Реферат: New Zealand
Life in General. 9
North Island… 12
South Island… 14
Where is New Zealand?
New Zealand is a country inSouthwestern Oceania, southeast of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean, withtwo large islands (North and South Island), one smaller island (StewartIsland), and numerous much smaller islands. New Zealand has a total land areaof 268,670 sq km and a coastline of 15,134 km.
New Zealand is 12 hoursahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) making it one of the first places in theworld to see the new day. Summer time (or Daylight Saving Time) is an advanceof one hour at 2am in the morning on the first Sunday in October and back toNZST at 3am in the morning on the third Sunday morning of March.
New Zealand is a long narrowcountry lying roughly North/South with mountain ranges running much of itslength. It is predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains and is alittle larger than Britain, slightly smaller than Italy, and almost exactly thesize of Colorado.
The only `geographicalfeature' New Zealand doesn't have is live coral reef. New Zealand has all therest: rainforest, desert, fiords, flooded valleys, gorges, plains, mountains,glaciers, volcanoes, geothermics, swamps, lakes, braided rivers, peneplains,badlands, and our very own continental plate junction… As a result of thelatter, earthquakes are common, though usually not severe.
The North Island has anumber of large volcanoes (including the currently active Mount Ruapehu) andhighly active thermal areas, while the South Island boasts the Southern Alps — a spine of magnificent mountains running almost its entire length. Anothernotable feature of New Zealand is its myriad rivers and lakes: notably theWhanganui River, Lake Taupo and the breathtaking lakes Waikaremoana and Wanaka.
Flora and Fauna
New Zealand is believed tobe a fragment of the ancient Southern continent of Gondwanaland which becamedetached over 100 million years ago allowing many ancient plants and animals tosurvive and evolve in isolation. As a result, most of the New Zealand flora andfauna is indigenous/endemic. About 10 to 15% of the total land area of NewZealand is native flora, the bulk protected in national parks and reserves.
New Zealand has the worldslargest flightless parrot (kakapo), the only truly alpine parrot (kea), theoldest reptile (tuatara), the biggest earthworms, the largest weta, thesmallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects,and plants in the world… New Zealand is home to the world famous Tuatara, alizard-like reptile which dates back to the dinosaurs and perhaps before (260mill years?). The only native land mammals are two rare species of bat. NewZealand's many endemic birds include the flightless kiwi, takahe, kakapo andweka. Far too many species of bird have become extinct since humans arrived onNew Zealand included the various species of Dinornis (moa) the largest of whichstood up to 2.5 metres high. There is also some unique insect life such as theGiant Weta and glow worms. Other than two spiders, there is a lack of anydeadly poisonous things (snakes, spiders, etc.) which is why New ZealandAgricultural Regulations are so strict.
Introduced species — pigs,goats, possums, dogs, cats, deer and the ubiquitous sheep — are foundthroughout New Zealand but their proliferation in the wild has had a deleteriouseffect on the environment: over 150 native plants — 10% of the total number ofnative species — and many native birds are presently threatened withextinction.
New Zealand's offshorewaters hold a variety of fish, including tuna, marlin, snapper, trevally,kahawai and shark; while its marine mammals — dolphins, seals and whales — attract nature-lovers from around the world. There are 12 national, 20 forest,three maritime and two marine parks, plus two World Heritage Areas: TongariroNational Park in the North Island and Te Waihipouna-mu in the South Island.
One of the most noticeableplants is the pohutakawa (known as the New Zealand Christmas tree) whichdetonates with brilliant red flowers around December. The great kauri trees inthe few remaining kauri forests in Northland are very old with some believed tobe up to 2000 years old. Much of the South Island is still forested,particularly the West Coast.
Lying between 34S and 47S, New Zealand sits squarely in the `roaring forties'latitude which means a prevailing and continual wind blows over the countryfrom east to west; this can range from a gentle breeze in summer to abuffeting, roof-stripping gale in winter. The North Island and South Island,because of their different geological features, have two distinct patterns ofrainfall: in the South Island, the Southern Alps act as a barrier for themoisture-laden winds from the Tasman Sea, creating a wet climate to the west ofthe mountains and a dry climate to the east; while the North Island's rainfallis more evenly distributed without a comparable geological feature such as theAlps.
The New Zealand climate istemperate with no real extremes. Temperatures are a few degrees cooler in theSouth Island, and both islands receive snow in winter. Being an island nation,the yearly range of temperatures is quite small, around 10 degrees Celsiusvariation between winter and summer. Winter falls in the months of June throughAugust and summer from December through to February.
