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Situated roughly 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of massive land plenty—the North Island and South Island—and nearly 600 smaller islands. Whether you’re in search of unique wildlife, world-class eating places, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-filled waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all collectively in a single unforgettable nation.

New Zealand is historically unique in that it was one of the 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 until the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The first meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted within the death of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and a minimum of one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return until 1769, when James Cook mapped almost the entirety of the nation’s coastline.

Via the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the area intensified, and beginning within the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries began converting a lot of the present Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori inhabitants was at forty % of its pre-European contact level, due in large part to European-launched diseases.

On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was officially 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 Depression as well.

In more recent history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and several movements geared toward promoting better awareness of their traditions.

New Zealand is usually the story of groups, Māori and Pākehā (European tradition within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are no exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are a lot of lovely examples of carvings and weavings, both of which usually have non secular and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and some Māori portraiture had been common.

One of the widely recognized cultural elements of the Māori people is the haka, a posture dance that involves stamping ft, rhythmic cries and openly exposed tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union team, has performed this ritual earlier than matches since 1905.

While there has historically been little international curiosity in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film industry has seen a current boon. New Zealand films As soon as Had been Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all enjoyed nationwide 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 broken into worldwide acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys worldwide success as well.

When traveling in New Zealand, maintain some of the following in thoughts:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in uncommon circumstances are you able to pay with US dollars right here, so all the time convert into the local currency. Most retailers settle for major credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. If you’re going someplace particularly distant, just be sure that to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will possible be at the airport and in hotels. Merely withdrawing from an ATM tends to give you the most favorable rate.

TIPPING
While tipping’s not mandatory in restaurants, it’s still frequent, particularly in touristy areas. A ten percent gratuity for notably wonderful service will always be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a pleasant gesture to tip anybody carrying your bags or cleaning your room. The following tips are typically a few dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s generally a quite relaxed, open and friendly nation. Westerners gained’t come up against too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nonetheless, subtle variations between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for example, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.

ELECTRIC CURRENT
New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. All the time check your US items Things to do in New Zealand see if they’re appropriate 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 clean, fashionable and readily available all through New Zealand. You possibly can expect sinks, running water and toilet paper to be provided.

Hold a particular eye out for "Exeloo" toilets. These high-tech restrooms indicate 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 bathroom automatically flushes while you wash your hands!

DRINKING WATER
Tap water’s clean and protected to drink all through New Zealand. In case you’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the identical frequent sense you would anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and bring alongside your wantred water sterilization method—just to be safe.

AUCKLAND REGION
Named after the nation’s largest city heart, the Auckland region contains everything from metropolitan bars and restaurants to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, the place you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.

Auckland: A phenomenal metropolis of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss stop for anyone hitting the North Island. Take in the Sky Tower and gorgeous harbor, as well because the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of the world’s most costly cities.)

BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Situated within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this area’s greatest recognized for its in depth geothermal activity, but 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 tradition, Rotorua will preserve you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of hot pools and geysers.

HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled along the japanese coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery however keep for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is understood internationally as the house 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. People flock right here yr-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.

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