Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Zealand Tourisum

New Zealand was discovered and settled more than a thousand years ago by the Maori people, who traveled across the sea from Polynesia in the South Pacific. Among the first European visitors were Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642 and the English explorer James Cook who charted the country’s shoreline in 1769.

In 1840, Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown, accepting British governance in return for a series of guarantees relating to ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and treasures ( items of spiritual and cultural significance) The treaty of Waitangi guarantees Maori a unique place in New Zealand. Organised European settlement accelerated after the signing of the Treaty, at a time when a prosperous Maori economy existed which included trade with Australia. Increased demand to develop land for farms and settlements resulted in armed conflict between some Maori tribes and British troops. Today the New Zealand Government is committed  to reaching fair and durable settlement with Maori, to compensate for confiscations of land arising from the conflict and breaches of the Treaty proven to have occurred in the past.
The discovery of gold in the South Island brought a temporary economic boom during the middle of the century. But it was the expansion of pastoral farming that was the real basis of the  nation’s growth, particularly after the first shipment of frozen  meat   to Britain in 1882.

Pioneering social progress accompanied New Zealand’s growth as a nation. In 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Old-age pensions were introduced in 1898. During World War I  New Zealand troops fought on the side of the British in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East-at great cost. One man in three between the ages of 20 and 40 was kill or wounded.

New Zealand forces fought in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific during World War II. At the end of the war, New Zealand became a founder member of the United Nations. From the late 1940s to the 1970s New Zealanders enjoyed increasing economic prosperity based largely on agriculture. Growth has slowed in recent decade. However, science 1984, successive governments have implemented far-reaching economic reforms intended to make the county more productive and internationally competitive.

New Zealand is located in the South-west Pacific Ocean, midway between the Equator and the South Pole and approximately 1,600 kilometers east of Australia. Nearest countries to the north are New Caledoinia, Fiji  and Tonga, about the same distance away as Australia.

New Zealand is similar in size to Japan, Britain and Italy. There are two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. They are separated  by Cook Strait, which is 20  kilometers across at its narrowest  point. The northern and southern extremities of the country are 1,600 kilometers apart. No point on either island is more than 120 kilometers from the coast.

New Zealand’s landscape is notable for its variety and, in particular, its mountainous nature. The spectacular Southern Alps of the South Island rise to permanent snowfields and contain numerous glaciers. They include 19 peaks exceeding 3,000 meters in height. The North Island’s highest peaks are of a volcanic nature. A Chain of active volcanoes is located in the centre of the island amid hot springs, geysers and boiling mud pools.

Both islands contain fertile lowland areas of pastoral land, large natural and man-made forests, many sandy beaches and short, swift-flowing rivers. Lakes are numerous in both islands. The larger North island lakes are situated on the volcanic central plateau while the major South island lakes have glacial origins and are set amid beautiful mountain scenery. In the far south-west of the South Island the Southern Alps meet the ocean in  a series of dramatic fiords.

New Zealand’s population is approximately 3.8 million. New Zealanders of European and Polynesian origin are most numerous, however a wide variety of races are represented. The indigenous Maori population is around 520,000 but there is significant intermarriage with other races. Nearly three-quarters of the population live in the North Island. Eighty five percent live in cities and towns. New Zealand’s largest Cities are Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

English is the common language of business and everyday usage. Maori is New Zealand’s second official language. It is recognized by Parliament and the courts and continues to grow in significance.
The Maori people traveled from Polynesia to New Zealand more than a thousand years ago. Maori are a tribal people, with 79 traditional tribal locations throughout the country. Their way of life is based on cooperation, loyalty and respect, and is centred on the marae, an area of land with a meeting house adorned with stylized carvings of tribal ancestors. Maori maintain a deep spiritual attachment to their land and related customs. 

          A resurgence of awareness and pride in that heritage has taken  place  in recent years, as significant effort has been made to preserve the language and  culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people. Much that is unique to New Zealand is derived from Maori culture.
          One such unique aspect of Maori culture is the action song, used to  express many Maori traditions and beliefs. Most famous of these is the haka, a traditional war song performed by Maori men and used by New Zealand’s internationally renowned rugby team, the All Blacks.

