The New Zealand Portal
New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.
Owing to their remoteness, the islands of New Zealand were the last large habitable lands to be settled by humans. Between about 1280 and 1350, Polynesians began to settle in the islands, and then developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion; it gained full statutory independence in 1947 and the British monarch remained the head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language, with English being very dominant.
A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently Jacinda Ardern. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.
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The following are images from various New Zealand-related articles on Wikipedia.
Central Plateau in winter
Putting down a hāngi (earth oven)
The Mission House at Kerikeri is New Zealand's oldest surviving building, having been completed in 1822
HMS North Star destroying Pomare's Pā during the Northern/Flagstaff War, 1845, Painting by John Williams.
Men of the Māori Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, after disembarking at Gourock in Scotland in June 1940
"First Scottish Colony for New Zealand" – 1839 poster advertising emigration from Scotland to New Zealand. Collection of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.
Māori whānau from Rotorua in the 1880s. Many aspects of Western life and culture, including European clothing and architecture, became incorporated into Māori society during the 19th century.
Vigil in Wellington for the victims of the Christchurch mosques attacks
Elizabeth II and Muldoon's Cabinet, taken during the Queen's 1981 visit to New Zealand
Richard Seddon, Liberal Prime Minister from 1893 to his death in 1906
Fiordland is dominated by steep, glacier-carved valleys
The Māori are most likely descended from people who emigrated from Taiwan to Melanesia and then travelled east through to the Society Islands. After a pause of 70 to 265 years, a new wave of exploration led to the discovery and settlement of New Zealand.
New Zealand children and young adult's author Margaret Mahy, July 2011.
Rural landscape close to Mt Ruapehu
Strong winds in the Cook Strait produce high waves which erode the shore, as shown in this image
The Forty-Fours viewed from the north; the leftmost islet is the easternmost point of New Zealand.
The scalloped bays indenting Lake Taupo's northern and western coasts are typical of large volcanic caldera margins. The caldera they surround was formed during the huge Oruanui eruption.
European settlers developed an identity that was influenced by their rustic lifestyle. In this scene from 1909, men at their camp site display a catch of rabbits and fish.
Topography of Zealandia, the submerged continent, and the two tectonic plates
The kiwi has become a New Zealand icon.
New Zealand is antipodal to points of the North Atlantic, the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco.
A 1943 poster produced during the war. The poster reads: "When war broke out ... industries were unprepared for munitions production. To-day New Zealand is not only manufacturing many kinds of munitions for her own defence but is making a valuable contribution to the defence of the other areas in the Pacific..."
The Waikato River flowing out of Lake Taupo
Pavlova, a popular New Zealand dessert, garnished with cream and strawberries.
Hinepare of Ngati Kahungunu, is wearing a traditional korowai cloak adorned with a black fringe border. The two huia feathers in her hair, indicate a chiefly lineage. She also wears a pounamu hei-tiki and earring, as well as a shark tooth (mako) earring. The moko-kauae (chin-tattoo) is often based on one's role in the iwi.
Percentages of people reporting affiliation with Christianity at the 2001, 2006 and 2013 censuses; there has been a steady decrease over twelve years.
New Zealand Division in 1916
More Did you know? -
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Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake
(11 February 1904 - 8 December 1983) was a New Zealand politician. The only person to have been both Prime Minister
and Governor-General of New Zealand
, Holyoake was National Party
prime minister from 20 September 1957 to 12 December 1957, then again from 12 December 1960 to 7 February 1972. He was appointed as governor-general in 1977 and served until 1980. Before becoming National Party leader
, Holyoake served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, under Sidney Holland
Holyoake was the third longest-serving New Zealand prime minister (just under 12 years), surpassed only by Richard Seddon's 13 years and William Massey's close to 13 years; he was also the first to be born in the 20th century. He was known for his diplomatic style and "plummy" voice. He was also fondly (or mockingly) known as Kiwi Keith, a name given to him in childhood to distinguish him from an Australian child with the same name.
Selected weekly image
Craters of the Moon is a small but highly active geothermal field covering about 50,000 m², close to State Highway 1 a few kilometres north of Taupo, New Zealand. There are numerous steam vents, constantly shifting, collapsing and reforming, giving the whole area desolate appearance, hence the name. There are also some bubbling thermal mud pools.
Did you know? -
- ... that although Damien O'Connor, the minister of agriculture, stated that "the image of pastoral farming is the one New Zealand promotes", he called the ANZCO Foods feedlot (drone footage featured) at Wakanui "innovative"?
- ... that Takapūneke, which is sacred to the Māori and may become a national reserve of New Zealand, is the site of Akaroa's sewage-treatment plant?
- ... that MIS416, a drug derived from bacteria that cause acne, was used to treat multiple sclerosis in New Zealand under a compassionate use law before clinical trials were unable to prove its efficacy?
- ... that New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, barely escaped burning in a fire, was lost for decades, and then was found in a damp basement heavily water damaged and chewed by rodents?
- ... that the scientific name of the Chatham shag commemorates a former Governor of New Zealand?
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