Situated approximately 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of giant land masses—the North Island and South Island—and nearly 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re looking for unique wildlife, world-class eating places, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-filled waters, hair-raising adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings all of it collectively in a single unforgettable nation.
New Zealand is historically distinctive in that it was one of many last main land lots to be settled by humans. Estimates put the arrival of the first Māori settlers between 1250 and 1300, and European explorers didn’t arrive till the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The primary meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted within the death of four of Tasman’s crew members and at the very least one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped almost everything of the nation’s coastline.
By way of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the world intensified, and beginning within the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries began changing a lot of the prevailing Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori population was at 40 percent of its pre-European contact level, due largely to European-launched diseases.
On July 1, 1841, the Colony of Travel around New Zealand Zealand was formally fashioned from the Colony of New South Wales, and in 1907, upon request from the New Zealand parliament, New Zealand was proclaimed a dominion within the British Empire. New Zealand fought in both World War I and World War II and suffered by way of the Great Despair as well.
In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and several movements aimed at promoting larger awareness of their traditions.
New Zealand is commonly the story of two teams, Māori and Pākehā (European culture within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are not any exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are lots of stunning examples of carvings and weavings, both of which usually have non secular and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, panorama paintings and some Māori portraiture were common.
One of the widely recognized cultural elements of the Māori individuals is the haka, a posture dance that includes stamping ft, rhythmic cries and openly exposed tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union group, has performed this ritual before matches since 1905.
While there has historically been little worldwide curiosity in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film business has seen a recent boon. New Zealand films Once Were Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all enjoyed national and worldwide success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.
On the music entrance, the Takapuna-born artist Lorde has damaged into worldwide acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys international success as well.
When touring in New Zealand, maintain a few of the following in thoughts:
CURRENCY New Zealand’s foreign money is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in uncommon circumstances can you pay with US dollars here, so all the time convert into the native currency. Most retailers settle for main credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. For those who’re going someplace notably distant, just be sure to stock up on money beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will likely be on the airport and in hotels. Simply withdrawing from an ATM tends to provde the most favorable rate.
TIPPING While tipping’s not obligatory in restaurants, it’s still common, especially in touristy areas. A 10 p.c gratuity for particularly glorious service will all the time be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a nice gesture to tip anybody carrying your bags or cleaning your room. The following tips tend to be just a few dollars.
PUBLIC BEHAVIOR New Zealand’s generally a quite relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners won’t come up against too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nevertheless, subtle variations between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for instance, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.
ELECTRIC CURRENT New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. Always check your US gadgets to see in the event that they’re suitable with a hundred and ten and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand makes use of two- or three-pin plugs which might be angled, so an adapter’s necessary as well.
PUBLIC BATHROOMS Public loos are clear, fashionable and readily available throughout New Zealand. You can expect sinks, running water and toilet paper to be provided.
Preserve a special eye out for "Exeloo" toilets. These high-tech restrooms point out with a light if the stall’s vacant, occupied or closed, they play mild music over a speaker system, they help you lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes when you wash your hands!
DRINKING WATER Faucet water’s clean and safe to drink all through New Zealand. If you happen to’re heading out for multiday adventures within the wild, use the same common sense you'll anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and bring alongside your preferred water sterilization technique—just to be safe.
AUCKLAND REGION Named after the nation’s largest urban heart, the Auckland area contains everything from metropolitan bars and restaurants to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, where you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.
Auckland: A stupendous city of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss cease for anybody hitting the North Island. Take within the Sky Tower and stunning harbor, as well as the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s costliest cities.)
BAY OF PLENTY REGION Situated within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this area’s best known for its in depth geothermal exercise, nevertheless it’s additionally a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.
Rotorua: Whether you’re interested in the geothermal activity, trout fishing or Maori tradition, Rotorua will hold you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of sizzling pools and geysers.
HAWKE’S BAY REGION Nestled alongside the eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the surroundings however stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is thought internationally as the home to many award-winning reds and whites.
Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient metropolis rebuilt in its now-famous Art Deco architectural style. Folks flock here year-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Art Deco history and heritage.
WAIKATO REGION Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, natural harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island region quintessentially Kiwi.