          Living standards in New Zealand are generally high. Three-quarters of New Zealanders own their own home, and most households possess a motor car, colour television, telephone, refrigerator and washing machine. Few countries can match New Zealand for quality of life. The is fresh, the water is clean, fresh food is plentiful and even the large cities are relatively safe places to live, work and play. Opportunities in business and leisure abound, a fact reflected by the number of New Zealanders who excel in many fields on the world stage.

 Cultural Activities
          Although geographically isolated, New Zealanders enjoy a wide range of  cultural activities and events. The performing arts, cinema, writing, and the visual arts attract large numbers of participants and patrons. Many New Zealand artists achieve international recognition and success. Opera stars Dame Kiri te Kanawa and Dame Malvina Major, film-makers jane Campion and Peter Jackson and actor Sam Neill are examples.

          Leading  stage shows and acts from overseas now place New Zealand on their touring calendar as enthusiastic support is virtually guaranteed. Wellington hosts a festival of the arts every two years.

          Festivals celebrating the cultures of Maori and Pacific Island people abound. Story-telling through songs, dance and action is fundamental to these cultural and events such as the annual Aotearoa Maori Performing Arts Festival are spectacles enjoyed by thousands.

          New Zealand is an independent parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth. The formal head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of   New Zealand, who is represented  in New Zealand by the Government-General.

          Parliament is elected every three years by Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP)– a voting system introduced in 1993 as a result of two referenda. All New Zealanders over the age of 18 have the right to vote. There are 120 Members of Parliament, some of whom represent a geographical electorate, while others enter Parliament as a party representative. The first Parliament elected under MMP saw  a significant increase in the representation of Maori, ethnic minorities and women. Of the  120 MPs in the current Parliament, 37 are women, 16 are Maori, four are Pacific Islanders and one is Chinese-born.

          The Prime Minister is the head of government, supported by a Cabinet of Ministers chosen from the elected Members of Parliament. Government  policy is implemented by 38 public service departments. Parliament sits in Wellington, the capital  city of New Zealand.

          Local Government bodies, in the form of regional councils, territorial authorities, community boards and  special authorities, manager public utilities, service and resources in their area. They are funded largely by rates, a local tax on landed property.

          New Zealand has a world-wide reputation as an efficient and innovative producer of agricultural products. Almost half of the nation’s export earnings are derived from farming.
          Research and technology have played an important role in establishing that reputation. Modern machinery and efficient soil, pasture and stock management have  enabled full advantage to be taken of the temperate climate and extensive fertile pasture lands. Nine Million cattle and 45 million sheep graze those lands, producing high quality meat and wool.

          Horticulture also contributes significantly of  the economy. New Zealand apples and kiwifruit are exported worldwide. Many vineyards produce wines of high quality. New Zealand white wines have won awards in several countries, some mineral resources, chiefly natural gas, oil and coal, which provide domestic and industrial fuel. The most plentiful resources are the land, forests, rivers and the sea. These are the basis of New Zealand’s key industries. Other resource- based industries include forestry and forest products, fisheries, tanneries, cement works, fertilizer factories and glassworks. Heavy industries include a steel works, aluminum smelter and oil refinery.

          New Zealand is an active trading nation. The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of wool, and accounts for a quarter of the world’s international dairy trade ( notable Butter, cheese and milk powder). Other  major exports are Mutton, Beef, Fish, Timber and Timber products and Horticultural produce. Major imported goods include oil and  oil products, sugar, clothing and electronic goods.

          The tourism industry is now New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earner. The country’s natural assets, made accessible by a National Parks system, are the main attraction for the 1.5 million  tourists arriving each year. This number is growing at twice the world average.
          New Zealand is able to satisfy a growing worldwide demand for “Adventure” Tourism, with white-water rafting, jet boating, whale-watching, bungy-jumping and cross-country skiing facilities within easy reach of major towns and cities.

          Immigration from smaller South Pacific islands such as Samoa and Tonga has been significant in recent years. Non-Maori Polynesians and Melanesian now account for approximately five percent of the population. In addition, recent immigration from South East Asian nations is significantly increasing the ethnic diversity of the county.

          The New Zealand Immigration Service considers applications for New Zealand residence under five main categories: General Skills, Investor, Family, Entrepreneur and Humanitarian. Successful applicants under the General Skills and Investor categories are those who have the skills and experience to make a positive contribution and long-terms commitment to New Zealand.

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