New Zealand is an island country in the south western Pacific Ocean that has two main Islands ‒ North and South Island. They are separated by a narrow channel called Cook Strait, named after English captain James Cook. Australia is its nearest neighboring country.
New Zealand some say is the piece of land that separated from the super continent millions of years ago. But another theory says that these islands were created when the land was pushed out of the sea by volcanic forces. Even today, New Zealand sits on two tectonic plates. These plates are constantly shifting and moving. Due to this non stop action under New Zealand, the country has some spectacular geothermal areas with hot springs, mud pools and geysers.
New Zealand has more than 50 volcanoes. The biggest volcano in New Zealand is also its largest lake called Lake Taupo. It is almost as big as Singapore. Confused? An enormous volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago which caused the mouth of the volcano to collapse. This left a giant crater which is now Lake Taupo. It is the world’s most destructive volcano. New Zealand’s largest active volcano is Mt Ruapehu.
The first set of people to settle in New Zealand were the tribals known as Maoris. They named it Aotearoa meaning “land of the long white cloud”. Much later, Dutch sailor Abel Tasman discovered it but left after being attacked by Maoris. Later, the British with agreement with the Maoris made it a British colony. Today, New Zealand is its own country. Wellington is its capital city.
Since the humans arrived only a thousand years ago in New Zealand, it has spectacular flora and fauna.
The country’s unique bird species are very impressive. New Zealand’s national bird is a flightless bird called Kiwi which is now endangered. New Zealanders are sometimes fondly referred to as kiwis. New Zealand’s native birds are all flightless, including the kakapos parrot, weka and the takahe. The world’s largest bird, the moa was one of the largest birds in history – about 12 foot tall and weighing 300kg. Unfortunately, they were hunted to extinction by the Maoris.
Do you wonder why does New Zealand have so many flightless birds? Find out.
And there is more..
- One of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, Hector’s dolphin are found only in New Zealand.
- The largest Kauri tree in the world, Tane Mahuta, estimated to be between 2000 years old is in New Zealand.
- Pohutukawa tree is the New Zealand’s Christmas tree, which bloom bright red flowers for a few weeks during summer in December.
People of New Zealand are fun loving and adventurous. They love all sports like cycling, skiing, trekking and surfing. Rugby is their favorite national sport.