Polynesians settled New Zealand in the 10th ~ 12th century and developed a distinctive Māori culture. Europeans first made contact in 1642. Much of New Zealand’s culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent, portraits of Māori. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving, weaving and tattooing become more main-stream.
Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country’s exports.
New Zealand is identified as one of the world’s most stable and well-governed nations. The country is ranked 5th in the strength of its democratic institutions and 1st in government transparency and lack of corruption.
Current population 4.5 million with ethnic groups of: 69% European/Other, 15% Māori, 9% Asian, 7% Pacific Islanders. New Zealanders are also called Kiwis!
Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand, as well as being a relatively common self-reference. The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird (not the kiwi fruit), which is native to, and the national symbol of, New Zealand. Unlike many demographic labels, its usage is not considered offensive; it is generally viewed as a symbol of pride and endearment for the people of New Zealand.
The first New Zealanders to be widely known as Kiwis were the military. The Regimental Signs for all New Zealand regiments feature the kiwi. The bird’s name is spelled with a lower-case k. A word of Māori origin, it normally stays kiwi when pluralized. Thus, two Kiwis refer to two people, whereas two kiwi refers to two birds. “Kiwis saving kiwi”!
New Zealand’s diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies. Such as “Lord of the Rings”!
First on our itinerary was Milford Sound (Piopiotahi in Māori), a fjord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi and the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage site. It has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor) and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.
Click on the word “Tube” in the square at the bottom if need:
The Polynesian explorer Kupe is credited with the initial discovery of Wellington Harbor. From Māori oral history it is estimated he arrived with his followers around 950AD. Kupe was followed by another explorer Tara, who named the harbor ‘Whanganui-a-Tara’ or the ‘great harbor of Tara’. By the time the explorer Captain Cook arrived in 1773 the harbor was lined with Māori settlements. The name changed to Port Nicholson later. The area was given the British name of Wellington in 1840 following settlement by British pioneers from the New Zealand Company. The city was name in honor of the first Duke of Wellington, who lent his support to the company.
In 1865, Wellington became New Zealand’s capital and, in spite of the fact that Auckland is a larger city, Wellington has remained the political center of New Zealand, with more than 40 established embassies. The city is known as ‘Windy Wellington’. The movie, “Lord of the Rings” was filmed in the landscapes of Wellington.
We took a city area tour and explored the Botanical/Rose Garden and government buildings.
After the devastating earthquake of 1931, people of Napier were determined to rebuild quickly, and fastened upon the prevailing Art Deco style which lent itself to earthquake-safe buildings. By 1933, concrete two-story structures had replaced most of the city center, decorated with dramatic and playful designs.
We were welcomed by locals dressed in 1930’s attire and in their vintage automobiles. They offered to drive us around town for a nominal fee. Our arrival was like a festival for this small town where we saw more vintage automobiles and people wearing contemporary (of 30s) costumes at city center. There were lovely stores and cafes.
We had an excursion to visit the Tamaki Heritage Experience. Before arriving at the site, we had to pick a chief among us on the bus. We did. At the welcoming ceremony, our chief would represent us, the manuhiris (guests) and meet with the Tumunui (name of the village) Chief. Our chief and their chief would hongi (pressing of the noses) welcome and be welcomed gestures.
We were escorted to the village by warriors, introduced to variations of their culture and taken to their kitchen to see the food for a Hangi Feast.
We were taken to their tribal auditorium for a dynamic performance, before entering the dining room for a FEAST!!!
Let the photos and the videos I found on YouTube (which is exactly what we experienced) entertain you.
We explored this modern, beautiful city on our own and blessed with excellent weather, had a lovely day. While returning to the ship, we noticed a large photo display on a McDonald’s window, advertising “lamb-burger”. We were amused and had to have one, to report back to our country mates.
After boarding the ship, we had a chat with our Australian ship mates. They laughingly told us, “We saw you in the town, and of all places you could have been, in MacDonald’s. Can’t you Americans skip your McDonalds abroad?” We laughed along with them, responding that we must have looked very “country”. When we informed them about lamb-burgers, Australians hadn’t heard of them either. I shall write a post on how to make lamb-burger New Zealand style!
Kia Ora means hello, welcome, goodbye, have a safe journey