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Situated roughly 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two giant land plenty—the North Island and South Island—and almost 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re in search of unique wildlife, world-class eating places, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-stuffed waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all together in a single unforgettable nation.

New Zealand is historically unique in that it was one of many last main land masses 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 first assembly between Māori and Europeans resulted in the demise of four of Tasman’s crew members and no less than one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped nearly everything of the nation’s coastline.

By means of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the world intensified, and beginning within the early 19th century, Christian missionaries started converting much of the prevailing Māori. By the late 19th century, the Māori inhabitants was at forty % of its pre-European contact level, due in large part to European-introduced diseases.

On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was formally formed 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 the Great Despair as well.

In more recent history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori culture and several movements aimed at promoting greater awareness of their traditions.

New Zealand is usually the story of two groups, Māori and Pākehā (European tradition within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are not any exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are various beautiful examples of carvings and weavings, each of which typically have religious and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, panorama paintings and a few Māori portraiture had been common.

One of the vital well known cultural parts of the Māori folks is the haka, a posture dance that entails stamping toes, rhythmic cries and overtly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union group, has carried out 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 latest boon. New Zealand films As soon as Were Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved national and international success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.

On the music front, 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 traveling in New Zealand, preserve some of the following in mind:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Only in rare circumstances can you pay with US dollars here, so always convert into the local currency. Most retailers accept major credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. If you’re going someplace significantly remote, just make sure to stock up on money beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will likely be at the airport and in hotels. Merely withdrawing from an ATM tends to provde the most favorable rate.

TIPPING
While tipping’s not necessary in restaurants, it’s nonetheless widespread, particularly in touristy areas. A 10 % gratuity for particularly wonderful service will all the time be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a pleasant gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. These tips are typically just a few dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s usually a fairly relaxed, open and friendly nation. Westerners won’t come up in opposition Things to do in New Zealand 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. At all times check your US objects to see if they’re suitable with one hundred ten and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand uses two- or three-pin plugs which are angled, so an adapter’s essential as well.

PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Public bathrooms are clear, modern and readily available all through New Zealand. You may expect sinks, running water and toilet paper to be provided.

Maintain 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 mean you can lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes if you wash your hands!

DRINKING WATER
Faucet water’s clear and secure to drink throughout New Zealand. When you’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the identical common sense you'd anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant pools, and produce along your preferred water sterilization technique—just to be safe.

AUCKLAND REGION
Named after the nation’s largest urban center, the Auckland area incorporates everything from metropolitan bars and restaurants to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, where you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.

Auckland: An exquisite city of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss stop for anybody hitting the North Island. Take in the Sky Tower and gorgeous harbor, as well as the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s most expensive cities.)

BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s best identified for its extensive geothermal exercise, nevertheless it’s additionally a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.

Rotorua: Whether or not you’re interested in the geothermal exercise, trout fishing or Maori culture, Rotorua will hold you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of hot swimming pools and geysers.

HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled alongside the eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the surroundings but keep 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 city rebuilt in its now-famous Artwork Deco architectural style. Folks flock here 12 months-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.

WAIKATO REGION
Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, natural harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island region quintessentially Kiwi.
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