It is important to rememberthat New Zealand's climate is maritime, rather than continental, which meansthe weather can change with amazing rapidity and consequence. New Zealandenjoys long hours of sunshine throughout the year making it an ideal year rounddestination. In winter the South Island mountain and central North Island dohave heavy snowfalls providing great skiing. The busy tourist season falls inthe warmer months between November and April, though ski resorts, such asQueenstown, are full during winter.Demography
Total population isabout 3.7 million. Over 70% of the population are in the North Island. Thelargest centre is Auckland (over 1 million), and the capital Wellington.
The official languages are English and Maori. English is more widely spoken,though the Maori language, for so long on the decline, is now making a comebackdue to the revival of Maoritanga. A mellifluous, poetic language, the Maorilanguage is surprisingly easy to pronounce if spoken phonetically and each wordsplit into separate syllables. Pacific Island and Asian languages may be heardin cities.
The dominant cultural groupsare the Pakeha and the Maori. Other smaller groups include YugoslavianDalmatians, Polynesians, Indians and Chinese. A common thread that binds theentire population is its love of sport — especially the national game of rugbyunion — and outdoor pursuits such as sailing, swimming, cycling, hiking andcamping. The secular aside, Christianity is the most common religion, withAnglicanism, Presbyterianism and Catholicism the largest denominations. Aninteresting religious variation is the synthesis of the Maori Ratana andRingatu faiths with Christianity.
New Zealand art is multifarious, valuing innovation, integrity andcraftsmanship that reflects Pakeha, Maori and Melanesian heritage. Wood, stone,shell and bone carvings are readily available while larger works such astukutuku (wood panelling) can be seen in most maraes (meeting houses). Pauashell, greenstone, greywacke and greenwacke pebbles are often fashioned intojewellery that takes its inspiration from the landscape: earrings shaped likethe leaves of a gingko tree; sunglasses modelled on native fern tendrils; andnecklaces in frangipani-flower designs. There is a lively theatre scene in thecountry, especially in Wellington, and a number of galleries, including theDunedin Public Art Gallery, which is the oldest viewing room in New Zealand andone of its best. The music scene is vigorous and fecund, spawning a pool oftalent — from Split Enz and Crowded House to the thrashing guitar pyrotechnicsof Dunedin's 3D's and Straitjacket Fits — lauded locally and overseas.
New Zealand shares with Britain and Israel the distinction ofbeing one of the three developed countries that does not have a codifiedConstitution on the U.S. model. When the country was annexed by Britain in1840, the British parliament enacted that all applicable law of England as at1840 became the law of New Zealand. In 1856, the New Zealand parliament wasgiven the power to enact its own law and nothing changed when full independencewas achieved (26-9-1907) except that the British parliament lost its overridingauthority. We have, thus, never had the problem that Australia and Canada havehad of «repatriating» a constitution that was really an Act of theBritish parliament.
Our constitution, like theBritish, consists of parliament's own conventions and rules of conduct, somelegislation such as the New Zealand Constitution Act (1986, not enacted), andfundamental rules applied by the Courts which go back into English history. Itevolves rather than is amended.
The flag of New Zealand isblue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four redfive-pointed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; thestars represent the Southern Cross constellation.
The National Anthem of NewZealand is «GodDefend New Zealand».
Form of Government
Constitutional monarchy,with a single-chamber parliament.
The monarch is said to«reign but not rule»: except for a residual power to actually governin the event of some complete breakdown of the parliamentary system, themonarch has merely ceremonial duties and advisory powers. When the monarch isabsent from the country, which is most of the time, those duties and powers aredelegated to the Governor-General who is appointed by the monarch for a limitedterm after approval by the government.
Parliament is theconsitutional «sovereign» — there is no theoretical limit on what itcan validly do, and the validity of the laws which it enacts cannot bechallenged in the courts (although the courts do have and use wide-rangingpowers to control administrative acts of the government). A new parliament iselected every three years (universal suffrage at age 18). The leader of theparty which commands majority support in parliament is appointed prime ministerand he or she nominates the other Ministers of the Crown. The ministers (andsometimes the whole majority party in parliament) are collectively called «thegovernment». Our system almost entirely lacks formal checks and balances — the majority party can virtually legislate as it likes subject only to itsdesire to be re-elected every three years.
Until now, members ofparliament have been elected on a single-member constituency, winner takes all,system similar to those of Britain and the U.S.A. As a result of referendaconducted in 1993, future parliaments will be elected on a mixed-memberproportional system modelled on that of Germany.
The administration is highlycentralised. The country is divided into «districts» (the urban onescalled «cities») each with a District (or City) Council and Mayor,but their powers are limited to providing public facilities (not housing) andenforcement of by-laws (local regulations) such as parking regulations. ThePolice are a single force controlled by the central government.
The Justice System
There is a four-levelhearings and appeals system:
Top level Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (London)
Court of Appeal (Wellington)
High Court (in all cities)
Bottom level District Courts (most towns)
Thereis also the Small Claims Court which handles smaller personal disputes.
