- Total Size: 268,680 square km
- Capital city: Wellington 391,000
- The biggest city: Auckland 1.36 million
- Type of Government: parliamentary democracy (Queen Elizabeth II is the reign)
- Languages Spoken: English (official), Maori (official)
- Independence: 26 September 1907 (from UK)
- Nationality: New Zealander(s)
- Major religions: Anglican, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian
- National Symbol: kiwi (bird)
- National Anthem: God Defend New Zealand
New Zealand is about 2,012 km southeast of Australia. It consists of two main islands and a number of smaller islands that range from the tropical to the antarctic.The islands were created 23 million years ago when the land was thrust out from the ocean by volcanic forces. New Zealand has more than 50 volcanoes. Some of them are still active. The two main islands are separated by Cook Strait. The North Island is volcanic in its south-central part. This area contains many hot springs and beautiful geysers. South Island has the Southern Alps along its west coast, with Mount Cook the highest point.
Because of its remote location, New Zealand is rich in unusual wildlife not seen anywhere else in the world. Nearly all the animals are birds and many of them have lost their ability to fly. The Maori people and European settlers introduced animals to the island. And they killed almost all the flightless birds. In the last 1000 years half of all the animals on the island have become extinct, including the kiwi. Several species are recovering, like kakapo, kokako, kiwi and tuatara.
New Zealand was one of the last major bodies of land to be settled by man. The first inhabitants, the Maori, arrived by canoe from islands in Polynesia near Thiti around A.D. 1000. In the 17th century, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited the islands, and left it after his party had been attacked by the Maori. New Zealand got its name after a region in Netherlands called Nieuw Zeeland.
British explorer James Cook began to explore the coastline in 1769. New Zealand became a British colony in 1840 after signing a treaty with the Maori. The Maori protested, and soon The Maori Wars began (1845 – 72). Today the ancestors of the Maori and the colonists are fully integrated and all people have had the right to vote in the elections and participate in government since the late 1800s. New Zealand was the first country that gave women the right to vote in 1893. New Zealand officially became an independent country in 1947 through the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act.
People and culture
New Zealanders, or “Kiwis” as they are called, have been shaped by their isolation. They used to be farmers, but today 86% of the population live in cities. Most of them live on the North island. 15% of the entire population are Maori.
Rugby is the most popular sport, and everybody supports the national team – the All Blacks. Many people also enjoy cricket. Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand. And a lot of people like surfing.
the All Blacks
The main industry is tourism, and the main exports lamb, butter, kiwifruit and wine.
Last few years New Zealand became famous thanks to the director Peter Jackson who filmed The Lord Of The Rings trilogy here. As well as the prequel the Hobbit.
This work by EnglishOŠAca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.