New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean which consist of many islands. We can compromise the country into two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. Even though New Zealand is not technically part of any continent, people consider it a part of Oceania alongside Australia and the tropical Pacific Islands. Sunken continent
New Zealand’s flag stands for the kingdom, government and inhabitants of New Zealand. In the first quarter of the flag we have The Union Jack which reminds us of the nation’s historical origins as a British colony. The royal blue background originates from the Blue Squadron of the Royal Navy in Britain. The stars in the flag form a certain pattern which indicates the country’s location in the South Pacific Ocean. This flag has been used by Colonial ships since 1869 and was quickly adopted as the national flag.
This flag however, you may or might not have seen before. For decades there has been an ongoing debate whether New Zealand should keep their national flag. Some people don’t think that their old flag represents the country or the people. Therefore, there was a voting for which flag was going to be used. The old flag won the election with 60% of the people’s votes.
Like many other British colonies, the majority of New Zealand speak English as their first language. Only a few percent of the people speak Maori although it’s the country’s native language. About 96% of New Zealand’s population speak English while the other 4% speak Maori.
The first people to arrive in New Zealand were the M?ori people. The first M?ori settlers possibly appeared from Polynesia between year 1150 and 1350 AD. They found New Zealand by travelling through the Pacific, navigating by marine tides and the airstreams and stars. Kupe is the name of the M?ori sailor who is credited with discovering New Zealand.
The first European to find New Zealand was the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman in 1642. That’s how New Zealand got the Dutch-sounding name – from a Dutch cartographer who first named the country Nieuw Zeeland. Over one hundred years went by before another European payed a visit to New Zealand. His name was Captain James Cook and he arrived in 1769 on the first of his three voyages.
You will discover a variety of extraordinary sceneries in New Zealand, all within reach of each other. Enormous glaciers, scenic fjords, rough mountains, immense plains, subtropical jungles, volcanic highland, rolling hillsides, miles of coastline with stunning beaches – it’s all here.
New Zealand’s North Island has a ridge of mountain ranges running through the island’s center, with calm everlasting farmland on both sides. The center of the North Island is consisting majorly of the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic area. The Southern Alps on the other hand, creates the spine of the South Island. East of the Southern Alps we find the never-ending countryside of Otago and Southland, and the massive, flat Canterbury Plains.
While most of the North Island has subtropical climate during the summer, inland high-altitude areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C in the winter. Overall the country has mild temperatures because of its long coastline.
The average temperature in New Zealand decreases as you travel south. January and February are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year.
New Zealand’s demographics involves the geographic, gender, cultural, religious and financial circumstances of the 4,8 million people living in the country. “Kiwis”, commonly known as New Zealanders mainly live in city areas on the North Island. The five largest cities are Auckland (with one-third of the country’s population), Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga. Few Kiwis live on New Zealand’s smaller islands. Waiheke Island is easily the most populated smaller island with 9 520 inhabitants.
The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European origin, with the native M?ori being the main minority, followed closely by Asians and non-M?ori Pacific Islanders. About 75 percent of New Zealand’s population is of European descent, while M?ori, Asians and non-M?ori Pacific Islanders make up the remaining 25 percent. This is reflected in immigration, with most new migrants coming from Britain and Ireland, although the numbers from Asia are increasing. The largest M?ori tribe is Ng?puhi with 125 601 people or 18,8 percent of the M?ori population. Auckland is the most culturally various region in New Zealand with 59,3 percent of its inhabitants identifying as Europeans, 23,1 percent as Asian, 10,7 percent as M?ori and 14,6 percent as Pacific Islanders. The ethnicity of the residents aged under 18 years is significantly more diverse than the population aged 65 years or older. Current growths in interracial marriages have lead to more people identifying with more than one ethnic group.
Form of Government
New Zealand’s principal of state is Queen Elizabeth II, therefore they have a constitutional monarchy system of government. Different from most countries, New Zealand has no written constitution. Instead, acts of parliament serve as law in addition to decisions of the courts, documents issued by authority of the sovereign chief of state, unwritten constitutional conventions, English law, and relevant acts of parliament from the UK.
The governor general represents the sovereignty of New Zealand and is the commander-in-chief of the country. They are appointed by the queen upon advice from the prime minister. The governor general is mandated to execute constitutional and ceremonial responsibilities within the country.
Executive power in the country rests with the prime minister and ministers. The prime minister commands the support of the majority of elected members of parliament. The prime minister chooses the ministers to form the cabinet and submits them to the governor general for approval. Once approved, the government is officially formed. The executive is responsible for the running of the country, and it tables laws in parliament.
New Zealand has a unicameral parliamentary system, which means it is made up of only one house. 120 members sit in the house of representatives who are voted in using the mixed member proportional voting system. Elections are held at three-year intervals, and a person gets two votes, one for the political party and another for the MP. The country’s parliament is the supreme decision-making institution. It makes new laws and amends old ones after holding debates.
Traditions and holidays
New Zealand’s traditions consist of both P?keh? (European) and M?ori culture.
Public holidays in New Zealand are made up of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in New Zealand. Workers can get a maximum of 11 public holidays a year.
All children in New Zealand must be enrolled at school by their sixth birthday. There are 13 years in the New Zealand school system. Schooling begins at primary school and covers years 1 to 8 if it is a full primary school, or years 1 to 6 if it is a contributing primary school. If your child enrolls in a contributing primary school, they will attend an intermediate school to complete years 7 and 8. After completing primary or intermediate school, your kid will then attend high school to finish their last school years (years 9 to 13). They may leave secondary school before reaching Year 13, but not until their 16th birthday.
There are three types of school in New Zealand: state schools, state integrated schools and private schools. Most New Zealand children attend state schools (also known as public schools). State schools are funded by the government and the education is free for domestic students up to 19 years of age. However, parents usually need to pay for things like school uniforms, stationery, exam fees, and some course-related costs.
State integrated schools are schools with a “special character”. This means they may be run by a particular religious faith, or use specialist education methods, like Steiner or Montessori. Just above 10 percent of pupils are registered in State integrated schools.
Some private schools take both lads and lassies (known as co-educational school). Others are single sex schools for either boys or girls. Some private schools have boarding facilities, so students can live there during the term. Just under 5% of children attend private schools.
New Zealand is an island nation with its waters containing a large variety of fish and seafood. Despite this, until recently shellfish hasn’t played an important part in the diet of New Zealanders. The feasting of fish was originally low as meat has been the main favorite for meals. Having said this, fish and seafood has always been significant in the Maori diet and you will notice that the names of many of them are still used today in Maori.
The Hangi is basically made by putting meat and vegetables in bags and cooking them slowly underneath the ground. Hot rocks are put in a pit with the food on top which are then covered with earth, so the heat does not escape. After about 6 hours the earth is removed, and the food is ready.
New Zealand is a country known as being very active in sport. You will always find New Zealanders playing or doing one sport or other in parks, at the beach or anywhere with a bit of space.
In spite of New Zealand being a fairly small country of only 4 million people, the “Kiwis” do admirably well on the global scene at the highest levels. In the Olympic Games in London (2012), New Zealand obtained 6 Gold medals, 2 Silver medals and 5 Bronze medals.
The national sport of New Zealand is rugby. Their powerful national rugby team, known as the All Blacks, have won the Rugby World Cup three times (1987, 2011, 2015) which is more than any other national team. The All Blacks are normally ranked number one in the word according the International Rugby Board.
Other than transmitting their language to New Zealand, what else has Britain brought with them to the island paradise?