toll free: (866) 714-8747
(920) 469-8747 (4 MY TRIP)
Journeys Unlimited 2050 Riverside Drive Green Bay, WI 54301
Our Cruise Packages
Welcome, Guest | Create account | Login | Home
Mount Ruapehu


New Zealand
New Zealand is a country in the south-western Pacific Ocean consisting of two large islands (the North Island and South Island) and many much smaller islands. It is called Aotearoa in Maori, which translates as the Land of the Long White Cloud, but this name, while in common usage, has no legal recognition.
Background Information
New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major land masses. Polynesian settlers arrived in their waka some time between the 13th century and the 15th century to establish the indigenous Maori culture. Settlement of the Chatham Islands to the east of the mainland produced the Moriori people, but it is disputed whether they moved there from New Zealand or elsewhere in Polynesia. Most of New Zealand was divided into tribal territories called rohe, resources within which were controlled by an iwi ('nation'). Maori adapted to eating the local marine resources, flora and fauna for food, hunting the giant flightless moa (which soon became extinct), and ate the Polynesian Rat and kumara (sweet potato), which they introduced to the country.

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, who sailed up the west coasts of the South and North Islands in 1642. He named it Staten Landt, believing it to be part of the land Jacob Le Maire had seen in 1616 off the coast of Chile. Staten Landt appeared on Tasman's first maps of New Zealand, but this was changed by Dutch cartographers to Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland, some time after Hendrik Brouwer proved the supposedly South American land to be an island in 1643. The Latin Nova Zeelandia became Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch. Captain James Cook subsequently called the archipelago New Zealand (a slight corruption, as Zealand is not an alternative spelling of Zeeland, a province in the Netherlands, but of Sjaelland, the island in Denmark that includes Copenhagen), although the Maori names he recorded for the North and South Islands (as Aehei No Mouwe and Tovy Poenammu respectively) were rejected, and the main three islands became known as North, Middle and South, with the Middle Island being later called the South Island, and the earlier South Island becoming Stewart Island. Cook began extensive surveys of the islands in 1769, leading to European whaling expeditions and eventually significant European colonisation. From as early as the 1780s, Maori had encounters with European sealers and whalers. Acquisition of muskets by those iwi in close contact with European visitors destabilised the existing balance of power between Maori tribes and there was a temporary but intense period of bloody inter-tribal warfare, known as the Musket Wars, which ceased only when all iwi were so armed.
The climate throughout the country is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0C (32F) or rising above 30C (86F). Conditions vary from wet and cold on the West Coast of the South Island to dry and continental in the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only some 640 mm (25 in) of rain per year. Auckland, the wettest, receives a little less than three times that amount.
Lighthouse found at Cape Reinga
Kaikoura - South Bay
Map of New Zealand