Civiland criminal cases start in the District or High Court, depending on theirseriousness and appeals go up the chain. Certain rare cases can start in theCourt of Appeal. District and High Court judges sit alone or with juries. TheCourt of Appeal (and on certain rare occasions the High Court) consists ofthree or five judges sitting «en banc». The Judicial Committee of thePrivy Council consists mainly of British Law Lords with New Zealand judges alsositting in New Zealand cases; in theory its decisions merely«opinions» for the benefit of the monarch as the fount of alljustice, but in practice its rulings have the force of ultimate appeal.
Alljudges are appointed by the government — High Court judges are nominated by theLaw Society, but District Court judges apply for the job like any other.Various special-purpose courts (Industrial Court, Maori Land Court, FamilyCourt, etc.) exist and have the same status as either a District Court or theHigh Court.History
The Polynesian navigatorKupe has been credited with the discovery of New Zealand in 950 AD. He named itAotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud). Centuries later, around 1350 AD, a greatmigration of people from Kupe's homeland of Hawaiki followed his navigationalinstructions and sailed to New Zealand, eventually supplanting or mixing withprevious residents. Their culture, developed over centuries without anydiscernible outside influence, was hierarchical and often sanguinary.
In 1642, the Dutch explorerAbel Tasman briefly sailed along the west coast of New Zealand; any thoughts ofa longer stay were thwarted when his attempt to land resulted in several of hiscrew being killed and eaten. In 1769, Captain James Cook circumnavigated thetwo main islands aboard the Endeavour. Initial contact with the Maoris alsoproved violent but Cook, impressed with the Maoris' bravery and spirit andrecognising the potential of this newfound land, grabbed it for the Britishcrown before setting sail for Australia.
When the British began theirantipodean colonising, New Zealand was originally seen as an offshoot ofAustralian enterprise in whaling and sealing: in fact, from 1839 to 1841 thecountry was under the jurisdiction of New South Wales. However, increasedEuropean settlement soon proved problematic: a policy was urgently requiredregarding land deals between the settlers (Pakeha) and the Maori. In 1840, theTreaty of Waitangi was signed, with the Maori ceding sovereignty of theircountry to Britain in exchange for protection and guaranteed possession oftheir lands. But relations between the Maori and Pakeha soon soured (the Maorisbecame increasingly alarmed at the effect the Pakeha had on their society whilethe Pakeha rode roughshod over Maori rights outlined in the treaty). In 1860,war broke out between them, continuing for much of the decade before the Maoriwere defeated.
By the late 19th century,things had temporarily calmed down. The discovery of gold had engendered muchprosperity, and wide-scale sheep farming meant New Zealand became an efficientand mostly self-reliant country. Sweeping social changes — women's suffrage,social security, the encouragement of trade unions and the introduction ofchild care services — cemented New Zealand's reputation as a country committedto egalitarian reform.
New Zealand was givendominion status in the British Empire in 1907 and granted autonomy by Britainin 1931; independence, however, was not formally proclaimed until 1947. Theeconomy continued to prosper until the worldwide recession in the 1980s, whenunemployment rose dramatically. Today the economy has stabilised, thankslargely to an export-driven recovery. Internationally, New Zealand was hailedduring the mid-1980s for its anti-nuclear stance — even though it meant afalling-out with the USA — and its opposition to French nuclear testing in thePacific (which France countered, to much opprobrium but little penalty, byblowing up the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior as it sat in AucklandHarbour).
The Maori population is nowincreasing faster than the Pakeha and a resurgence in Maoritanga (Maoriculture) has had a major and lasting impact on New Zealand society. Culturally,the most heartening aspect had been the mending of relations between the Maoriand Pakeha (in 1985, the Treaty of Waitangi was overhauled, leading tofinancial reparations to a number of Maori tribes whose land had been unjustlyconfiscated). However, a recent clumsy take-it-or-leave-it attempt by the NewZealand government to offer financial reparations has resulted in an upsurge ofmilitant Maori protests. Maoris have disrupted events, occupied land claimareas, set up roadblocks and threatened to blow-up the New Zealand parliament.The disharmony has shocked New Zealanders and placed national conciliation atthe top of the political agenda.
Southern alps rise above the ocean.
Possible early settlement on the South Island by an archaic Maori populationoriginating in Polynesia.
Date of discovery of New Zealand by Polynesian navigator Kupe according toMaori legend. Islands named Aotearoa, «Land of the Long White Cloud».
Settlement of the North Island.
13 and 14C
«Great Migration» from the Society Islands. Dwindling moapopulation. Warrior society established.
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovers west coast of the SouthIsland. Dutch name the country «Nieuw Zeeland» after the Dutch islandprovince of Zeeland.
