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The Diverse Culture of New Zealand

The diverse culture of New Zealand is steeped in the history and culture of the indigenous Maori. Legend has it that, more than 1000 years ago, the Maori came to New Zealand from Hawaiki, their ancestrial home, in open boats similar to the traditional crafts that some still use.

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Two main islands and several small islands off the southwest coast of Australia is the isolated island country of New Zealand. Across the Tasman Sea lies Australia and Tonga and Fiji are to the north. New Zealand occupies an area of 268670 square kilometers. The area is a bit less landmass than is occupied by Japan and slightly more than the UK. New Zealand has substantial marine resources and is the fifth largest EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) on the Earth. This means New Zealand can lay claim to more than over four million square kilometers, more than fifteen times it's landmass, for their exclusive exploration and use of marine resources.

New Zealands temperate climate means that temperatures seldom go higher than 30C (86F) or drop lower 0C (32F). Wet, cold, and mountainous; South Island is the largest of the two islands and the Southern Alps, running length wise through the island, divides the east side of the island from the west side. In contrast, North Island is dry, continental and pocked by volcanoes. An active volcano, Mount Ruapehu, is the highest mountain on North Island at 9,176 feet. The popularity of the island landscape soared in popularity after the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot there.

New Zealand has total population of over four million people with the Maori making up the largest minority. Other significant minority populations are composed of Asians and Polynesians (non-Maori), most visibly in urban areas. Although Elizabeth II is a figurehead, she holds the title of the Queen of New Zealand. The office of New Zealands Prime Minister holds the true political power in the elected Parliament.

The government has been remodeling the economy ever since 1984 so that it is more of an industrialized free market and far less dependent on the British market. In order for that model to work, there must be significant agricultural exports. Leading in this area are meat/dairy/forest products, vegetables and fruit, wool, and fish.

Many other cultures have had a significant influence on the culture in New Zealand. The heaviest influences come from the Irish, British and Maori. Polynesians gravitated to this landmass in 1000AD and established the indigenous population of Maori. Scottish settlers have had an impact on the culture of New Zealand, to the extent that New Zealand now has more bagpipe bands than Scotland does.

The Kiwi is the national bird of the country and has been adopted as a nickname for New Zealanders. It is also often used as an adjective when referring to their culture.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 04/25/2017






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