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Portal:New Zealand

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Location of New Zealand
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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 more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) 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.

Owing to their remoteness, the islands of New Zealand were the last large habitable lands to be settled by humans. Between about 1280 and 1350, Polynesians began to settle in the islands and then developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire, and in 1907 it became a dominion; it gained full statutory independence in 1947, and the British monarch remained the head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language, with English being dominant.

A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. 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 a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently Jacinda Ardern. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. ( Full article...)

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Brigadier Miles, 1940–41

Brigadier Reginald Miles, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC (10 December 1892 – 20 October 1943) was a professional soldier who served in the New Zealand Military Forces during the First and Second World Wars.

Miles was a New Zealand entrant into the Australian Royal Military College, Duntroon, from which he graduated in 1914. He served as an artillery officer in the First World War and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his actions during the German spring offensive. He remained in the military after the war, holding artillery commands for the next several years. When the Second World War broke out, Miles was the Quartermaster General of the New Zealand Military Forces. In 1940, he was seconded to the 2nd New Zealand Division as its commander of artillery. He saw action during the Battle of Greece and later during Operation Crusader in North Africa. Captured during fighting near Tobruk in late 1941, he was held in a prisoner of war camp in Italy but escaped in April 1943 with five other officers, including fellow New Zealander James Hargest. By October, Miles had made his way to Spain where, overcome with depression, he committed suicide. ( Full article...)

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More Did you know? - show different entries

...there are more Māori people of Ngā Puhi descent than there are of any other iwi?

...that there are three different rivers in New Zealand called Waiau River?

...that many of New Zealand's cricket pitches use soil from Kakanui, near Oamaru?

...that cricketer Lee Germon captained the New Zealand cricket team in his very first international?

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Aoraki Mount Cook.JPG
Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, and 37th most prominent peak in the world, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki/Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west.

Aoraki means "Cloud Piercer" in the Ngāi Tahu dialect of the Māori language. Historically, the Māori name has been spelt Aorangi in the "canonical" Māori form. While the mountain was known to Māori centuries before, the first European known to see Aoraki/Mount Cook was Abel Tasman, on December 13, 1642 during his first Pacific voyage. The English name of Mount Cook was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes to honour Captain James Cook who first surveyed and circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand in 1770. Captain Cook did not sight the mountain during his exploration. Following the settlement between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its historic Māori name, Aoraki. Under the settlement the Crown agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Ngāi Tahu, who then formally gifted it back to the nation.

The first ascent was on 25 December 1894, when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James (Jack) Clarke and George Graham successfully reached the summit via the Hooker Valley and the north ridge. Ed Hillary made his first ascent in January 1947. In February 1948 with Ruth Adams, Harry Ayres and Mick Sullivan, Hillary made the first ascent of the South Ridge to the Low Peak. ( Full article...)

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Lyttelton, New Zealand.

Lyttelton is a port town located on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour on Banks Peninsula, 12 km by road from Christchurch. The town is linked to Christchurch by railway and road tunnels through the Port Hills. At 1900 m long, the Lyttelton Road Tunnel (opened in 1964) is the country's longest road tunnel, and the railway tunnel is the country's oldest, dating from 1867.

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