Captain James Cook circumnavigates and charts both islands, takingpossession of «New Zealand» for Britain.
First European settlement (in the Bay of Islands).
Intertribal wars abate due to introduction of musket and wholesaleslaughter.
Treaty of Waitangi signed. Maoris cede sovereignty to Britain, obtainguarantees of land ownership and «rights and privileges of Britishsubjects.»
«Wool period» with importation of sheep from Australia. Also aperiod of war and conflict over land ownership.
Refrigerated ships introduced. Farmers turn to meat and dairy production.
New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to give women the vote.
Independence from UK.
One of every three men between 20 and 40 killed or wounded fighting forBritain in World War I.
New Zealand sends troops to fight for the Allies in Europe.
Threatened by Japan, defended by United States Navy (eventually led toANZUS pact in 1951, a defensive alliance with the U.S. and Australia).
New Zealand becomes independent by adopting Statue of Westminster.
Britain joins European Economic Community and adopts their trade barriersto New Zealand's agricultural products. Combined with high oil prices, this wasenough to devastate the economy.
Robert Muldoon's National Party expands welfare state and governmentinterventionism, running huge budget deficits financed with overseas money.High inflation and unemployment cause massive emigration to Australia.
Treaty of Waitangui Act passed to settle Maori land claimson the basis oforiginal treaty.
New Labour government eliminates agricultural subsidies and wage and pricecontrols, lowers tax rates, begins a radical program of privatization.
The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior from Greenpeace in Auckland by Frenchsecret service agents. One man was killed (Fernando Pereira).
Since 1984 the governmenthas been reorienting an agrarian economy dependent on a guaranteed Britishmarket to an open free market economy that can compete on the global scene. Thegovernment had hoped that dynamic growth would boost real incomes, reduceinflationary pressures, and permit the expansion of welfare benefits. Theresults have been mixed: inflation is down from double-digit levels, but growthhas been sluggish and unemployment, always a highly sensitive issue, hasexceeded 10% since May 1991. In 1988, GDP fell by 1%, in 1989 grew by amoderate 2.4%, and was flat in 1990-91. Current (1994) growth is around 2-4%and rising.
The economy is based onagriculture (particularly dairy products, meat, and wool (68 m sheep, 2 m dairycows)), food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery,transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining. Fish catch reacheda record 0.5 m tonnes in 1988. Highly dependent on external trade, New Zealandis currently trying to move from being a primary to a secondary producer.
Decimal system based on New Zealand dollar, with cent denominations. Coins are5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, 1 and 2 dollars. Notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100dollars. Major credit cards are accepted widely.
Same as overseas.
Fluctuating between 6 and 8%depending on overseas markets.
New Zealand operates a Goods and Services Tax of 12.5 per cent on ALL goods andservices sold and this is usually included in the display price. The exceptionsare purchases at duty free shops. Visitors cannot claim refunds on this taxhowever when a supplier agrees to export a major item to a visitors homeaddress then GST will not be charged on the goods or the freight.
Income tax 24% on first$30,874/year, 33% for every $ above this. There are various rebates for thingslike low incomes, children, donations, Housekeeper, Home/Farm/VesselOwnbership, and others.
Government Revenue Source (1990)
How it was expected to be spent (1990)
Gost and Service Tax
Other Direct Taxes
Other Indirect Tax
Development of Industry
$25,016.4Life in General
Banks 9:00am to 4:30pm — can vary slightly. Otherwise, Monday to Friday 9:00amto 5:30pm. Late night for shopping is either Thursday or Friday. Changes to theShop Trading Hours Act means that most shops are open for longer hours thanthis. Almost all are open Saturday morning, many are open on Sunday with someshops and markets remaining open later during the week.
Automatic teller machinesare widely available including a system in many supermarkets and petrolstations called EFTPOS where you can buy goods with your card and a PIN numberand/or obtain cash. All international credit cards are accepted in New Zealand.Travellers cheques can be changed in banks, hotels, stores, etc.
There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency which may be broughtinto or taken from New Zealand. Funds may be in the form of bank notes, coins,travellers cheques or any other instrument of payment. Visitors may convertsurplus New Zealand currency at any outlet authorised to deal in foreignexchange.
Some of the noteworthy cultural events include: Summer City Programme (Januaryto February; Wellington) which is a series of festivals around the city;Marlborough Food & Wine Festival (2nd week in February; Blenheim);International Festival of the Arts (February, even-numbered years only;Wellington), an entire month of national and international culture; GoldenShears Sheep-Shearing Contest (March; Masterton), a must for lovers of sheep,scat and sweat; and Canterbury Show Week (November; Christchurch) which hasagricultural exhibits, rides and local entertainment.
