A snapshot of New Zealand

One of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth.

Around 4.5 million people live in our country, which geographically is roughly the size of California, Great Britain or Japan. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European decent while Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is the most ethnically diverse in the country and has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world.
NZ Geography
New Zealand is made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island located in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22km stretch of water called the Cook Strait. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries in the world to be found and settled
The country is made up of some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, from vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes to sweeping coastlines. It is a natural playground for thrill seekers and adventurers and those who simply want to visit for the culture and landscapes.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy under England and while the Queen is the head of state, New Zealand effectively governs itself through its parliamentary system with a Prime Minister. The public votes every three years which often sees a change in government. The two main political parties are the National Party and the Labour Party. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893.

New Zealand's free trade economy is dependent on International trade, with the principal export industries being agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining. The major export partners are New Zealand's trans-Tasman neighbours, Australia, as well as the USA, United Kingdom and Japan. China and Asian markets are increasingly export destinations. Tourism also contributes significantly and attracts travellers from every country of the world.

New Zealander's are affectionately known as "Kiwis". The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is also the national symbol. Kiwis are characterised as rugged, industrious problem solvers and people who innovate. Kiwis are great travellers themselves with many exploring and making an impact on the world (sport, business, politics, etc). Younger New Zealander's often travel to England for working holidays before settling back in New Zealand and any New Zealander can travel and work in Australia indefinitely.
The climate varies between the North and South Islands and is quite complex. The general climate is mild and temperate.  However, areas in the far north experience warm subtropical temperatures while the far south is much cooler. In the South Island, a North West wind – known as a nor ‘Wester – can see heavy rainfall on the West Coast and a hot dry wind in Canterbury on the East Coast less than four hours drive away. Visitors are advised to come prepared for all types of weather, as the temperature can change quite rapidly during the day.
You will find a very unique range of flora and fauna in New Zealand. The native animal, bird and plant species are among some of the most beautiful in the world. There are many national parks, native forests, walking tracks and maritime reserves to be enjoyed. In addition to these, there are a number of glaciers, lakes, mountains, beaches and thermal reserves, also on offer for tourists and travellers alike.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Day Light Saving Time (an advance of one hour per day) is observed from late September to early April.
220 – 240 volts AC is the standard. Outlets for 110 volts for electric razors are usually supplied in hotels.
New Zealanders do not depend on tips or gratuities for their income and tips are not expected for normal service. Tipping in appreciation of extra-special service however, is at the discretion of the visitor.

A government tax (currently 15%) is applied to all goods and services supplied in New Zealand.

For a small nation, New Zealand has dominated the playing field in many areas. The major sporting code is Rugby Union (more commonly known as Rugby). Other codes include netball, cricket, football and rugby league. New Zealand has also achieved highly in track and field, rowing, yachting and cycling. Mountaineering also features with Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Mt Everest in 1953. Not only is New Zealand up there with their sporting prowess, but Kiwis are also responsible for some of the most famous inventions of all time. Adventure sport pioneer AJ Hackett introduced the Bungy Jump to the world in 1986 and Sir William Hamilton pioneered the Hamilton jet in 1954. Other famous New Zealanders include Lord Rutherford who managed to split the atom and Sir Peter Jackson director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
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