Key facts about New Zealand . . .
New Zealand has a total population of over 4.5 million people. Over a third of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland – a city of more than 1.3 million people. Our capital, Wellington city, is home to around 365,000 people. Christchurch is our second largest city. It’s often referred to as the gateway to the South Island. Currentlyover 99,000 international students are living and studying in New Zealand.
The ancestors of the Maori were a Polynesian people originating from South East Asia. The exact date of settlement of the islands of New Zealand is unknown but some say between 950 – 1150.
In December 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted a new land which he described as mountainous and covered in cloud in the south, but more barren in the north. He had discovered New Zealand. The islands were named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
6th February 1840 – The Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This is New Zealand’s founding document. It was signed in Waitangi, Bay of Islands. The 6th February is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement in Maori and English between the British Crown and about 540 Maori Chiefs. In the agreement Maori ceded the Sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain. Maori gave the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wished to sell and in return were guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and possessions. Maori were in return given the rights and privileges of British subjects.
New Zealand has many different aspects that make our country special and unique. The scenery, the friendly people, our exports of dairy products and fruit . . . However, our national icons are quite special. The Kiwi, the Silver Fern and the Sheep.
New Zealanders – or ‘Kiwis’ – are famous for their warm hospitality. We’re friendly, welcoming, enjoy meeting people from other cultures and love sharing food and conversation. In daily life, we are relatively informal. First names are used, even in business.
New Zealand’s multi-cultural society is a result of migration from many parts of the world, beginning over 1,000 years ago with the arrival of the Maori. The British began to colonise New Zealand from the mid-19th century.
New Zealanders today come from many ethnic backgrounds, including European, Pacific Island, Asian and African. Multi-cultural influences are very much part of our fashion, art and music.
Maori are known as ‘tangata whenua’ or ‘people of the land’. In 2006, 1 in 7 New Zealanders identified as Maori. A resurgence of Maori culture and language in recent times has resulted in a new sense of national identity based on the idea of biculturalism – joint responsibility for achieving the ideals of the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed in 1840.
New Zealand people in short are relaxed but hard working. The majority tend to enjoy the outdoors. New Zealand women are strong and independent. New Zealand is well renowned for its gender equality. Teenagers are given responsibilities at a young age and in most cases are expected to work part time in order to pay for university fees.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
New Zealand has very changeable weather and has been said to have ‘four seasons in one day’. The climate ranges from warm to hot summers to cold crisp winters. Temperatures range from:
November to April is warm to hot (Max. 18 – 30 degrees C)
May to October is cool to cold and often windy and wet (Max. 7 – 18 degrees C)
New Zealanders love the outdoors. The mild climate means outdoor recreation is an important part of the Kiwi way of life. We spend our hot summers and mild winters exploring beautiful national parks, beaches and rivers. You can go kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, abseiling, parachute jumping, swimming with dolphins, caving, and, of course, bungy jumping.
In summer, people are encouraged to ‘slip, slop, slap’ – slip on a long-sleeved shirt, slop on some sunblock, and slap on a hat – to protect them from cancer-causing sunburn. It’s easy to get sunburnt here, even on cool or cloudy days, as the sun in New Zealand has strong UV rays.
New Zealanders’ national sport is rugby – many play it and just about everybody enjoys watching it. Other popular sports include cricket, cycling, hockey, soccer, netball, horse riding, tennis, touch rugby, golf, basketball, badminton, bowls, yachting, volleyball, squash, cycling, mountain biking, trail biking, motor racing, skiing, shooting, rowing, fishing, swimming and aerobics. All sorts of watersports are enjoyed in our famously clean rivers, harbours and lakes.
2019 school term dates for New Zealand primary, intermediate and secondary schools.
- Starts between Monday 28 January and Thursday 7 February
- Ends Friday 12 April
- Starts Monday 29 April
- Ends Friday 5 July
- Starts Monday 22 July
- Ends Friday 27 September
- Starts Monday 14 October
- Ends no later than Friday 20 December for primary and intermediate schools
- Ends no later than Friday 13 December for secondary and composite schools.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2019
- New Year’s Day — Tuesday 1 January
- Day after New Year’s Day — Wednesday 2 January
- Waitangi Day — Wednesday 6 February
- Good Friday — Friday 19 April
- Easter Monday — Monday 22 April
- ANZAC Day — Thursday 25 April
- Queen’s Birthday — Monday 3 June
- Labour Day — Monday 28 October
- Christmas Day — Wednesday 25 December
- Boxing Day — Thursday 26 December
2020 school term dates for New Zealand primary, intermediate and secondary schools.
- starts between Monday 27 January and Friday 7 February
- ends Thursday 9 April
- starts Tuesday 28 April
- ends Friday 3 July
- starts Monday 20 July
- ends Friday 25 September
- starts Monday 12 October
- ends no later than Friday 18 December for primary and intermediate schools
- ends no later than Wednesday 16 December for secondary and composite schools.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2020
- New Year’s Day — Wednesday 1 January
- Day after New Year’s Day — Thursday 2 January
- Waitangi Day — Thursday 6 February
- Good Friday — Friday 10 April
- Easter Monday — Monday 13 April
- ANZAC Day — Saturday 25 April or Monday 27 April
- Queen’s Birthday — Monday 1 June
- Labour Day — Monday 26 October
- Christmas Day — Friday 25 December
- Boxing Day — Saturday 26 December or Monday 28 December