With just over 4.4 million people in the country, New Zealand, known as the Land of the Long White Cloud, or Aotearoa, is no doubt one of the most stunning, captivating and entertaining country in the world. The country is made up of 2 major islands – North Island and South Island, and many smaller islands including Stuart Island, which has a population of just over 400 people. The two islands are separated by a stretch of water called Cook Strait.
The country is made up of some of the most stunning landscapes – from huge mountain ranges and steaming volcanoes to beautiful coastlines. We like to think of it as one big playground for adventurers and thrill-seekers, who want nothing more than a holiday to remember.
The islands were first settled by Polynesians in 1250-1300 CE, and over the years, the Maori culture was developed. The first European to set foot in New Zealand was an explorer named Abel Tasman in 1642 CE. Then in 1769, the New Zealand coastline was mapped by explorer James Cook. During the 19th century, there were many conflicts arising between the Maori and British. Due to this, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, making New Zealand a British colony. The Maori and English versions of the Treaty were significantly different, resulting in different point of views for both the British and Maori, leading to the New Zealand wars which lasted 27 years.
The weather in New Zealand varies between the two major islands. Areas in the far north of the North island see subtropical temperatures while areas in the far south of the South Island see a much cooler climate. The weather in any part of New Zealand is quite unpredictable, so visitors are advised to pack clothes for all types of weather.
The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent, with Auckland being the most ethically diverse with over 1.3 million people. Referred to as ‘Kiwis’, New Zealanders get their name from the national bird, the flightless Kiwi. They are known as problem-solvers and innovative people, and making a big impact on the world. Just take Sir Edmund Hillary, who conquered Mt Everest in 1953, and Sir Peter Jackson, director of the well-acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy, as perfect examples.
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