Tipping is not unheard of in New Zealand. Employed people don't depend on tipsfor their income and service charges are not [usually] added to hotel andrestaurant bills. Tip for service if you think it's deserved.
Getting There & Away
The overwhelming majority of visitors arrive by air. There are three airportsthat handle international flights: Auckland (the major exit/entry point),Wellington and Christchurch. Departure tax on international flights is NZ$20. Afew cruise ships visit New Zealand, but there are no regular passenger shipservices and working your way across the Pacific as crew on a yacht now seems athing of the past.
Although New Zealand is a compact country and generally easy to get around, itmakes good sense to fly — especially for the views over the mountains orvolcanoes. A variety of discounts also makes flying economical. New Zealand hastwo major domestic airlines: Air New Zealand and Ansett New Zealand. Severalsmaller airlines — Mt Cook Airline, Eagle Air and Air Nelson — are partly ownedby Air New Zealand and have been grouped together as `Air New Zealand Link'.This network provides thorough coverage of the country.
New Zealand also has anextensive bus network, with the main operator being InterCity (servicing boththe North Island and South Island). The two other major bus operators areNewmans (North Island) and Mt Cook Landline (South Island). Services on mainbus routes are frequent (at least once a day); unfortunately they can beexpensive and slow. A good alternative is to use shuttle bus companies whichare smaller, cheaper and friendlier than the large bus companies. Some of themare designed to cater especially for foreign travellers and/or backpackers andhave lots of little `extras' that make them particularly attractive; othercompanies, perhaps drawing on the experiences of Ken Kesey and his MerryPranksters, can take you around New Zealand on `alternative' buses which areoften an unhurried way of seeing the country.
Main train routes are few,though train travel is reasonably quick. Trains are modern and comfortable, andthe fares are sometimes cheaper than those by bus on the same routes.
Car travel (New Zealandersdrive on the left) is recommended as the roads are good and well signposted andthe distances short. Rentals of cars, motorcycles and campervans are popularwith a range of special deals available.
There are plenty of boatservices, including the Interislander ferry (operating between Wellington inthe North Island and Picton in the South Island.
And finally, there's alwayscycling around the country. Many travellers describe New Zealand as a cyclists'paradise: it's clean, green, uncrowded and unspoiled, and there are plenty ofplaces where you can camp or find cheap accommodation. Bicycle rental can bedaily, weekly or monthly and is inexpensive.
While it may be `safe' compared to most other countries, serious crime doesexist here and visitors should take sensible precautions. Always lock yourvehicle, and don't leave it in isolated locations for extended periods. Avoidleaving valuables visible in the car. Avoid areas/situations which appearunwholesome. The emergency phone number (police, ambulance, fire) is 111, andask the operator for the service required (this can be used from payphoneswithout paying).
New Zealand operates a no-fault accident compensation scheme which coversresidents and visitors. Personal injury through accident entitles the injuredparty to compensation for reasonable expenses related to the accident. Due toabuse, this has been reworked recently and compensation is far harder toobtain.
New Zealand cities and townshave good public water. Water is safe to drink out of the tap. The water inChristchurch *is* totally untreated and is supposed to be the purist domesticwater supply in the world...
In bush walking areasgiardia has been found so its advisable to check before drinking from rivers orstreams. Boiling water for five minutes or more is advised where advice is notavailable.
Telephone Country Code = 64
The Telephone is similar toBritish Telecom style. Uses BT 600 plug (not RJ-11) Phone line is pins 2 and 5of the BT 600 plug (RJ-11 is pins 3 & 4). Hotels will have difficulty inconverting plugs styles but conversion cables are available from retailers.
Most New Zealand telephonesystems can handle DTMF tone dialling. BEWARE: New Zealand pulse dialing is thereverse of most countries. The digit are reversed and so produce differentnumbers of pulses. The conversion is:
digit | # of Pulses
0 | 10
1 | 9
2 | 8
8 | 2
9 | 1
Thebest solution is to use tone dialing.
The normal electricity supply is 230 volts 50 hertz alternating current (AC).
3pin appliance socket from a viewpoint looking at the wall or a plug seen fromthe inside as one would while wiring it up.
phase ----- / \ — neutral
| — earth
Ifthe wires you have are brown, blue, and green [yellow or white striped], then;brown = phase, blue = neutral, green = earth. The old code is red, black, greenrespectively. If you have ANY doubts, please consult a qualified electrician.
Mosthotels will have shaver plugs suitable for all international appliance of lowpower rating, and which will supply 110 and 230 volts. These plugs may be forshavers only.
NewZealand runs on PAL G on UHF. This gives the same picture and sound spacing(5.5MHz), but the channel spacing is slightly wider — the same as that used for6MHz intercarrier spacing. Standard 50 hertz field rate, 25 hertz frame rate.We also use NICAM for stereo tv, rather than one of the various analoguesystems.
