Welcome to the online New Zealand Information Guide.
Our mission is to provide snippets of information on NZ that is factual and down-right interesting.
This will be an ongoing project, so make sure you bookmark, as their will be continuous updates, that we hope to achieve on a near daily basis.
For those who don't know, New Zealand is only a baby in the geological heirachy.
Only about 5,000,000 years ago it was forced up by a buckling of the earths crust, which started approx, 20,000,000 years before and still continues today.
It was part of the supercontinent that scientists have called Gondwanaland.
In faraway lands, civilisations grew, changed and sometimes faded, but the Pacific's vast expanses protected these mountainous islands from human contact until about the eigth century AD.
The distance from these great continents mean't that New Zealand's 27 million hectares were the worlds last major area of useful land still uninhabited when the first Polynesians arrived.
Geologically, NZ has little in comment with its nearest neighbor, the aged, long-stable island continent of Australia.
New Zealand's rocks are relatively young. The oldest began as oceanic sediment and contain the fossils of extinct sea creatures that flourished 550,000,000 years ago.
New Zealands soils are young too. In many places they are only a generation away from parent materials, such as weathered sandstone - greywacke - alluvium, volcanic ash or windblown sand.
Mineral deficiencies, notably of cobalt, have had to be remedied before these soils could become productive.
Where forests of native species like kauri, totara, rimu, kamahi and beeches have been cleared to enable farming, soils have become leeched and acid, requiring replacement of their natural nutrients with chemical fertilisers.
Earthquakes are common in NZ, though to call these the 'Shaky Isles' is scarcely fair. Major quakes are not nearly as frequent as they are in Japan or in many other countries on the Pacfic rim.
Lying between 33 and 53 degrees south, the sixteen hundred kilometre length of NZ falls entirely within the temperate zone, just south of the sub-tropical high pressure belt.
For the most part, the climate is maritime, mild and equable with abundant sunshine, high rainfall and few extremes of heat and cold.
As might be expected in a country rich in mountain ranges, there is much regional variation.
February, March and early April are the most attractive months for travellers, although an erratic summer can begin in October in many places.
Over eighty percent of the countries native flowering plants are peculiar to here and so are all twenty species of conifers, which include kauri and rimu, although some have relatives in South-East Asia, South America and Australia.
Some trees and palms, such as the nikau, are a reminder of New Zealands Gondwanaland connections when it lay in sub-tropical regions, but its eighty million year old isolation has provided NZ with a remarkably unique pattern of wildlife.
Bats are the only native mammals and other land vertebrates are frogs, lizards and the tuatara. The lizard like tuatara, often called a living fossil, is the worlds most ancient reptile.
Its pedigree can be traced back further than the dinosaur. Introduced rats and dogs (by the Maori) exterminated them on the mainland and it now only survives on offshore islands.
The majority of New Zealands birds are seabirds, waders or freshwater birds, many of them long-distance migrants.
Birds are NZ's most colourful native inhabitants. Most of the country's remarkable range of flightless birds appears to have developed in the absence of competition from mammals.
When the first
set foot on New Zealand shores over a thousand years ago, the richly forested islands supported a plentiful and distinctive birdlife, ranging from the giant moas to the tiny riflemen.
Though the moa has long since disappeared.
Pre-European Maori life has been much romanticised, first as a Never-Never land by sentimental Europeans and more recently as an innocent Disneyland by Maori radicals.
Examination of human remains suggests that old New Zealand was far from being a Pacific idyll.
Life was brief, anguished and brutal as that of stone-age men anywhere. The few who lived beyond thirty were prematurely aged, frail and plagued by all the common illnesses.
Worse, they were always in fear of violent death. Their struggle for existence and short lives shaped their vivid art.
On the face of it New Zealand should have been a paradise, but the human race has always managed to foul its own nest and find excuses to slay or enslave.
The following video has some great images of natural New Zealand.
This following video is of some New Zealand birds in their natural habitats..
No New Zealand website is complete without showing the All Blacks rugby team performing their famous haka...This is the new version which is proving controversial, because of the cutting throat action scaring the opposition.
However it obviously didn't scare the French in the Rugby World Cup playoffs. Many Kiwi's spiralled into deep depression, when the French team pulled off the unexpected and beat the mighty All Blacks, sending them packing for home.
Is the world heating up?...For the first time in living memory, a gigantic iceberg was seen floating past New Zealand from Dunedin in the South Island. Droves of tourists travelled by helicopter to view this unusual attraction.
The New Zealand Cencus
Last years Cencus revealed that of all the major ethnic groups in NZ, The Asian population grew the fastest between 2001 and 2006, increasing from 238,176 to 354,552.
Thats 9.2% of the population and more than the Pacific Island population who number 265,974. Europeans remained the largest ethnic group, with 2,609,592 (67.6 %). Maori were the second largest, with 565,329 (14.6%).
Nearly 23% of us were born overseas - with Britain the most common foreign birthplace, followed by China. Just over 2 million say they are Christian - but 1.3 million New Zealanders say have no religion, up by 269,000 from the 2001 Cencus.
17.5% speak two or more languages and 6057 speak our three official tongues - English, Maori ans sign language.