New Zealand in Brief
New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific, just west of the International Date Line. It is approximately 1,600km (1,000 miles) Southeast of Australia, 9,000km (5,600 miles) from Singapore and 11,000km (6,800 miles) Southwest of San Francisco. The two major islands of New Zealand, the North and South Islands, are separated by a narrow sea channel known as the Cook Strait. The total area of the country combined is approximately 268,000km2 (105,000 sq. miles).
New Zealand has a wide variety of spectacular scenery in a comparatively compact area - snow capped mountains, deep lakes, some temperate rain forests, glow-worm caves, glaciers and snow fields, volcanoes and thermal geysers.
The coastline is long and has many beautiful beaches. The coastline is long and has many beautiful beaches. Mountains cover a large part of the South Island and Central North Island. There are 19 peaks over 3,000m (9,800ft) above sea level, the highest being Mount Cook at 3,763m (12,346ft).
The seasons in New Zealand are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere:
|Spring||-||September to November|
|Summer||-||December to February|
|Autumn||-||March to May|
|Winter||-||June to August|
The climate is temperate with sunshine average of about 2,000 hours annually. Rainfall for the greater part of the country ranges between 65-115cm (26"-45") annually. Temperature variations between seasons are generally small, except for inland South Island, where wide ranges are recorded; 32°C (90°F) in summer to -9°C (16°F) in winter.
New Zealand was discovered by the Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman, in 1642. He found it was already inhabited by Maoris who had migrated from Polynesia in ocean-going canoes. Other explorers followed, notably Captain James Cook, who in the latter part of the 18th century was the first European to set foot in New Zealand.
The first European settlers arrived in 1792 and colonisation began in earnest in 1825. British sovereignty was formally proclaimed over New Zealand in 1840.
Dominion status was achieved in 1907 when New Zealand became a fully self-governing nation within the then British Empire, but complete autonomy from Britain was not gained until 1947, when the Statute of Westminster (1931) was formally adopted by the New Zealand Government.
Of New Zealand's total population of approx. 3,900,000 people, approximately 75% live in the North Island. 83% of the people live in urban areas, while 64% of this number is concentrated in eight major centres. Apart from the Maori population of approximately 600,000, New Zealand is predominately made up of people of European, Pacific Island and Asian descent.
New Zealand's livelihood depends upon export trade, particularly products of the land, and because of this dependence on exports, New Zealand has a long history as an efficient primary producer and exporter. While Britain was historically the main trading partner, the emergence of EEC has reduced trade with Britain and increased trade with other European countries, the United States, Australia, Pacific Basin, Japan and Asia.
New Zealand's dairy products, meat, wool, and apples are recognized for their quality throughout the world. During the last 15-20 years these same production and export skills have been directed into horticulture and manufacture, both of which have become increasingly important as contributors to New Zealand export earnings. Perreaux is an example of this resurgence in export driven quality products at reasonable prices, is now recognized world wide innovative companies whose contribution to the country's emergence as a source for very high.