Established: 1840 (Treaty of Waitangi)
Population: 4.47 million
Religion: Christianity (47.65%)
Order of Visit: Second
First Visit: 11 November 1999
Last Visit: 21 January 2010
Duration: 31 Days
Visit Highlights: Explore Waitomo Caves, Visit Bay of Islands, Remember Lord of the Rings at Hobbiton, Hike anywhere in New Zealand (but beware changing weather), and have fun in Queenstown.
Places Visited: Auckland, Bay of Islands, Cambridge, Christchurch, Dunedin, Fox Glacier, Greymouth, Hanmer Springs, Matamata (Hobbiton), Kaikoura, Milford, Picton, Queenstown, Rotorua, Turangi, Wellington
New Zealand Journal Entries
History and Geography
New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere and is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller islands. The two main islands (the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu) are separated by Cook Strait.
The Māori were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early European settlers. In the 2013 census, 74.0% of New Zealand residents identified ethnically as European, and 14.9% as Māori. The Maori were not defeated by the British which required a treaty between the two groups and has resulted in special protections and rights for the Maori population to this day.
In 1788 Captain Arthur Philips assumed the role of Governor of the new British colony of New South Wales this also included New Zealand starting a long link to Australia. The Treaty of Waitangi between the British and Maoiri was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. On 1 July 1841 New Zealand, separated from the colony of New South Wales becoming the Colony of New Zealand.
The colony gained a representative government in 1852 and the first Parliament met in 1854. In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote. New Zealand was one of the colonies asked to join in the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia, and was included in the United Kingdom Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 which establish Australia in 1901 and are still to this day included in the Australian Constitution (Section 6) so can join at anytime without needing a vote or change to Australian Constitution.
Australia and New Zealand sent joint sports teams to numerous International events including Olympic Games of 1908 and 1912 and Davis Cup Tennis from 1905 to 1919 and co-hosted the Australasian Men’s Championship (1905 to 1926) which was rotated between Australian states and New Zealand.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy, although its constitution is not codified. The Monarch of England is automatically the King or Queen of New Zealand (currently Elizabeth II) and is therefore the official head of state. The Queen is represented by the governor-general, whom she appoints on the advice of the prime minister.
From the 1950s onwards New Zealand slowly moved away from the United Kingdom, signing while ANZUS security treaty with Australia and USA in 1951. However the influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War and recieving limited support from USA when the French sank of the Rainbow Warrior which eventually lead to New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy.
What I experienced
New Zealand is one of the closest countries to Australia and the second country I ever visited. New Zealand is a country with magnificent scenery and landscapes, a native population (Maori) who the British couldn’t totally defeat and an anti-USA military stance that toughen after the Greenpeace ship Rainbrow Warrior was sunken.
The country has very friendly locals and most of the police aren’t armed. You feel at ease walking the streets and outside of Auckland more connected to nature. I recall undertaking a hike at the Tongario National Park with my best friend Jon and older sister Kara and having to be saved from the elements by elderly walking group. Friendship and helping hands from locals.
New Zealand is also home of the Lord of The Rings movies. The amazing scenery in those movies isn’t faked, in fact it’s underplayed if anything. BTW I loved those movies so much I did a short weekend visit to NZ just to visit ‘Hobbiton’ (Matamata) which was well worth it.