New Zealand has 4;575.000 people The most important cities are:
Auckland (North Island) 1.415 millons (inc. Manukau City and North Shore City)
Wellington: (North Island) capital of the country, with 470.000 people
Christchurch (South Island) 366,000 people
Hamilton (North Island): 150,000 people
Dunedin (South Island): 128,000 people
The population is mainly of European origin, 80% (British, Irish, Scottish), but the constant immigration has transformed cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington into cosmopolitan centres. There are 565,000 maori in the country, of which 90% live in the North Island; 231,000 from the Pacific Islands, (2 out of 3 live in Manukau City, Auckland) and 240,000 Asians, two thirds living in Auckland. The 37% of the population has access to Internet (2001) the median annual salary for men between 40 and 44 is NZ$ 35,900 and for women is NZ$ 22,000. Median family income is NZD 59.000
REGIONS: New Zealand is divided in several regions, as well districts and territories. North Island: Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui, Manawatu, Taranaki and Wellington. South Island: Marlborough, Nelson, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland
New Zealand has a maritime climate, therefore the weather can change suddenly. The average maximum temperatures are: Auckland: 24 C in January and 15 C in July. Hours of sun 2071. Days of rain 1106 Wellington: 21 C in January and 11 C in July. Hours of sun 2024. Days of rain 1269 Christchurch: 23 C in January and 11 C in July. Hours of sun:2066. Days of rain:645 Dunedin: 19 C in January and 9 C in July. Hours of sun: 1595. Days of rain: 799.
The two official languages are English and Maori. In the street you will hear many Asian languages among the students and immigrants. Other languages are:Samoan (81,036 people), French (49,722) Cantonnese (37,143) and German (33,981).
TAXES All products and services include 15% of GST (Good and Service Tax) in New Zealand and 10% GST in Australia
NATIONAL HOLIDAYS Christmas: 25 of December , Boxing Day: 26 of December, New Year: 1 of January and 2nd of January, Waitangi Day: 6 of February , Good Friday & Easter Sunday: April , Easter Monday: April , Anzac Day: 25 of April , Queen Birthday: first week of June, Labour Day: 25 of October
RELIGION There are more than 2 millon christians, 17% of them are Anglicans, 14% Catholics and 11% Presbeterian.
GOVERNMENT: Independent, member of the British Commonwealth . Prime Minister: John Key, National Party
BANKING: There are four main banks and a number of smaller financial institutions. New Zealand has an efficient and reliable banking system with daily settlement between banks and a wide network of Eftpos and internet facilities. Almost every business accepts credit cards Visa, MC and Eftpos, many also accept American Express, JCB and Diners. There are many ATM machines all of which support international transactions.
CUSTOMS Due to the importance of the agriculture and horticulture in the economy of the country, it is forbbiden to enter the country with products from
animal or vegetal origin, fruits, plants, seeds and food that can bring pests or illness. Upon arrival you will have to complete a form indicating whether you bring any of these forbidden items. Luggage is checked and fines are high. Disclose everything.
In New Zealand you drive on the left side of the road, as in Australia, Japan and Britain. The maximum speed on open roads is 100 kms/hr and in the cities 50kms/hr. By law all occupants of a vehicle must wear seat belts. There can be speed cameras and police patrols on any road. Fines for speeding are high. Drink driving is not tolerated, neither it is texting or using the mobile while driving unless hands free.
180 millon years ago, New Zealand was part of the continent known as Gondwana. 70 millon years ago, with the movement of the earth plates, New Zealand became isolated, at a distance of 2580 kms from the nearer neighbour, Australia. The flora and native birds enjoyed the absence of predators and mammals. The Tuatara, from the dinosaur family, extint inthe rest of the world 100.000 years ago, can still be found in this country.
New Zealand has 38 National Parks, with free access. Dogs are not allowed and there is a small fee to make use of huts for overnight stays.
Brochures can be obtained from the Department of Conservation (DOC). Special permits are required for hunting or fishing. While New Zealand has many formed walking and hiking tracks maintained by DOC, the back country can be extremely rugged, and care should be taken to ensure wamr clothing and food is carried. For anything more than a short walk, tell someone trustworthy where you are going and when you will return. DOC offices provide this service and are an excellent source of information on the outdoors.
The national bird of New Zealand is the Kiwi, which evolved in a safe environment, without the need to use its wings. With time, his wings became atrophied. Another curious native bird was the Moa, forced to extinction by Maori who hunted it for food. It could measure up to 3.7 mts and weigh 200 kgs, Similar to the ostrich but much more solid.
In 1350, with the arrival of the Maori from the Polynesia, the safe environment faded away. The maori diet included animal meat, so they started hunting kiwis and moas. The main diet was fish and kumara (sweet potato). The arrival of whalers & sealers in the 1820's and 30's brought illnesses that Maori had never had before, and for which they had no natural defenses.
Early trade began with Europeans wanting land and supplies and Maori wanting muskets. Maori then required more musket to defend their lands from other Maori, and this led to the Maori wars, with many deaths. The first European to discover this land was a Dutch man, Abel Tasman, in 1642, who named it Niew Zeeland. His crew were attacked by Maori canoes and they decided not to land. In 1769, the Captain James Cook from the British Royal Marine came to New Zealand, in search of the Great Southern Continent that was thought to exist. He charted the country and some of his superb charts were still in use until the 1980's . In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed , between Maori and British, to preserve the right of the indigenous to protection for the Queen and ensure the peace for future generations. In the Treaty, is established that the natives will retain the ownership of their land until they wished to sell. The Maories thought they would retain the control over New Zeaalnd, however the treaty gave to the British Crown the absolute control of the country. Immediately after signing the treaty, the pression over the maories to sell their land was clear.
Tensions between Europeans and Maories lasted for three decades. Colonists arrived in number from 1850. In the 1860's, gold was discovered and thousands of Chinese arrived to the country to work in the mines in Otago, Hauraki, West Coast and Thames. The gold fever finished in 1870, being replaced by kauri logging (the mighty kauri were native trees, hard wood, ideal for building) and kauri gum, which brought more European immigrants (many Yugoslavians) incentivised by the government. At the same time, the agricultural and livestock industry started to develop. In 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote and in 1907 New Zealand's sovereign parliament was established. During the First and Second World Wars, New Zealand was allied with England. In the First War, 1 out of 3 soldiers were killed or injured. The depression of the 30's also affected New Zealand, but after the war, from 1945, the country started an excellent economic stage, exporting sheep and dairy product to the rest of the world. New Zealand had the best per capita income in the world and its social system was envied by other countries. In 1947 became independent from England In 1953, a kiwi, Edmund Hillary was the first person to reach the summit of Mt Everest. In 1956, rugby became a national sport. In 1995, after winning the America's Cup, the kiwis won international fame for their sailing skills.Today, New Zealand is well known for the natural beauties and its modern, clean cities. In 1998, the world travel guide Travel & Leisure named Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown among the 25 top cities of the world. In 2003 and 2004, the guide Lonely Planet named New Zealand as the top most desired tourist destination in the world. ECONOMY
The most important industries for New Zealand are: tourism, dairy and agriculture products (dairy products, wool and meat), education (Foreign students) and exports of wood and fish. The minimum salary per hour is NZD 15.25 for adults over 18.