Auckland Waikato 29 January Monday nearest to the actual day
Northland Whangarei 29 January Monday nearest to the actual day
Nelson Nelson, Buller 1 February Monday nearest to the actual day
Otago Dunedin 23 March Monday nearest to the actual day
Taranaki (New Plymouth) New Plymouth 31 March Second Monday in March - to avoid Easter
South Canterbury 25 September Fourth Monday in September - Dominion Day
Hawkes' Bay Napier, Hastings 1 November Friday before Labour Day
Marlborough Picton 1 November First Monday after Labour Day
Chatham Islands 30 November Monday nearest to the actual day
Westland Westport, Greymouth 1 December Monday nearest to the actual day (Greymouth) Varies (outside Greymouth)
Canterbury Christchurch, Ashburton, Banks Peninsula 16 December Christchurch Show Day (Northern Canterbury)
Christchurch Show Day (Central Canterbury) Second Friday after the first Tuesday in November (Christchurch City) - (To coincide with the Agricultural and Pastoral Show and avoid a holiday just a week before Christmas.
Vacations and Non-working days In addition to the above holidays many New Zealand workers have three weeks vacation, often taken in the summer Christmas - New Year period. (As New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, the summer months are from December to February. Also the best summer weather often occurs during January and February.)
In many industries this coincides with a Christmas - New Year shutdown for maintenance. With only 3 working days between Christmas and New Year, many workers take this time off, as they can have a 10 day summer break for only 3 days leave.
Many retail outlets also hold sales at this time to stimulate business while others close down due to low demand for services.
The days from 25 December to 15 January are not considered to be working days for official government purposes, although the public counters of most government departments do open weekdays during this period, though often only a limited service may be available.

School Holidays
New Zealand schools (now) have a 4 term year, of about 10 weeks each and 2 or 3 weeks holidays between terms.
Although standard term dates are set by the Ministry of Education each year, schools can vary these to account for local holidays and school closures due to weather.
The first term generally commences in late January and finishes so that Easter is celebrated within the holidays between terms 1 and 2.
The holidays between terms 2 and 3 are generally known as the midwinter break and occur in July.
While those between terms 3 and 4 occur in late September and early October.
Term 4 ends in mid December, generally a week or two before Christmas, though for many senior students this term ends after their final examinations in early December.

Sports
New Zealand's most popular sports are rugby (primarily rugby union but also rugby league), soccer, (the most popular sport amongst children), cricket, and netball (the sport with the most players); golf, tennis, rowing and a variety of water sports, particularly sailing.
Snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are also popular.
Rugby as a sport is closely linked to New Zealand's national identity.
The national rugby team is called the All Blacks and New Zealanders expect it to be able to beat the world.
This style of name has been followed in naming the national team in several other sports.
New Zealand's national sporting colours are not the colours of its flag, but are black and white (silver).
The silver fern is a national emblem worn by New Zealanders representing their country in sport.
The haka - a traditional Maori war dance - is often performed at sporting events.
The All Blacks traditionally perform a haka before the start of play.

National teams:
Rugby - All Blacks
Women's Rugby - Black Ferns
Soccer - All Whites
Basketball - Tall Blacks
Cricket - Black Caps
Netball - Silver Ferns
Hockey - Black Sticks
Rugby league - Kiwis
New Zealand is world-famous among glider pilots for hosting the 1995 Gliding World Cup at Omarama in North Otago near the centre of the South Island.
The Southern Alps are known for the excellent wave soaring conditions.
Steve Fosset has recently tried to beat the world gliding altitude record there.

Auckland hosted the last two America's Cup regattas (2000 and 2003).
In 2000, Team New Zealand successfully defended the trophy they won in 1995 in San Diego, but in 2003 they lost to a team headed by Ernesto Bertarelli of Switzerland whose Alinghi was skippered by Russell Coutts, the expatriate Kiwi who helmed the victorious Black Magic in 1995 and New Zealand in 2000.

Miscellaneous topics



External links


All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


This information is correct in November 2003. E. & O.E.


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