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A brief introduction to New Zealand…

New Zealand is part of Oceania and is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. It is also known as “the land of the long white cloud" or "Aotearoa" in Maori.

It consists of two main islands (the North Island, the South Island) and Stewart Island.  It offers a very diverse landscape for travellers and has a rich and varied wildlife. The total area of New Zealand is 268,680 km ² (+ / - the size of Italy).


The North Island contains active volcanoes and has significant geothermal activity. Its highest point, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 m), is also an active volcano. This part of the country is heavily influenced by Maori culture. The island offers diverse landscapes from white or black sand beaches in the north to magnificent snow-capped mountains in the centre of the island.


New Zealand's South Island is the largest, with the Southern Alps almost running its entire length. The highest point of the Alps is Mount Cook at 3,754 meters and it also has eighteen peaks above 3,000 metre. This scenery of this wild and sparsely populated island is highly regarded by many visitors.
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The wild and strange landscapes of New Zealand South Island and North Island have earned it the interest of television and movie studios including the filming of the trilogy "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" directed by Peter Jackson, who is himself a Kiwi (nickname given to the inhabitants of New Zealand and the symbol of the country).

Population (+ / - 4 million) is mostly of European origin, the Maori form the largest minority. Races such as Polynesian and Asian are strongly represented, especially in urban areas.
 

A little piece of history…

maori In the 19th century, due to the growing interest of the rest of the world in New Zealand, the British government proclaimed British sovereignty and negotiated a treaty with Maori. The Treaty of Waitangi was subsequently signed in the Bay of Islands (Northland) on the 06 February 1840. This day is celebrated every year as a Kiwi national holiday.

The treaty is seen as the founding document of New Zealand as a nation and as a charter guaranteeing the rights of Maori. However at the time it was written quickly and contains ambiguous wording. The Maori people still challenge the translation of the document.

Weather in New Zealand...
The weater in New Zealand is generally temperate but weather conditions vary greatly with each region, the west coast of the South Island is very wet while Mackenzie Basin in Canterbury is semi-arid and Northland is subtropical.

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A bit of culture…

danse-haka Maori art, traditional songs and dances became popular again in the late 20th century, particularly the "Kapa Haka" (singing and dancing), woodcuts and weaving. Maori tattoos (ta moko) are a tradition still in existence today and are admired around the world because of their appearance and symbolic significance.

Originally, it was the face that was central to the art of Maori tattoo, today, these spiral patterns are systematically tattooed on the body as well.

Sports are very important in New Zealand. The national sport is obviously rugby VX thanks to the famous "All Blacks" who represent the pride of the country. The "Haka", originally a traditional Maori war dance, is performed with great conviction by the players before each All Blacks game.

Rugby is not the only sport played here, other popular sports are cricket, football, rugby league, netball, skiing, snowboarding, water sports, ... and of course bungy jumping, which has given New Zealand a name for extreme sports.
 

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