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New Zealand New Zealand is an island country which lies between the Equator and the South Pole in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, near the eastern coast of Australia. These 2 countries are separated from each other by the Tasman Sea. New Zealand is made up of 3 islands – the North Island, the South Island , the Stewart Island and a number of smaller islands. New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. So, it is one of the first places in the world to see the new day. Though the country is rather small, there are lots of beautiful things that attract attention – volcanoes, subtropical rainforests, geysers, fiords, beaches, glaciers and high mountain peaks.
Various names of the country The name “New Zealand” came from Dutch cartographers, who called the islands “Nova Zeelandia”, after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook adapted the name to the English language and the name became New Zealand. There are lots of unofficial names of the country - “God zone”, “Pig Isles”, “Shaky Isles”, “Quaky Isles”, “Maoriland” and “Kiwiland”. The Maori people call it “Aotearoa”, which is usually translated into English as “The Land of the Long White Cloud”.
Population of New Zealand The population of New Zealand is over 4 million people. The main part of the population lives on the North Island. About 50 % live in 4 cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Almost 70 % are people of European origin. And only 8 % are the Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous inhabitants or Aborigines. The Maori originate from a Polynesian people from south – east of Asia. The Maori tribes had lived on the islands of New Zealand for hundreds of years before the white people came here. Abel Tasman was the first European explorer who saw New Zealand in 1642. The first Englishman who set foot on New Zealand’s soil in 1769 was captain James Cook. After his voyage Europeans began to come here frequently. In the 19-th century there was a struggle between the Maori people and the British colonisers. It was a series of the Maori Wars. Many of the Maori were killed and English settlers took their lands. The tribes of Maori are well – known all over the world. They are famous for their folk – songs and wood – work.
Cities of New Zealand More than 85% of the population of New Zealand lives in urban areas. The principal country cities are Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton. Wellington is the capital of the country, its second largest city, the main port, the centre of finance and commerce and a sit of the government. It is situated on the southern coast of the North Island. The population of Greater Wellington is about 350.000 people. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and its former capital. It has a population of over a million people. Christchurch and Dunedin are 2 main cities of the South Island.
A Living Symbol of New Zealand The symbol of New Zealand is the kiwi - a bird that cannot fly. Kiwi has no tail, almost no wings, and its nostrils are situated near the end of its bill which is used to find food. It is about the size of a large hen. The bird lives in thick forests and prefers to spend its time in the dark. Although the kiwi weighs only a little over 2 kilograms, it has a very good appetite. It can eat as many as hundred of worms a day which are its main food. No other bird lays an egg so large in proportion to its size: the egg is about 1/5 of its own weight. After laying the egg, a female kiwi loses all interest to it and leaves her husband to hatch the egg out. This takes 75 days and by the time the chick is hatched father kiwi usually loses 1/3 of his normal weight.
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