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Situated approximately 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of large land masses—the North Island and South Island—and almost 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re looking for 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 distinctive in that it was one of the last major land masses to be settled by humans. Estimates put the arrival of the primary Māori settlers between 1250 and 1300, and European explorers didn’t arrive till the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The primary assembly between Māori and Europeans resulted in the demise of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and at the least one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return until 1769, when James Cook mapped almost the whole thing of the nation’s coastline.

Through the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the world intensified, and starting within the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries started converting a lot of the present Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori population was at 40 p.c of its pre-European contact stage, 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 each World War I and World War II and suffered by the Nice Despair as well.

In more latest history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori culture and several movements aimed toward promoting higher awareness of their traditions.

New Zealand is often the story of two groups, Māori and Pākehā (European culture within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are not any exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are lots of lovely examples of carvings and weavings, each of which typically have non secular and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and a few Māori portraiture have been common.

One of the vital widely recognized cultural elements of the Māori individuals is the haka, a posture dance that entails stamping ft, rhythmic cries and openly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union staff, has carried out this ritual earlier than matches since 1905.

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

When traveling in New Zealand, keep among the following in mind:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s foreign money 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 main credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. If you’re going somewhere particularly distant, just make sure that to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging cash, the worst rates will likely be on the airport and in hotels. Simply withdrawing from an ATM tends to provde the most favorable rate.

TIPPING
While tipping’s not necessary in eating places, it’s nonetheless common, particularly in touristy areas. A ten % gratuity for notably excellent service will at all times be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a nice gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. The following tips are typically a few dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s usually a quite relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners received’t come up against too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, however, 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. At all times check your US objects to see if they’re suitable with one hundred ten and 220. If not, you’ll need a converter. New Zealand makes use of - or three-pin plugs which might be angled, so an adapter’s crucial as well.

PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Public loos are clean, fashionable and readily available all through New Zealand. You possibly can count on sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.

Keep 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 gentle music over a speaker system, they assist you to lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes when you wash your arms!

DRINKING WATER
Faucet water’s clear and protected to drink all through New Zealand. When you’re heading out for multiday adventures within the wild, use the identical frequent sense you would anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and produce alongside your desirered water sterilization technique—just to be safe.

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

Auckland: A stupendous 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 beautiful harbor, as well because the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s most costly cities.)

BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s Best beaches in New Zealand recognized for its intensive geothermal exercise, nevertheless it’s also a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.

Rotorua: Whether you’re interested within 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 eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the surroundings however stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known 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 Art Deco architectural style. People flock here 12 months-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Art Deco history and heritage.

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