Рефераты. New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand 2

Landscape 2

Demography 4

Politics 4

History 6

Economy 8

Life in General 9

North Island 12

South Island 14

New Zealand

Where is New Zealand?

New Zealand is a country in Southwestern Oceania, southeast of Australia in

the South Pacific Ocean, with two large islands (North and South Island),

one smaller island (Stewart Island), and numerous much smaller islands. New

Zealand has a total land area of 268,670 sq km and a coastline of 15,134


Time Zones

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) making it one of

the first places in the world to see the new day. Summer time (or Daylight

Saving Time) is an advance of one hour at 2am in the morning on the first

Sunday in October and back to NZST at 3am in the morning on the third

Sunday morning of March.



New Zealand is a long narrow country lying roughly North/South with

mountain ranges running much of its length. It is predominately mountainous

with some large coastal plains and is a little larger than Britain,

slightly smaller than Italy, and almost exactly the size of Colorado.

The only `geographical feature' New Zealand doesn't have is live coral

reef. New Zealand has all the rest: rainforest, desert, fiords, flooded

valleys, gorges, plains, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, geothermics,

swamps, lakes, braided rivers, peneplains, badlands, and our very own

continental plate junction... As a result of the latter, earthquakes are

common, though usually not severe.

The North Island has a number of large volcanoes (including the currently

active Mount Ruapehu) and highly active thermal areas, while the South

Island boasts the Southern Alps - a spine of magnificent mountains running

almost its entire length. Another notable feature of New Zealand is its

myriad rivers and lakes: notably the Whanganui River, Lake Taupo and the

breathtaking lakes Waikaremoana and Wanaka.

Flora and Fauna

New Zealand is believed to be a fragment of the ancient Southern continent

of Gondwanaland which became detached over 100 million years ago allowing

many ancient plants and animals to survive and evolve in isolation. As a

result, most of the New Zealand flora and fauna is indigenous/endemic.

About 10 to 15% of the total land area of New Zealand is native flora, the

bulk protected in national parks and reserves.

New Zealand has the worlds largest flightless parrot (kakapo), the only

truly alpine parrot (kea), the oldest reptile (tuatara), the biggest

earthworms, the largest weta, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees,

and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.... New

Zealand is home to the world famous Tuatara, a lizard-like reptile which

dates back to the dinosaurs and perhaps before (260 mill years?). The only

native land mammals are two rare species of bat. New Zealand's many endemic

birds include the flightless kiwi, takahe, kakapo and weka. Far too many

species of bird have become extinct since humans arrived on New Zealand

included the various species of Dinornis (moa) the largest of which stood

up to 2.5 metres high. There is also some unique insect life such as the

Giant Weta and glow worms. Other than two spiders, there is a lack of any

deadly poisonous things (snakes, spiders, etc.) which is why New Zealand

Agricultural Regulations are so strict.

Introduced species - pigs, goats, possums, dogs, cats, deer and the

ubiquitous sheep - are found throughout New Zealand but their proliferation

in the wild has had a deleterious effect on the environment: over 150

native plants - 10% of the total number of native species - and many native

birds are presently threatened with extinction.

New Zealand's offshore waters hold a variety of fish, including tuna,

marlin, snapper, trevally, kahawai and shark; while its marine mammals -

dolphins, seals and whales - attract nature-lovers from around the world.

There are 12 national, 20 forest, three maritime and two marine parks, plus

two World Heritage Areas: Tongariro National Park in the North Island and

Te Waihipouna-mu in the South Island.

One of the most noticeable plants is the pohutakawa (known as the New

Zealand Christmas tree) which detonates with brilliant red flowers around

December. The great kauri trees in the few remaining kauri forests in

Northland are very old with some believed to be up to 2000 years old. Much

of the South Island is still forested, particularly the West Coast.


Lying between 34S and 47S, New Zealand sits squarely in the `roaring

forties' latitude which means a prevailing and continual wind blows over

the country from east to west; this can range from a gentle breeze in

summer to a buffeting, roof-stripping gale in winter. The North Island and

South Island, because of their different geological features, have two

distinct patterns of rainfall: in the South Island, the Southern Alps act

as a barrier for the moisture-laden winds from the Tasman Sea, creating a

wet climate to the west of the mountains and a dry climate to the east;

while the North Island's rainfall is more evenly distributed without a

comparable geological feature such as the Alps.

The New Zealand climate is temperate with no real extremes. Temperatures

are a few degrees cooler in the South Island, and both islands receive snow

in winter. Being an island nation, the yearly range of temperatures is

quite small, around 10 degrees Celsius variation between winter and summer.