Inthe Southern Hemisphere, the locally-vertical component of the field is in theopposite direction to where it would be an equivalent distance north of theequator. This affects the colour convergence of video monitors. It's not a*huge* difference, and it took computer companies until the late 1980s' to wakeup to the difference and ship different monitor versions to New Zealand, SouthAmerica, and Australia. Northern hemisphere monitors *work* but the colourswon't be as crisp as you'd expect./>/>North Island
In ancient Maori mythology,the North Island is Te Ika a Maui (the Fish of Maui). According to the story,Maui was fishing with his brothers when he hooked the North Island from the ocean.His ravenous brothers, ignoring orders not to touch the fish, began gnawing atits flesh, causing the fish to writhe and thresh about — this frenzy ofmovement is the reason behind the island's undulant and mountainous landscape.
There are snow-fringedmountains in the Tongariro National Park, exclamatory geysers and bubbling mudpools in Rotorua and a profusion of rivers, lakes and streams. But the NorthIsland is more than rips and fissures: it has its share of rolling pastures,forest-clad hills and stretches of long, sandy beaches. It also has NewZealand's two largest cities — Auckland to the north and the country's capital,Wellington, to the south — which are focal points for arts and entertainment,historic buildings, great dining and a variety of accommodation.
The largest city in New Zealand, Auckland, is almost enclosed by water andcovered in volcanic hills. Auckland has a spectacular harbour and bridge (and afanatical number of yachting enthusiasts) which has earned it the sobriquet'City of Sails'. A magnet for the people of the South Pacific islands, Aucklandnow has the largest concentration of Polynesians in the world. Highlightsinclude the Auckland Museum, which houses a memorable display of Maoriartefacts and culture, and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World & AntarcticEncounter, a unique simulacrum of ocean and exploration activities.
There is great shopping inthe suburbs of Parnell and Newmarket, well-preserved Victorian buildings inDevonport, Polynesian handicrafts, cafes, restaurants and markets in Ponsonby,panoramic views of the city from the extinct volcano One Tree Hill, and goodswimming beaches including Kohimarama and Mission Bay.
The Hauraki Gulf offAuckland is dotted with islands such as Rangitoto, Great Barrier and Waiheke,which have affordable accommodation, a number of walks and diving possibilitiesand, in the case of Waiheke Island, excellent art galleries. Auckland is also agood starting-point for visiting the amazingly scenic Coromandel Peninsula andHauraki Plains regions to the south-east.
Northland is the cradle of both Maori and Pakeha culture: it was here that thePakeha first made contact with the Maori, the first whaling settlements wereestablished and the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Often referred to as the'winterless north' because of its mild year-round temperatures, Northland has anumber of interesting museums (Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum), glorious,blonde beaches (Ninety Mile Beach) and diving spots (Poor Knights Islands MarineReserve, reckoned by Jacques Cousteau to be among the top 10 diving sites inthe world), historic towns (Pahia and Waitangi), game fishing (Bay of Islands)and flora and fauna reserves (Waipoua Kauri Forest).
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island at themouth of the Hauraki Gulf has acres of long, white sandy beaches on its easternshore, deep-water sheltered inlets on its western shore, and a rugged spine ofsteep ridges running down the centre. The 80,000 hectare preserve has a numberof walking tracks which combine old logging trails and tramways. Natural hotsprings, towering kauri forests and a serene aura make it a perfect escape.Flights and ferries operate from Auckland, 88 km south.
Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty, given itsname by Captain Cook in 1769 because of the number of thriving Maorisettlements, has a consistently mild climate year-round, good beaches and isthe home of the kiwi fruit — a fuzzy, brown, sweet-tasting fruit and a majorsource of export revenue for the region. The city of Tauranga offers activitiessuch as jet-skiing, water-skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, diving, surfing,fishing and harbour cruises. Across the inlet from Tauranga is Mt Maunganui, apopular holiday resort with beaches and saltwater pools. Rotorua, one of themost visited cities in New Zealand, is famous for its kinetic thermal activity(Whakarewarewa is the best known site and the location of Pohutu, an activegeyser that gushes forth every hour), a large and influential Maori population,trout springs and wildlife parks.
The East Cape, as opposed tothe Bay of Plenty, is little visited, but its isolation belies an area endowedwith native forest, wild coasts and picturesque bays, inlets and coves. Duringthe summer, the coastline turns vermilion with the explosion of flowers fromthe pohutukawa trees lining the shores.
A succession of picturesque bays leads to Whangaparaoa (Cape Runaway), at thevery tip of the East Cape. The beaches are deeply shelved and littered withdriftwood, and the old Anglican church, nestled under Norfolk pines on a lonepromontory, should not be missed. Cape Runaway can only be reached by foot andit's advisable to seek permission before going on private land.
