Country - New Zealand
New Zealand Country Information
New Zealand is mainly a two-piece island nation in the south western region of Pacific Ocean. The two elongated land masses of the country are situated in the world atlas one above the other, normally referred to as North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui) and South Island (Te Waipounamu) separated by Cook Strait. The capital city Wellington is in the south western tip of North Island between Cook Strait and Remutaka mountain range. Being in closer proximity to Antarctica at the bottom of the globe, the incidence of sun rays on New Zealand is more slanted than on the countries situated in the middle of the globe and hence it very unlikely to find drouth-parched arid regions in New Zealand. Lush green landscapes and under scorched plantation is a common sight in the country.
While the city of Wellington is the political capital of the country, Auckland is the largest highly populated city. Both the cities are situated in the North Island. The western coastline of both the island masses is kept drenched by Tasman Sea.
In addition to the two main parts of the island, New Zealand has in its territory a plethora of 600 smaller islets, out of which 11 are inhabited by humans. The Cook Islands, a conglomeration of 15 islands located northeast of New Zealand, had been a colony of New Zealand since 1901 and became a self-governing country in 1965, though the matters of defence and foreign affairs are dealt with by New Zealand in consultation with the governing authorities of Cook Islands. Natives of the Cook Islands have dual citizenship of Cook Islands as well as New Zealand. More than 60,000 Cook Islanders reside in New Zealand. Ironically, the total population in the Cook Islands is much smaller with 17,459 people as per the census of 2016, compared to the emigrants in New Zealand. Tokelau which is a group of three atolls located north of the Samoan Islands, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the Line Islands and northwest of the Cook Islands, is a dependent territory of New Zealand with a total population of 1499 as per the census conducted in 2016. In addition, there is a territorial claim over a place in Antarctica, called Ross Dependency.
New Zealand is a developed country with a very high Human Development Index of 0.917 and the per capita GDP (nominal) US $41,616 as per the estimate of 2018. The total population was estimated in 2019 as 4,931,730 with average density of 18 people per square kilometer. The country does not have any specific date to celebrate as Independence Day because freedom was granted by United Kingdom in small phases over a period of time. It was colonized by Britain in 1841 and gained dominion status in 1907 and was granted full independence in 1947, though the British Monarch is still the Head of the State. English is the predominant official language spoken by more than 96% of the population. Maori is also the official language that owes legacy to the people who were among the first settlers of the land since 1250 A.D., and the New Zealand Sign Language was also given official status which is spoken mainly by deaf community.
Dairy products have been the strongest support for the economy of New Zealand for several decades. Dairy products, eggs and honey contributed more than 27% of the total exports in 2017. The principal items of exports were dairy products, eggs, honey, meat, wood, fruits, nuts, beverages, fish and cereal/milk preparations in 2017. The main commodities of imports included vehicles, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, mechanical appliances, fuels and electrical equipment.
New Zealand is a place with wide green landscapes and distant mountains galore. Sand dunes at 90 mile beach incite adventure-seekers, irrespective of age, to self-test their own ability to glide down on at break-neck speed, lying prone/face-downwards on toboggans.
Bay Islands is a picture-perfect location for taking up various activities like kayaking, swimming and basking on the shore. The grasslands, mountains and trees of thick foliage make the place all the more picturesque.
Rangitoto Island is in fact the birthplace of the country’s youngest volcano which came into existence 600 years ago. Accessible by ferry service, the place is home to endemic birdlife that strives here successfully. The most notable activity at this place is trekking to the summit which proves worth the effort because this is where one can get to see a panoramic view of Auckland city.
Hot Water Beach near Cathedral Cove is a natural reservoir of warm water where you can thaw up your body by digging your own private hot water pond by picking up a spade or shovel. The place is swarmed by people of all ages including children two hours before and after the high tides.
The unspoilt Hollywood movie set at Hobbiton is a wonderful place to watch the green turf-swathed den-like mini tabernacles dug into miniature hills. Movie buffs smile to themselves at the sight of film sets that remind the mysterious scenes from the movies Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit drawing spectators into middle earth zone.
Glow-worm caves at Waitomo flaunt a spectacular scene in the dark when in a cloud of brilliant specks of light, the free flying luminescent insects dance in the air haphazardly in random motion. The Maori Rock carvings at Mini Bay are no inferior to the fantasy locations described in the fables for kids. The engravings on the stone walls partly submerged in the pond could be the cause for children’s gleaming faces lit up with amusement.
New Zealand has innumerable places to make it to the itinerary of international tourists. Located at the lower part in the southern hemisphere of the globe, the flora bears lesser brunt from sunlight compared to the arid zones close to the equator. The climate is comfortable to the natives and the visitors alike, making the country one of the much sought-after holiday destinations in the world.