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Portal:New Zealand

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The New Zealand Portal

Location of New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand

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, particularly in education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. It 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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Amanita nothofagi 39307.jpg
Amanita nothofagi is a species of fungus in the family Amanitaceae. Endemic to New Zealand, the species was first described by mycologist Greta Stevenson in 1962. The fruit bodies have dark brown caps that are up to 13 cm (5.1 in) in diameter and covered with patches of soft greyish-brown scales or warts. The gills underneath the cap are crowded together, free from attachment to the stem, and white, becoming tinged with yellow in age. The stem of the mushroom is 4–14 cm (1.6–5.5 in) long by 0.5–2.5 cm (0.2–1.0 in) thick, and has a ring. The spore print is white, and individual spores are spherical to ellipsoid, measuring 7.5–9 by 7.5–9 micrometres. The mushroom may be confused with another New Zealand species, A. australis, but can be distinguished by certain characteristics. Amanita nothofagi is a mycorrhizal species, and grows in association with native New Zealand trees such as Southern Beech. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various New Zealand-related articles on Wikipedia.

More Did you know? - show different entries

... that multinational GlaxoSmithKline was founded in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand in 1904, under the slogan "Glaxo builds bonny babies"?

Two chocolate fish

... that the chocolate fish is a "species" indigenous to New Zealand?

... that the Six o'clock swill was not abolished in New Zealand until 1967?

...that the Coenocorypha snipes once ranged from New Caledonia and Fiji to New Zealand but are now restricted to New Zealand's outlying islands?

... that Ira Goldstein, an advertisement campaign character for the ASB Bank in New Zealand, supposedly drives a metallic-brown 1979 Princess 2000 HL?

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Matauri Bay Rainbow Warrior memorial4.JPG
The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was an operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.

Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two French agents were arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. They were charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As part of a plea bargain, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years, of which they served just over two.

The scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu, and the subject remained controversial. It was twenty years afterwards that the personal responsibility of French President François Mitterrand was admitted. (Full article...)

Selected weekly image

Purakaunui Falls, Catlins, Otago, New Zealand.

The Purakaunui Falls are a cascading multi-tiered waterfall on the Purakaunui River in The Catlins in the southern South Island of New Zealand. A highly distinctive cataract, it is an iconic image for southeastern New Zealand. The falls are in an isolated area surrounded by native bush in a 500 hectare scenic reserve, and fall 20 metres in three tiers.

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