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‘Aotearoa’ (our traditional Maori name, meaning ‘land
of the long white cloud’) is in the South Pacific and consists
of several islands - the 2 main being the North & South Islands.
The country is approximately the same size as England and is about
1,600 kms (1,000 miles) southeast of Australia; Auckland, in the
North Island, is a 2 hour flight away from Sydney, Australia.
While a temperate climate in general, there are considerable regional
variations. The north of the north island can be described as subtropical
while in the south, winter frosts are common and snow and below
zero temperatures are not uncommon. Christmas time is summer and
June, July and August are our winter months.
2003, for the first time, the population reached the 4 million mark.
Wellington, in the lower North Island (with a population of 451,000)
is the capital and Auckland (with over a quarter of the country’s
population at over 1 million and the largest Polynesian population
of any city of the world) is just north of the mid North Island.
Christchurch and Dunedin are the 2 largest cities in the South Island,
having populations of 358,000 and 113,000 respectively.
A small open pastoral economy, exports account for around 30% of
GDP and close to half of that is commodity based. An exporter of
frozen mutton from the 1880’s, New Zealand is still one of
the world’s main exporters of wool, cheese, butter and meat.
Forestry products retain a vital role in the economy; newer enterprises
such as wine making continue to expand. Tourism is a significant
and growing industry thanks to incredibly varied and beautiful scenery
- fabulous coastlines, beaches, harbours, volcanoes, lakes, alpine
snowfields, fiords, glaciers, plains & native bush.
Exciting and innovative, we have burgeoning movie and related fields
industries. Best known are surely the Lord of the Rings trilogy,
King Kong, Narnia chronicles, Whale Rider and The World's Fastest
Indian. We also have various internationally acclaimed software
design and development companies, who’ve pioneered the likes
of the America’s Cup software race tracking programmes.
Our relative isolation has bred an ingenious ‘do it yourself’
mentality and practicality, often providing a sharp edge over competitive
designers in such areas as motorbike design (John Britton) and boating
design (Bruce Farr).
Just a few of the most accomplished New Zealanders are Richard Pearse
(early 20th Century airplane, helicopter and powered cycle inventor),
Jean Batten (record-breaking aviator of the 30’s) and Burt
Munro (see ‘The World's Fastest Indian’ ). Our most
famous scientist is certainly Ernest Rutherford, who split the atom.
Among our best known writers are Katherine Mansfield, James K Baxter,
Janet Frame, Margaret Mahy, Witi Ihimaera and Elizabeth Knox.
New Zealanders are overwhelmingly outdoors and sports orientated
- famous for conquering Everest (Sir Edmund Hilary), sailing (Sir
Peter Blake’s team winning the Americas Cup), rowing, cycling,
rugby (the All Blacks), Bungy jumping (pioneered by A.J. Hackett)…well,
we tackle pretty much everything.
‘kiwi’ is a native, flightless and endangered bird.
It is from this precious native that New Zealanders have come to
be known as ‘kiwis’ (and so too our famous 'kiwi' fruit).
Another well known NZ emblem is the ‘silver fern’, which
is a fine example of some of the glorious native bush that once
almost entirely covered the country.
Streat Control gratefully acknowledges and thanks the following
Fern image: NZ
Kiwi Image: Laraine Anne Barker, http://lbarker.orcon.net.nz
A very special thanks to Nicola for her creativity, dedication,
discipline and exceptional patience and perseverance.
Website design and production: Nicola Wright, Deluxe