- New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with the government of parliament but as a member of the Commonwealth, it still maintains strong connections with Great Britain. The head of state is therefore officially queen Elizabeth II, but the country is governed by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.
- The capital city is Wellington which not only has a status of the southernmost capital city in the world but also the biggest city and a key business destination of New Zealand in Auckland. With its’ 1,4 million inhabitants more people live there than the whole South Island. The official currency is NZD (New Zealand dollar) and the official languages are English, Maori, (the language of original inhabitants), and New Zealand Sign Language. Maoris make up 15% of the population. Another interesting piece of information is that three-quarters of kiwis (New Zealanders) live 2000 km far, in Australia. The reason is often higher salary.
- Its’ area is as large as three-quarters of Germany and almost the same as Great Britain but the population density much lower. There are about 4,5 million inhabitants living in New Zealand. That’s 13,5 times less compared to Great Britain which has 60 million inhabitants. But what’s still interesting is that humans make up only 5% of the living population. The rest of it is animals.
- For Europeans, it is the farthest country in the world so expect that everything there is different. There’s the night it’s a day here, there’s winter when it’s summer here. Even the water virus is turned over here. Timeshift for central Europe is +11 hours in summer time.
- Maoris call New Zealand “Aotearoa” which means „land of long white cloud“. If someone talks about Kiwi they won’t mean just the fruit or the iconic flightless bird. They also call Kiwis themselves.
- There are also many famous and important people born in New Zealand. For example, Harold Gillies is considered the father of plastic surgery. Baron Ernest Rutherford was the first man who mapped the atomic model and discovered protons. The first man on Mount Everest Sir Edmund Hillary was also from there. Kiwis are very nice and friendly people. They are also very emancipated and socially aware.
- Inhabitants of New Zealand are a mixture of Europian and Maoris.
Customs and traditions
- The official currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD).
- The official language is English, Maori language and New Zealand sign language.
- Be ready that New Zealand English is different than Britain or American one. So you might have trouble understanding it on your first days primarily because of their pronunciation of the first E in the word. But fear not, it is only a matter of time to get used to it.
- You should know KIA ORA - that's how Maoris say Hello.
- The New Zealand flag, despite proposals of changing, has kept its’ original form influenced by Britain. There is Union Jack symbolizing the United Kingdom placed in its left upper corner. At the right half of the flag are displayed four stars of different size symbolizing the brightest constellation of the southern sky, the so-called South Cross.