Located east of Australia, New Zealand has remained a peaceful country, isolated geographically from the rest of the major countries. New Zealand consists of mainly 2 big islands, North and South. Traditionally, the ingenious people, known as the Maori, named the North Island as Te Ika Maui (the fish of Maui) and the South Island as Te Wai Pounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki). A term which the Maori used to call the present New Zealand is Aotearoa, also means ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ due to the shape of the 2 islands combined.
Northern Island = Fish (Maui), Southern Island = Canoe (Aoraki)
This also leads to an interesting fact: New Zealand is the last land mass to be discovered by humans as the Maori only came to inhabit in this place 1000 years ago. Hence, New Zealand is known to be the youngest country in the world.
What is the country known for?
Kiwi bird (national animal icon)
One common national icon that represents New Zealand is the Kiwi Bird. Traditionally, Maori believed that Kiwi is under the protection of the god of forest. Their feathers are considered sacred and used for ceremonial cloaks. Now, the Maori no longer hunt for Kiwi, but see them as their guardians. This icon is so strong that all New Zealanders call themselves “Kiwis”, even the New Zealand dollar is often referred as “the kiwi dollar”. This uncommon bird, Kiwi can also be found in certain parts of New Zealand, mainly the north island.
Beautiful Landscape... where Lord of the Rings takes place
The popular legendary movie, “The Lord of the Rings”, also takes place in New Zealand. Throughout the movie, we can see the stunning and majestic scenery landscape at the background, which is actually taken in New Zealand. For example, the Hobbiton and The Shire were taken at the Waikato Region. (More information, click here: http://www.firstlighttravel.com/lord_of_the_rings.html)
As the youngest country in the world, New Zealand is able to retain most of its natural landscape, which became one of the major selling points. It’s undisturbed and quiet environment, surrounded with mountains, lakes and forests makes New Zealand a must-go and must-see destination for all nature-based tourists.
Mount Doon in Auckland
Mystical rivers and mountains... Perfect for the Lord of the Rings