New Zealand is an island nation in the south western part of the Pacific Ocean, consisting of two main islands the North and South which are surrounded by 700 smaller islands. The indigenous peoples of New Zealand are of Polynesian descent and have developed a distinctive Maori culture. The population of New Zealand is 4.89 million, with most individuals congregating in the larger towns of the nation’s capital Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
So many movies have been filmed in New Zealand owing to its mystical and magical landscape with majestic mountains, mist covered fjords, pristine beaches and marine life in abundance. New Zealand offers adventures of a lifetime. Activities include a visit to Hobbit Town (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies); immerse yourself in the hot thermal springs of Rotorua; take the long alpine crossing of Tongariro and view the panoramic views of the UNESCO heritage site of crater lakes and active volcanic areas; whale watch year round in Kaikoura; escape to the wonderous Milford Sound and witness glassy waters, numerous waterfalls in Fiordland National Park; or experience bungy jumping off a suspension bridge in Queenstown.
The NZ way!
The land of the long white cloud, beaches and mountains is truly beautiful. Being sparsely populated by people, New Zealand does have a very high population of sheep! For every 1 New Zealander there is on average 6 sheep. The average New Zealand accent is a muddle and mix of Australian, South African and American. ‘Kiwi’s’ (slang for a New Zealander) does possess its own vernacular that is worthwhile learning prior to landing in NZ. For example, a cool box or Eski is a ‘chilli bin’, flip-flops are ‘jandals’ and the local shop is called a ‘dairy’.
Rugby or football to some is a loved and revered sport in New Zealand. The All Blacks (official NZ professional rugby team) have over a hundred years of history in the sport, beginning each international game with a traditional Māori ‘haka’ war dance. This dance was originally used to terrify the opposition prior to a battle. Now it is used symbolically to terrify the opposing rugby team!
Māori actually means ‘ordinary’! This was the classification that the indigenous peoples of New Zealand gave themselves to distinguish them from the Europeans (Dutch than British settlers). Around 15% of the New Zealand population are Māori whose customs, culture and beliefs originated over 1000 years ago from Eastern Polynesia. Learn simple words and greetings in Māori such as Kia Ora (hello and thankyou). Māori art is more than just decorative. It outlines myths, legends and historical roots both in body art and in and around Marae’s (meeting houses). The emotional and powerful kapa haka (line dance) is an explosion on the senses with colour, traditional dress, drums, harmonies and tapestry.