History of New Zealand :
New Zealand was originally settled in the 1300s by the Maoris (pronounced
MAU-rees), who called it Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud). A
tradition of oral history recounts how 10 great canoes arrived from an
island near Tahiti to populate the islands. For 500 years Maori life went
untouched by the outside world. They had spectacular zigzag tattoos, made
war among themselves and either enslaved or ate their enemies.
The next epoch in the islands' history opened in 1642, when the Dutch
explorer Abel van Tasman sighted the land but left without claiming it.
Captain Cook claimed the islands 130 years later for the British throne, but
it wasn't until the 1830s that Pakeha, or white, settlement began in
between the native Maoris and the British settlers ensued until 1840, when a
conditional peace was established. Another, bloodier war was fought in the
early 1860s and ended with a more-or-less live-and-let-live attitude that
persists to this day. The country is an independent member of the
Commonwealth and has declared itself a nuclear-free zone.
Geographical Location :
New Zealand consists of two large islands (called the North Island and the
South Island) as well as numerous small islands. Both major islands are
mountainous with coastal plains. The North Island is more populous and has a
warmer, more temperate climate. The South Island is colder, but more
spectacular, with fjords, glaciers and hundreds of streams and lakes.
Weather and Climate of New Zealand :
New Zealand's seasons are opposite those in the Northern Hemisphere. The
North Island is warmer than the South Island by at least 10 degrees F/5 C
year round. Auckland always has fairly mild temperatures. Our favorite
months are mid September through October, when the flowers and the apple
trees and dogwoods are in bloom. There's skiing July-September on the South
Island; the weather on top of the mountains can be very cold, so bring
winter coats and rain gear if you'll be spending much time there. Take a
sweater year round.
Hues of New Zealand :
New Zealanders are generally relaxed, hospitable and very friendly . The
country of English-speaking people, virtually no crime, and a trio of rich
cultural influences adventurous Polynesian navigators (Maori),
pioneering European settlers who followed a thousand years later, and modern
Pacific Rim immigrants. Stiff formality is rarely appreciated and after
introductions first names are generally used. Smoking is restricted where
indicated. Casual dress is widely acceptable. The Hongi (pressing of noses)
is common in a fomal Maori occasion .