Central North Island
Hamilton, New Zealand's largestinland city, is surrounded by some of the world's richest dairy farming andagricultural regions. It is a city of museums, zoos and parks, and offers rivercruises on the Waikato River, the country's longest (425 km). Further south isthe region of King Country, once the stronghold of powerful Maori chiefs. Thetown of Waitomo is famous for its limestone caves and subterranean black-waterrafting (a wetsuit, caver's helmet, inner tube and abundant courage are allthat's required) while Te Kuiti, named after the belligerent Maori leader TeKooti, is recognised as 'the shearing capital of the world'. Even further southis Taumaranui, which makes a good base for kayaking, rafting and jet-boating onthe Whanganui River.
The west coast region ofTaranaki is dominated by Mt Taranaki (also officially known as Mt Egmont), adormant volcano rising 2518 metres. Other highlights in Taranaki include theEgmont National Park and the region's world-class surfing and windsurfingbeaches. New Zealand's largest lake, and the geographical centre of the NorthIsland, is Lake Taupo. Dotted around its shores are towns with cheapaccommodation and great dining possibilities (trout is a speciality). Nearbyare the spectacular Tongariro and Whanganui national parks; the former isrenowned for its ski slopes while the latter has several excellent walkingtracks and recreational water activities on the Whanganui River. East of thenational parks is the Art Deco city of Napier, with its splendid weather andbeautiful beaches.
The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, is situated on a splendid harbourat the southern tip of the North Island. Often maligned by its northerncounterparts for its ill-tempered weather — the winds are often of gale-forcecalibre in winter — Wellington is a lively city of culture and arts (withfestivals almost every month), and great ethnic restaurants and cafes. It isalso home to the country's government and national treasures. Buildings ofinterest include: the modernist Beehive (the executive wing of Parliament); theold Government Building (one of the largest all-wooden buildings in the world);the National Library (housing the most comprehensive collection of books in thecountry); and the Katherine Mansfield Memorials (the property where the famousauthor was born in 1888). In addition, there are museums, a zoo and stunningviews of the city from atop Mt Victoria. Cuba Street has great shopping,Thorndon has historic sites of interest, Lambton Quay is the primary businessstreet and Mt Victoria is the place to go for cheap accommodation and dining.
The South Island crams inglaciers, fiords, turbulent rivers, trout streams, rainforests, mossy beechforests, palmy beaches and a number of mountains that top 3000 metres — a repertoireto inspire even the most sluggish arms, legs and lungs. It's an island whereyou can fish, paddle, pedal, raft, hike and walk in some of the most gorgeousscenery on earth.
Most journeys begin inpostcard-perfect Picton, where the ferry from the North Island arrives, orChristchurch, a city under the delusion that it is somewhere in southernEngland. From either of these points, you can make your way to any number ofattractions: the labyrinth of tributaries known as the Marlborough Sounds;nearby Nelson, a city famous for its wines and succulent seafood; Mount CookNational Park, where New Zealand's tallest peaks are found; Queenstown, nestledbeneath the saw-toothed peaks of The Remarkables; and, further south, thereserves of podocarp forests and fauna found in the Catlins. The people, muchlike the weather and topography, are robust. The roads are excellent for aself-drive holiday.
The convoluted waterways ofthe Marlborough Sounds, formed when the sea invaded a series of river valleysafter the ice ages, are home to bays, islands and coves. Separated by forestedknuckles of land that rise from the sea, the Sounds are an exhilarating placewith activities such as sea kayaking and white-water rafting and interestingwildlife that includes sea gannets, tuatara lizards (relics from the dinosaurage), even carnivorous snails! There are also great walks, including the QueenCharlotte Walkway (a 58-km track among lush forest) and the Abel Tasman CoastalTrack in the Abel Tasman National Park (220 sq km of beaches, sea coves, forestand granite gorges).
Wine, good food and aclimate conducive to year-round activity are features of the towns of Nelson,Picton and Blenheim. The crayfish from Kaikoura are superb but it is a townfamous for much larger fry — sperm whales. Whalewatch and dolphin swimmingtours are manifold and inexpensive.
Wild, craggy and desolate,the West Coast is an area buffeted by heavy seas and drenching rain. KeriHulme, the Booker Prize winner, calls the region home, drawing inspiration fromits 'bleak and ascetical' landscape. Understandably, those who live here — commonly known as `Coasters' — occupy a unique place in the national folklore.Activities include canoeing and riding the rapids down Moeraki River, fishingfor brown trout in the lakes, watching penguins and fur seals lazing on thegreenstone beaches, and squelching through forests (which are much to theliking of the rapacious ringtail possum).
