New Zealand

New Zealand is in the continent of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean and is situated southeast of Australia.

New Zealand is made up of two islands. The North Island containing the capital city of Wellington and the South Island.

Other main cities include Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton.

New Zealand has a population of 4,035,461 .

Being a Commonwealth country it is ruled by Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Prime Minister is called Helen Clark.

The official languages are English and Maori.

Climate - The far north of the country has an average temperature of about 15° C, while the south has a cooler 9° C. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.

New Zealand Flag

The flag of New Zealand is blue with the flag of the United Kingdom in the top left hand corner and four red stars that represent the Southern Cross Constellation. A group of bright stars close to each other, that can be seen all year round in the Southern Hemisphere.

The North Island

Wellington – the capital city

Wellington is the second biggest city in New Zealand. It has a population of 328,300. Wellington is a very beautiful city with lots of beaches and hills. It is situated on the southern tip of the North Island.

The parliament building nicknamed ‘The beehive’

The North Island of New Zealand is probably best known for its active volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and boiling mud pools.

This Geyser (named Lady Knox) erupts daily and shoots steaming hot water into the sky.

A boiling mud pool found in the Rotorua district.

Below the champagne pool is a hot bubbling pool of water that is fascinating to look at.

Mount Ngauruho is the most active volcano found in New Zealand. It has erupted 61 times since 1839.

The most recent eruption at Ngauruho was in February of 1977

Waitomo District, the Waitomo Caves, with their caverns, underground rivers and glittering glowworms, are one of the island's most popular attractions.

The South Island

Natural, untouched beauty that’s what the South Island of New Zealand is all about. It is home to the Southern Alps. The longest and highest mountain range in New Zealand.

The Southern Alps are 340 miles long and run from the north-east to the south-west of the island. The highest mountain peak is Mount Cook.


Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, and has a population of around 300,000. It is situated on the east coast

Among first people to live in New Zealand were the Moari tribes who travelled from the Polynesian Islands to settle here around 1500 AD.

It was not until 1770 when Captain James Cook in his ship Endeavour spotted the shores of New Zealand that the European settlers arrived.

The Maori settled mostly in the North, as the climate was warmer. They wore cloaks made from woken flax, dog fur and feathers from the native birds including the kiwi and the moa. The Maori hunted the moa bird that could reach up to 3.7 metres in height. A Maori settlement shown below.

The Maori tribes were great artists and made fantastic carvings with stone, wood and bone was decorated and used for jewellery. The Maori tribes also decorated their bodies with art before going into battles and performed the Haka, the traditional dance of the Maori people. The New Zealand rugby team still perform this dance today before all major rugby games.

How to do the Haka.

Remember to shout the words, stomp your feet and stick out your tongue. You are showing people your self confidence, courage and pride in your ancestors.

Follow the actions of the Haka, chanting the words at the bottom of the diagram. Choose a partner one be A the other B. Go on have a go.

Today the Maori inhabitants are still thriving in New Zealand and they have adjusted well to western society. 95% of the Maori population live on the North Island. However many museums exist to keep the history and culture alive.