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Positioned approximately 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two massive land plenty—the North Island and South Island—and practically 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re in search of unique wildlife, world-class restaurants, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-crammed 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 many last main land plenty 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 primary assembly between Māori and Europeans resulted within the dying of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and at least one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return until 1769, when James Cook mapped virtually the entirety of the nation’s coastline.

Through the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the world intensified, and starting in the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries started changing much of the existing Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori population was at 40 p.c of its pre-European contact level, due in large part to European-introduced 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 each World War I and World War II and suffered via the Nice Melancholy as well.

In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and several other movements aimed at selling larger awareness of their traditions.

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

Some of the widely known cultural parts of the Māori people is the haka, a posture dance that involves stamping toes, rhythmic cries and overtly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union workforce, 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 trade has seen a current boon. New Zealand films As soon as Were Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved 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 damaged into worldwide acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys international success as well.

When touring in New Zealand, hold some of the following in thoughts:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Only in rare circumstances are you able to pay with US dollars right here, so all the time convert into the local currency. Most retailers accept main credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. In the event you’re going somewhere notably remote, just ensure to stock up on money beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will doubtless 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 obligatory in eating places, it’s nonetheless widespread, especially in touristy areas. A ten % gratuity for particularly glorious service will always be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a pleasant gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. These tips tend to be just a few dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s usually a fairly relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners won’t come up in opposition to too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nevertheless, subtle differences 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. Always check your US gadgets to see if they’re compatible with 110 and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand uses two- or three-pin plugs which are angled, so an adapter’s mandatory as well.

PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Public loos are clean, modern and readily available throughout New Zealand. You can expect sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.

Preserve 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 gentle music over a speaker system, they let you lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes if you wash your arms!

DRINKING WATER
Faucet water’s clean and secure to drink throughout New Zealand. If you happen to’re heading out for multiday adventures within the wild, use the identical widespread sense you'd anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and bring along your favorred water sterilization methodology—just to be safe.

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

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

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

Rotorua: Whether you’re interested within the geothermal activity, trout fishing or Maori tradition, Rotorua will keep you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of scorching pools and geysers.

HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled alongside the jap coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery however stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known internationally as the house to many award-profitable reds and whites.

Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient city rebuilt in its now-well-known Art Deco architectural style. Folks flock right here yr-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Art Deco history and heritage.

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