Portal:New Zealand
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Portal:New Zealand

The New Zealand Portal

Location of New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand

New Zealand (M?ori: Aotearoa [a?'t?aa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses--the North Island (Te Ika-a-M?ui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)--and around 600 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.

Owing to their remoteness, the islands of New Zealand were the last large habitable lands to be settled by humans. Between about 1280 and 1350, Polynesians began to settle in the islands, and then developed a distinctive M?ori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and M?ori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion; it gained full statutory independence in 1947 and the British monarch remained the head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5 million is of European descent; the indigenous M?ori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from M?ori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, M?ori, and New Zealand Sign Language, with English being very dominant.

A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently Jacinda Ardern. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.

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Barrhill 031.JPG

Barrhill is a lightly populated locality in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. It is situated on the Canterbury Plains, on the right bank of the Rakaia River, about 17 kilometres (11 mi) inland from Rakaia. It was founded by Cathcart Wason in the mid-1870s and named by him after his old home Barrhill in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Wason set it up as a model village for the workers of his large sheep farm. The population of the village peaked in the mid-1880s before the general recession initiated a downturn for the village. Wason had expected for the Methven Branch railway to run past Barrhill, but the line was built in 1880 on an alignment many miles away, which caused Barrhill population to decrease.

Three of the original buildings of Barrhill plus the gatehouse at Wason's homestead were constructed of concrete, and they still exist to this day. One of those buildings, St John's Church, is registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category II heritage building, and the gatehouse is a museum that is open on request. Today, few buildings exist in the village, but the formal layout of avenues still exists, giving the setting a charming appearance. Read more...

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...that the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame was inaugurated as part of the New Zealand sesquicentenary celebrations in 1990?

...that the Melbourne, Australia, suburb of Seddon was named after New Zealand premier Richard Seddon?

... that the political policies of the McGillicuddy Serious Party including replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with Bonnie Prince Geoffie the Reluctant?

...that the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, which came into force on 1 January 2006, eliminates 90% of all tariffs between New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile?


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Aoraki Mount Cook.JPG
Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, and 37th most prominent peak in the world, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki/Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west.

Aoraki means "Cloud Piercer" in the Ng?i Tahu dialect of the M?ori language. Historically, the M?ori name has been spelt Aorangi in the "canonical" M?ori form. While the mountain was known to M?ori centuries before, the first European known to see Aoraki/Mount Cook was Abel Tasman, on December 13, 1642 during his first Pacific voyage. The English name of Mount Cook was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes to honour Captain James Cook who first surveyed and circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand in 1770. Captain Cook did not sight the mountain during his exploration. Following the settlement between Ng?i Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its historic M?ori name, Aoraki. Under the settlement the Crown agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Ng?i Tahu, who then formally gifted it back to the nation.

The first ascent was on 25 December 1894, when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James (Jack) Clarke and George Graham successfully reached the summit via the Hooker Valley and the north ridge. Ed Hillary made his first ascent in January 1947. In February 1948 with Ruth Adams, Harry Ayres and Mick Sullivan, Hillary made the first ascent of the South Ridge to the Low Peak.

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Sunset at Te Henga (Bethells Beach), West of Auckland, New Zealand.

Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is a coastal community located in the north of the North Island, New Zealand. The M?ori name Te Henga, meaning sand, originally applied to a wide area of the lower Waitakere River valley, but in 1976 the New Zealand Geographic Board changed the name of the beach from Bethells Beach to Te Henga (Bethells Beach).

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