Winter falls in the months of June through August and summer from December

through to February.

It is important to remember that New Zealand's climate is maritime, rather

than continental, which means the weather can change with amazing rapidity

and consequence. New Zealand enjoys long hours of sunshine throughout the

year making it an ideal year round destination. In winter the South Island

mountain and central North Island do have heavy snowfalls providing great

skiing. The busy tourist season falls in the warmer months between November

and April, though ski resorts, such as Queenstown, are full during winter.


Total population is about 3.7 million. Over 70% of the population are in

the North Island. The largest centre is Auckland (over 1 million), and the

capital Wellington.

The official languages are English and Maori. English is more widely

spoken, though the Maori language, for so long on the decline, is now

making a comeback due to the revival of Maoritanga. A mellifluous, poetic

language, the Maori language is surprisingly easy to pronounce if spoken

phonetically and each word split into separate syllables. Pacific Island

and Asian languages may be heard in cities.


The dominant cultural groups are the Pakeha and the Maori. Other smaller

groups include Yugoslavian Dalmatians, Polynesians, Indians and Chinese. A

common thread that binds the entire population is its love of sport -

especially the national game of rugby union - and outdoor pursuits such as

sailing, swimming, cycling, hiking and camping. The secular aside,

Christianity is the most common religion, with Anglicanism, Presbyterianism

and Catholicism the largest denominations. An interesting religious

variation is the synthesis of the Maori Ratana and Ringatu faiths with


New Zealand art is multifarious, valuing innovation, integrity and

craftsmanship that reflects Pakeha, Maori and Melanesian heritage. Wood,

stone, shell and bone carvings are readily available while larger works

such as tukutuku (wood panelling) can be seen in most maraes (meeting

houses). Paua shell, greenstone, greywacke and greenwacke pebbles are often

fashioned into jewellery that takes its inspiration from the landscape:

earrings shaped like the leaves of a gingko tree; sunglasses modelled on

native fern tendrils; and necklaces in frangipani-flower designs. There is

a lively theatre scene in the country, especially in Wellington, and a

number of galleries, including the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, which is the

oldest viewing room in New Zealand and one of its best. The music scene is

vigorous and fecund, spawning a pool of talent - from Split Enz and Crowded

House to the thrashing guitar pyrotechnics of Dunedin's 3D's and

Straitjacket Fits - lauded locally and overseas.



New Zealand shares with Britain and Israel the distinction of being one of

the three developed countries that does not have a codified Constitution on

the U.S. model. When the country was annexed by Britain in 1840, the

British parliament enacted that all applicable law of England as at 1840

became the law of New Zealand. In 1856, the New Zealand parliament was

given the power to enact its own law and nothing changed when full

independence was achieved (26-9-1907) except that the British parliament

lost its overriding authority. We have, thus, never had the problem that

Australia and Canada have had of "repatriating" a constitution that was

really an Act of the British parliament.

Our constitution, like the British, consists of parliament's own

conventions and rules of conduct, some legislation such as the New Zealand

Constitution Act (1986, not enacted), and fundamental rules applied by the

Courts which go back into English history. It evolves rather than is


The flag of New Zealand is blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-

side quadrant with four red five-pointed stars edged in white centered in

the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross


The National Anthem of New Zealand is "God Defend New Zealand".

Form of Government

Constitutional monarchy, with a single-chamber parliament.

The monarch is said to "reign but not rule": except for a residual power to

actually govern in the event of some complete breakdown of the

parliamentary system, the monarch has merely ceremonial duties and advisory

powers. When the monarch is absent from the country, which is most of the

time, those duties and powers are delegated to the Governor-General who is

appointed by the monarch for a limited term after approval by the


Parliament is the consitutional "sovereign" - there is no theoretical limit

on what it can validly do, and the validity of the laws which it enacts

cannot be challenged in the courts (although the courts do have and use

wide-ranging powers to control administrative acts of the government). A

new parliament is elected every three years (universal suffrage at age 18).

The leader of the party which commands majority support in parliament is

appointed prime minister and he or she nominates the other Ministers of the

Crown. The ministers (and sometimes the whole majority party in parliament)

are collectively called "the government". Our system almost entirely lacks

formal checks and balances - the majority party can virtually legislate as

it likes subject only to its desire to be re-elected every three years.

