What Is New Zealand?

It’s been a while since I’ve done this.  A month, in fact.  But I will now continue to go through the top ten countries that visited my blog last year.  In 7th place is a small country with a small population, but it still ranked quite high.  With 147 views in 2014, that makes it only 0.78% of the total.  So, if you are one of those people, I need your help.  If you live in New Zealand, are a New Zealander, or have visited, please give me your opinions.

320px-Flag_of_New_Zealand.svgNew Zealand

New Zealand isn’t a very big country.  With a size of 268,021 square kilometres, it’s the world’s 75th largest country.  It has a population of 4,509,900, making it 123rd in the world.  The capital is Wellington, while the largest city is Auckland with a population of 1,413,700 (1,527,100 metro). The official languages are English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language, though English is spoken by nearly everyone.  New Zealand was given self-governance from the UK on January 17, 1853, but it wasn’t until September 26, 1907 that it was independent.  The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently John Key.  The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, as New Zealand is a member of the British Commonwealth.  The government type is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

New Zealand is a country of great natural beauty, unique wildlife, and is quite isolated.  The culture is influenced by both the UK and Australia, though there is also the native Maori culture.  So, I need your help.  If you are from New Zealand, have lived in New Zealand, or have visited New Zealand, please answer these questions:

  1. What places would you say are the best to visit?
  2. What would you say is the truly New Zealander food?
  3. What is a truly New Zealand activity, sport, or pastime?
  4. For the readers out there, who is/was the greatest (or your favourite) New Zealander author?

Thank you very much! Please share this post so we can get as many answers as possible.  It’s much appreciated.

8 thoughts on “What Is New Zealand?”

  1. I think while we are influenced by Australia and England, we are also very influenced by America. A lot of words we use for simple things like elevator instead of lift, or pants instead of trousers etc. That we would hear on american television. 1.The best place to visit in New Zealand, I would say would be the West Coast of the South Island (maybe because that’s where I am from and i’m bias) but we have the glaciers, hokitika gorge, punakaiki and lake brunner to name a few beautiful places that the west coast has to offer. Also Nelson is beautiful which is at the top of the south island, with its warm weather and beautiful sandy beaches. 2. The truly kiwi would would be the Pavlova, although australians always try to claim that has theirs. 3. I don’t know about indian, but a New Zealand sport would definitely be rugby or cricket. 4. As I child I
    always enjoyed the stories of margaret mahy, who is a beautiful children’s NZ author.

    1. Thanks for the answers! And thanks for pointing out question 3’s mistake. I copied and pasted from the India post, and forgot to replace that one instance with New Zealand. Fixed now.

      The west coast must be amazing. I love that kind of scenery.

      1. It is very beautiful, I’m finally going home after 4 years abroad at the end of the next month, and bringing my italian soon to be husband with me, so I’m excited to do all the touristy stuff again, plus some of it I haven’t done, because I guess when you live in a country or come from one, it is quite rare to act the tourist.

        1. It’s nice to be a tourist in your hometown. I’ll be going back to Canada with my family and showing them around a lot. I’ll get to be a tourist, too.

  2. I’m a New Zealander – Kiwis, we usually call ourselves, after the national bird (‘Apteryx’, a flightless species of ratite). All of us speak English. The influences on our culture have changed over the years; in the nineteenth century we were originally a sub-colony of Australia, and later became part of a Pacific Rim colonial culture with a big US infusion – including US spellings. That changed in the 1880s and beyond when we renewed a love-affair with Britain, something that lasted a century or so. Today the US influence is back, big time. We’re not particularly influenced by Australia, though that’s has had a very similar mix of influences.

    Our independence from Britain was quite a complex matter. The Constitution Act 1852 required the Governor to set up proper government – this was extremely important. Some countries became democracies by struggle. New Zealand was MADE that way. We declined an invitation to join the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900-01. The switch to Dominion status in September 1907 didn’t give us independence – we were ‘self-governing’ within the umbrella of Empire, but didn’t have a foreign policy independent of Britain, for instance. Full sovereignty didn’t happen until 1947 when the government passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act. Even then, Britain’s residual legislative power wasn’t finally abolished until 1987. Quite a tortuous story which is entwined with our steady switch from ‘colony’ to ‘nation’, a major theme of twentieth century history here.

    “1. What places would you say are the best to visit?”
    The South Island has some awesome scenery – West Coast definitely, also Otago and the Queenstown lakes district. But there are some fabulous places in the North Island, too, such as the Central Plateau with its thermal region. And my home town, Napier, the ‘art deco capital of the world’.

    “2. What would you say is the truly New Zealand food?”
    Pavlova, an egg-white meringue with cream and fruit topping, invented in Timaru. Roast lamb was always a traditional food. Today there’s a huge fast-food infusion from the US franchises.

    “3. What is a truly New Zealand activity, sport, or pastime?”
    Rugby. Also rugby. And sometimes there’s rugby. Cricket’s pretty important too. We make racing yachts. It’s curious but true that virtually every Olympic medal we get is won by people who have to sit down to do it – rowing, cycling, etc…

    “4. For the readers out there, who is/was the greatest (or your favourite) New Zealander author?”
    As an author myself I know quite a few people in the writing community. NZ has produced so many great authors it’s hard to choose!

    1. I wasn’t really sure what to say about New Zealand’s independence. Thanks for clarifying that. Seems somewhat complex. Canada was officially independent in 1867, though it didn’t actually have a constitution until 1982. Unbelievable, huh?

      Thanks for your very informative answers!

      1. We could have been more independent earlier – Britain offered it – but the issue was tangled up with NZ’s self-image of us being “more British than Britain” and “the best of Britain’s children”. Socially, we didn’t shed that mind-set until it was forced upon us by the British entry into the EEC in the 1970s, and even then it wasn’t really until the late 1990s that NZ began seeing itself as a small nation on the world stage, rather than a part of a wider British world (one that had long gone by then, of course). It’s these sorts of adventures that make history so fascinating!

        1. Wow, I had no idea New Zealand resisted independence so much. Canada wanted it and got it in 1867. The main thing was that the Queen or King still had power to take control if Canada desired that. Even in World War I, the Canadian military was basically a part of the British military, though operated separately in WWII.

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