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New Zealand


New Zealand is full of the most rugged mountains, picturesque fiords, rolling hillsides, the most spectacular glaciers, volcanic plateaus, vast forest, open plains, miles and miles of coastline – this wonderful island has everything. It’s no wonder that New Zealand has grown so fast in popularity and as a hot spots for movie locations.

Geography

New Zealand is nestled in the south-west Pacific. It is comprised of two islands that include the South Island and the North Island. There are also smaller islands that lie offshore and Stewart Island.

New Zealand’s North Island has a vast mountain range that runs along the island’s spine straight through the middle. On both sides there are gentle rolling farmlands. It is dominated by a Volcanic Plateau with an active volcano and thermal area. The South Island is comprised of the Southern Alps. It is also comprised of the Otago farmland, and the Canterbury Plains that are flat and vast.

History

There is a rich and fascinating history that surrounds New Zealand. It reflects a unique mixture of European and Maori cultures. The Maori were the first to make their arrival to the islands of New Zealand. They journeyed in canoes almost 1,000 years ago from Hawaiki. Abel Tasman, who was Dutch was the first to make sight of the country, but the British are the ones who claimed it as part of their empire.

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. This was an agreement between the Maori and the British Crown. This agreement set up the British law and it is the document that is considered the founding of the country. It is very important to the history of the island. The Waitangi Treaty site is a very popular tourist attraction and the building where the documents were signed has been preserved.

There are many Maori sites that are historic filled with treasures. There are also plenty of colonial era buildings that are spread throughout the country. A walk around any of the cities today shows how fascinating and culturally diverse the land is.

According to Maori legends, the country was fished out of the sea by the demigod Maui who was considered very daring. As a demigod, Maui was not considered to be an ordinary man. He is considered very gifted and deeply rooted in Polynesian mythology. He was responsible for the island of Aotearoa. It is said he had a miraculous birth and childhood. He won the affections of his parents who were supernatural and he taught the arts to mankind. It is said he tamed fire and snared the sun.

 

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