Until now, members of parliament have been elected on a single-member

constituency, winner takes all, system similar to those of Britain and the

U.S.A. As a result of referenda conducted in 1993, future parliaments will

be elected on a mixed-member proportional system modelled on that of


The administration is highly centralised. The country is divided into

"districts" (the urban ones called "cities") each with a District (or City)

Council and Mayor, but their powers are limited to providing public

facilities (not housing) and enforcement of by-laws (local regulations)

such as parking regulations. The Police are a single force controlled by

the central government.

The Justice System

There is a four-level hearings and appeals system:

Top level Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (London)


Court of Appeal (Wellington)


High Court (in all cities)


Bottom level District Courts (most towns)

There is also the Small Claims Court which handles smaller personal


Civil and criminal cases start in the District or High Court, depending on

their seriousness and appeals go up the chain. Certain rare cases can start

in the Court of Appeal. District and High Court judges sit alone or with

juries. The Court of Appeal (and on certain rare occasions the High Court)

consists of three or five judges sitting "en banc". The Judicial Committee

of the Privy Council consists mainly of British Law Lords with New Zealand

judges also sitting in New Zealand cases; in theory its decisions merely

"opinions" for the benefit of the monarch as the fount of all justice, but

in practice its rulings have the force of ultimate appeal.

All judges are appointed by the government - High Court judges are

nominated by the Law Society, but District Court judges apply for the job

like any other. Various special-purpose courts (Industrial Court, Maori

Land Court, Family Court, etc.) exist and have the same status as either a

District Court or the High Court.


The Polynesian navigator Kupe has been credited with the discovery of New

Zealand in 950 AD. He named it Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud).

Centuries later, around 1350 AD, a great migration of people from Kupe's

homeland of Hawaiki followed his navigational instructions and sailed to

New Zealand, eventually supplanting or mixing with previous residents.

Their culture, developed over centuries without any discernible outside

influence, was hierarchical and often sanguinary.

In 1642, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman briefly sailed along the west coast

of New Zealand; any thoughts of a longer stay were thwarted when his

attempt to land resulted in several of his crew being killed and eaten. In

1769, Captain James Cook circumnavigated the two main islands aboard the

Endeavour. Initial contact with the Maoris also proved violent but Cook,

impressed with the Maoris' bravery and spirit and recognising the potential

of this newfound land, grabbed it for the British crown before setting sail

for Australia.

When the British began their antipodean colonising, New Zealand was

originally seen as an offshoot of Australian enterprise in whaling and

sealing: in fact, from 1839 to 1841 the country was under the jurisdiction

of New South Wales. However, increased European settlement soon proved

problematic: a policy was urgently required regarding land deals between

the settlers (Pakeha) and the Maori. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was

signed, with the Maori ceding sovereignty of their country to Britain in

exchange for protection and guaranteed possession of their lands. But

relations between the Maori and Pakeha soon soured (the Maoris became

increasingly alarmed at the effect the Pakeha had on their society while

the Pakeha rode roughshod over Maori rights outlined in the treaty). In

1860, war broke out between them, continuing for much of the decade before

the Maori were defeated.

By the late 19th century, things had temporarily calmed down. The discovery

of gold had engendered much prosperity, and wide-scale sheep farming meant

New Zealand became an efficient and mostly self-reliant country. Sweeping

social changes - women's suffrage, social security, the encouragement of

trade unions and the introduction of child care services - cemented New

Zealand's reputation as a country committed to egalitarian reform.

New Zealand was given dominion status in the British Empire in 1907 and

granted autonomy by Britain in 1931; independence, however, was not

formally proclaimed until 1947. The economy continued to prosper until the

worldwide recession in the 1980s, when unemployment rose dramatically.

Today the economy has stabilised, thanks largely to an export-driven

recovery. Internationally, New Zealand was hailed during the mid-1980s for

its anti-nuclear stance - even though it meant a falling-out with the USA -

and its opposition to French nuclear testing in the Pacific (which France

countered, to much opprobrium but little penalty, by blowing up the

Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior as it sat in Auckland Harbour).

The Maori population is now increasing faster than the Pakeha and a

resurgence in Maoritanga (Maori culture) has had a major and lasting impact

on New Zealand society. Culturally, the most heartening aspect had been the

mending of relations between the Maori and Pakeha (in 1985, the Treaty of

Waitangi was overhauled, leading to financial reparations to a number of

Maori tribes whose land had been unjustly confiscated). However, a recent

clumsy take-it-or-leave-it attempt by the New Zealand government to offer

financial reparations has resulted in an upsurge of militant Maori

protests. Maoris have disrupted events, occupied land claim areas, set up

roadblocks and threatened to blow-up the New Zealand parliament. The

disharmony has shocked New Zealanders and placed national conciliation at

the top of the political agenda.

26,000,000 B.C.

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