Taste of New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the world’s most recently settled countries and is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, between latitude 34’S and 47’S. The country is comprised of two main islands and a collection of much smaller ones. In land area (approximately 100,000 square miles), New Zealand is comparable in size to countries like Japan or Great Britain.
The North Island is subtropical and the South Island temperate. In summer (December, January and February) the average maximum temperature range is 20-30ºC, and in winter (June, July and August) between 5-15ºC.
Until 1840, it was populated by indigenous Maori tribes with 100,000 inhabitants, and now the country’s population is approximately 4.6 million people – making it one of the world’s least densely populated countries. Its geographical isolation, and only very recent annexation by Europeans (170 years ago), have enabled ancient native plants and animals to survive and evolve in a largely natural and unaffected habitat.
About a quarter of the country is covered in forest and native bush – mostly in high country areas that are protected from logging and farming in government-owned national reserves and forest parks. New Zealand flora is 80% native and typified by evergreen rain forest with trees, ferns, vines and undergrowth.
New Zealand’s landscape includes a wide variety of beautiful and spectacular landforms from vast mountain ranges, steaming geysers, mud pools and volcanoes, to sandy beaches, stunning coastlines, deep indented fiords, rainforests, glaciers, natural springs, lakes and waterfalls.
New Zealand people are extremely proud of their country’s beauty and are conscious of the need to preserve it. Approximately 30 percent of New Zealand’s land area is protected conservation land including island wildlife sanctuaries, 14 national parks, 3 maritime parks, two world heritage areas, hundreds of nature reserves and ecological areas, a network of marine reserves and wetlands, and protection for special rivers and lakes.