Population: 5 million
Location: South Pacific
Size: 268,000 square kilometres
Currency: NZ dollar
Official languages: Maori, English, NZ Sign Language
New Zealand is an island nation consisting of 3 main islands, the North Island, the South Island and Stewart Island. The nearest neighbour to New Zealand is Australia which is 4155 kms to the south east. It takes approximately 23 hours flight time from Europe to Auckland, the largest city. The country is 10-12 hours ahead of Central European Time.
New Zealand’s indigenous people are the Maori. They arrived by waka,(canoe) between 1200 and 1300 AD from Eastern Polynesia. The first European to sight New Zealand was Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in1642 but he did not set foot on New Zealand soil. Captain James Cook from England landed in 1769 and mapped the country. Some historians suggest that Spanish or Portuguese sailors may have reached New Zealand before Abel Tasman. Early settlers arrived from the UK in the 1800’s. In 1840 one of the country’s founding legal documents was signed by representatives of the Queen of England and most Maori tribes when Britain claimed New Zealand as a colony. The Treaty ofWaitangi guarantees rights of both Maori and Pakeha (non Maori New Zealanders). Today, New Zealand society is very multicultural comprising 16.5% Maori, 8% Pacific Island and 15% Asian which reflects New Zealand’s position in the Asia-Pacific region.
New Zealand’s economy is based on agriculture and tourism. Tourists are drawn to New Zealand because of its beautiful and varied landscape. There are mountains and native bush, rivers, lakes and glaciers and many small islands and beaches. You can visit many vineyards, volcanic craters or geothermal wonders such as geysers and boiling mud. Did you know that the city of Auckland has 53 volcanic centres? The kiwi bird has become the national symbol and New Zealanders are called ‘kiwis’ too. You can also see whales, dolphins and penguins. Popular sports in New Zealand include yachting and rugby. The All Blacks are the internationally renowned New Zealand Rugby team.
Some famous New Zealanders include Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first man along with his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, to climb Mt Everest. Earnest Rutherford was the first person to split the atom and Jean Batton set a women’s record in her solo flights around the world. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, is a renowned opera singer and Sir Peter Jackson produced the Lord of the Rings films. I am most proud of the fact that New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in 1893.
New Zealand is a long journey from the Netherlands but well worth it when you arrive. I hope you have the pleasure of visiting one day.
These healthy oat biscuits were sent to New Zealand and Australian soldiers during World War 1.
This recipe is from the Edmond’s Cookery Book which is New Zealand’s cooking ‘bible’.
1/2 cup plain flour
50 grams butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2/3 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons boiling water
Mix together flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats.
Melt butter and golden syrup.
Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup.
Stir butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
Place level tablespoonfuls of mixture onto a greased tray.
Bake at 180ºC for about 15 minutes to until golden.