The New Zealand Portal

New Zealand
Aotearoa (Māori)
A map of the hemisphere centred on New Zealand, using an orthographic projection.
Location of New Zealand, including outlying islands, its territorial claim in the Antarctic, and Tokelau
ISO 3166 codeNZ

New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and over 700 smaller islands. It is the sixth-largest island country by area and lies east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.

A developed country, it was the first to introduce a minimum wage, and the first to give women the right to vote. It ranks very highly in international measures of quality of life, human rights, and it has low levels of perceived corruption. It retains visible levels of inequality, having structural disparities between its Māori and European populations. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is also a significant source of revenue. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, UKUSA, OECD, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. It enjoys particularly close relations with the United States and is one of its major non-NATO allies; the United Kingdom; Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga; and with Australia, with a shared "Trans-Tasman" identity between the two countries stemming from centuries of British colonisation. (Full article...)

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KiwiRail DL9020 on MetroPort train MP4 at Papakura, Auckland on 29 August 2011.

Rail transport in New Zealand is an integral part of New Zealand's transport network, with a nationwide network of 4,375.5 km (2,718.8 mi) of track linking most major cities in the North and South Islands, connected by inter-island rail and road ferries. Rail transport in New Zealand has a particular focus on bulk freight exports and imports, with 19 million net tonnes moved by rail annually, accounting for more than half of rail revenue.

Rail transport played an important role in the opening up and development of the hinterland outside of New Zealand's predominantly dispersed and coastal settlements. Starting with the Ferrymead Railway in 1863, most public railway lines were short, built by provincial governments and connected major centres to their nearest seaport (such as Christchurch and its port at Lyttelton Harbour). From the 1870s, the focus shifted to building a nationwide network linking major centres, especially during the Vogel Era of railway construction following the abolition of the provinces. Narrow gauge of 3ft 6in (1,067mm) was adopted nationally. Bush tramways or light industrial railways sprang up connecting to the national network as it expanded. Railways became centrally controlled as a government department under the names New Zealand Government Railways or New Zealand Railways Department (NZR), and land transport was heavily regulated from 1931 onwards. NZR eventually expanded into other transport modes, especially with the Railways Road Services, inter-island ferries and Rail Air service. NZR also had an extensive network of workshops. By 1981, NZR employed 22,000 staff. (Full article...)

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Patrick Marshall
Patrick Marshall

... that New Zealand geologist Patrick Marshall (pictured) was the first who used the term "andesite line"?

...that the New Zealand Railways Department dumped tank locomotives of the WB class in the Mokihinui River to protect against erosion beside the route of the Seddonville Branch line?

...that New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart uses an obsolete camera and photographic paper that no longer exists?

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Leptospermum scoparium foliage and flowers
Leptospermum scoparium foliage and flowers
Leptospermum scoparium is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family Myrtaceae, native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. It is a prolific scrub-type tree and is often one of the first species to regenerate on cleared land. It is typically a shrub growing to 2–5 m (7–16 ft) tall, but can grow into a moderately sized tree, up to 15 m (49 ft) or so in height. The species is found throughout New Zealand but is particularly common on the drier east coasts of the North Island and the South Island, and in Australia in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

Manuka (from Māori mānuka) is the name used in New Zealand. It is also commonly called the tea tree. This name arose because Captain Cook used the leaves to make a tea drink. (Full article...)

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Looking out of one of the Cathedral Caves, in the Catlins, New Zealand.
Looking out of one of the Cathedral Caves, in the Catlins, New Zealand.

The Cathedral Caves are two connected limestone sea caves located on Waipati Beach, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Papatowai, on the Catlins Coast in the southeast corner of New Zealand's South Island. The two main entrances join together within the cliff to form one big cave. One arm of the cave has a 30 metres (98 ft) high ceiling. Often blue penguins will emerge from the gloom at the far end of the cave. And occasionally a sealion might be around. (Full article...)

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