New Zealand, a magical country on the other side of the world!

New Zealand, a magical country on the other side of the world!

In order to show the rich varieties of origins our teachers belong to, we will be posting interesting information about their countries. We will start off talking about New Zealand, where Nicky, our headteacher, is from. Nicky was born in Christchurch, the largest city in the South island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region, hence the name of the academy. Also, the name was chosen because of 'The Canterbury Tales', a collection of tales written in Middle English that tells the adventures of a group of pilgrims that travels from London to Canterbury in the 14th century.

LOCATION

New Zealand (Aotearoa in Maori language) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. Its nearest neighbour is Australia and the country comprises two main islands: The North and South Islands. The capital city is Wellington and Auckland is the largest urban area, both located on the North island.

WHAT IS IT LIKE?

New Zealand is a land of great contrasts and diversity. Active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep gracier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, the spectacular snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps on the South Island and the breathtaking alluvial Canterbury Plains. All contrubute to New Zealand's scenic beauty!

A BIT OF HISTORY

New Zealand was the largest country in Polynesia when it was annexed by Great Britain in 1840. Thereafter, it was successively a crown colony, a self-governing colony (1856), and a dominon (1907). By the 1920s it controlled almost all of its internal and external policies, although it did not become fully independent until 1947 when it adopted the Statute of Westminster. It is a member of the Commonwealth. New Zealand became the first permanent and independent country to grant women the right to vote.

One of the defining moments of the 20th century was when the New Zealander Edmund Hillary with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay ascended Mount Everest in 1953.

ANIMAL LIFE AND PLANTS

The island has a unique array of vegetation and animal life, much of which developed during the country's prolonged isolation. It is the sole home, for example, of the long-beaked flightless Kiwi, the ubiquitous nickname for New Zealanders. In the absence of predators, New Zealand is a paradise for birds. Because the island lies at the meeting place of warm and cool ocean currents, a great variety of fish is found in its surrounding waters.

Almost nine-tenths of the indigenous plants are peculiar to the country. Tropical forests are mainly made up of saplings (young trees), shrubs (bushes) and mid-level plants.

LANGUAGES

New Zealand is predominantly an English-speaking country, though English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are official languages.The Maori language is taught at a number of schools. Other non-English languages spoken by significant numbers of people are Samoan, Hindi and Mandarin Chinese.

RELIGION

New Zealand has no state religion or established church, although Anglicanism is required to be the religion of the Monarch of New Zealand. Freedom of religion has been protected since the 19th century, that can explain why a number of churches in the country have become art galleries, restaurants and pubs.

GASTRONOMY

New Zealand cuisine is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations. It is a diverse British-based cuisine, with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country bocomes more cosmopolitan. Historical influences came from Maori culture. Dinner is the main meal of the day, when families gather and share their evening together.

If you visit the island, do not forget to try its delicious chocolate, HANGI (meat and vegetables), CRAYFISH (lobster), HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM (caramelised honeycomb), KINA (a type of sea urchin), KIWI BURGER, JAFFAS and so on!

FAMOUS NEW ZEALANDERS

Here you have well-known people maybe you did not know they were actually from New Zealand: Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Jean Batten, a woman aviator who made Record Braking Trans-world Flights; actors Russell Crowe and Martin Henderson, film directors Taika Waititi and Peter Jackson, the 'sexiest rugby player' Sonny Bill Williams, mountaineer Sir Edmun Hillary, and many more.

Music in New Zealand has a wide range of performers such as Tiki Taane, an experimentalist and activist musician; opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa; Keith Urban, Lorde, Brooke Fraser and music band Fat Freddy's Drop, among others.

When asking Nicky about what she misses the most about her homeland she says that she could do with some New Zealand chocolate crunch from time to time and natural freshly made bread. She also misses the great amount of creative people, who do not have to be famous to be considered as real artists. 

We hope you enjoyed the trip! We see you soon with a new visit: Wales!