Harihari, a small town on the West Coast, made world headlines in 1931, whenGuy Menzies completed the first solo flight across the Tasman Sea fromAustralia. The journey was hassle-free but the landing proved a disaster: theaircraft overturned in a swamp, and Menzies, on undoing his safety straps, fell- much to the delight of the cheering locals — head first into the mud. Thetown is now known as a base for coastal walks, birdwatching and trout andsalmon fishing.
Westland National Park
The Westland National Parkhas over 60 glaciers, with the most accessible being the Fox Glacier and FranzJosef Glacier: you can almost hear the strangulated groans, tweaks and gurglesas they slowly advance down the mountainside. The town of Greymouth is thewestern terminal for the passenger train TranzAlpine Express, which winds itsway over the Southern Alps — through beech forests, glacial valleys andmountains — on to Christchurch.
The hub of the South Island, Canterbury is one of the driest and flattest areasof New Zealand. The predominant feature of the region is the capaciousCanterbury Plains, situated between the coast and the mountain foothills, whichis devoted to farming and agriculture.
Paradoxically, Canterburycontains most of New Zealand's highest mountains such as Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.The area's major city is Christchurch which has genteel, sylvan suburbs,up-market eateries and cafes, and is home to the Wizard, a Rabelaisian figurewho dominates lunchtime discussion in Cathedral Square. Gently steering itscourse through the city and suburbs is the ankle-deep, willow-lined Avon River- perfect for punting.
To the east of Christchurchis the feral coastline of Banks Peninsula, dominated by gnarled volcanic peaks;it is also the location of Lyttelton, which has excellent arts and craftsstores. A good day trip from Christchurch is to the Frenchified town of Akaroawhich boasts the best fish & chips in the country. West of Christchurch isthe settlement of Arthurs Pass, which is a great base for tackling walks,climbs and skiing in Arthurs Pass National Park. To the south lie thepicturesque towns of Geraldine and Fairlie, the high, tussock-grass plateauknown as the Mackenzie Country and the World Heritage Area that is Mt CookNational Park. The imperious Mt Cook (3755 metres) is the highest peak inAustralasia, and offers plenty of walks and unlimited scope for tramping, rockclimbing, lung-cleansing and sightseeing.
The gruelling four-dayCopland Pass trek in the Mt Cook National Park is a once-in-a-lifetimeadventure that can only be completed in good weather by well-prepared,experienced teams or with professional guides. The terrain varies from glaciersand snowfields to rainforest and thermal pools. The pass is 2150 metres highand is surrounded by dramatic 3000-metre peaks. This is no stroll and shouldonly be attempted by professional masochists experienced in the use of iceaxes, crampons and alpine route-finding. Apparently the sense of achievement incrossing the pass entitles you to enter an elite club of euphoric high-achievers.
Queenstown, set in a glacial valley on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, is a townsynonymous with hairy adventures: parasailing; schussing down icy rapids in jetboats; white-water rafting; and bungy jumping off Skippers Canyon Bridge — thelatest and most terrifying stunt is plunging 300 metres from a helicopter.
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park,which takes its name from its glacier-carved coast, is a wilderness ofmountains, ice and beech forests. The scenic climax of Fiordland is undoubtedlyMilford Sound where cruise ships bob toy-like beneath the shadows of toweringmountains and waterfalls. There are classic alpine walks, including theRouteburn Track (in Mt Aspiring National Park), the Hollyford Valley and theMilford Track (billed as the 'finest in the world').
Otago Peninsula is asignificant wildlife area with woodland gardens, albatross, penguin and sealcolonies, plus aquariums, museums and historic sites. Dunedin, a student cityon the peninsula, is a hub for arts and entertainment, and is famous forproducing an eclectic pool of internationally successful rock bands. Scottishto its core, the city has a rich architectural heritage with many museums,galleries and castles.
There are a series of hugelakes in the area, including Hawea and nearby Wanaka in Otago, and Lake Te Anauin Southland. Te Anau, gouged out by a huge glacier, is New Zealand's secondlargest lake and features caves full of glow worms, and waterfalls andwhirlpools. The Catlins, the largest remaining area of native forest on theeast coast of the South Island, is between Invercargill and Dunedin. It hasreserves of rarefied plants and trees, plus fauna such as fur seals, sea lions,penguins and ducks.
New Zealand's third largestisland, Stewart Island is an ornithologist's delight: tuis, parakeets, kakas,bellbirds, fernbirds and robins abound. The kiwi, rare in both the North andSouth Island, is common over much of the island, particularly around beaches. Agood network of walking tracks and huts exist in the northern part of theisland but the south is forgettable, being undeveloped and isolated. The people(a paltry 450 in all) are hardy, taciturn and suspicious of mainlanders, theweather is changeable and the accommodation is basic; there are, however,excellent-value homestays on the island.