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About New Zealand_

New Zealand is an island country in the southwest Pacific Ocean. It lies about 1,000 miles (1,600 Kilometers) southeast of Australia and about 6,500 miles(10,500 Kilometers) southwest of  California. New Zealand belongs to a large island group called Polynesia. It is made up of the North Island, Stewart Island and various small islands surrounding. 

New Zealand has a population of approximately 38 lakh people (more than 80,000 Indians) with the official languages being English and Maori. New Zealand is a beautiful country of snow-capped mountains, green lowlands, beaches and many lakes and waterfalls. No place is more than 80 miles(130 Kilometers) from the coast, and in few places are mountains or hills out of view.

New Zealand has a long tradition of equal rights and benefits for all its citizens. In 1893, it became the first nation in the world to give women the vote. In addition, New Zealand was among the first countries to provide social security benefits and old-age pensions for its people. Today,the nation has one of the world's finest public health programs.

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New Zealand's standard of living ranks among the highest in the world. For many years, the country's economy depended largely on agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries are all important to the economy. New Zealand's economy depends on trade with many countries. These countries include Australia, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. It is one of the few countries in the world which has a pro-active immigration policy that allows one to live, study, work and do business indefinitely after one migrates New Zealand.

Facts in brief-
Capital: Wellington
Official Language: English

Currency
New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$) and as her currency is strong and stable there is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand.

Flag and it's significance
The flag of NZ is blue with the flag of UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four red five-pointed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation.


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Anthems:
"God defend New Zealand"(national); "God save the Queen"(royal).

Peculiarities
New Zealand is a peculiar country in many ways. It is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. It has maximum number of book shops and boats per thousand people.Most of the water sources are potable. It also boasts a   pollution free environment -it is the first country to export fresh air. It is also one of the highest power (electricity) producing in the world and also has the best communication and  telephone networks. There are about 20 telecommunications companies providing international toll or long-distance and services to & from New Zealand.

Social Security

Education is free for children and medical treatment is also free for residents. Your local
  Citizens Advise Bureau(CAB) is great place to go for free, up-to-date information. The CAB will help you find the services you need, or provide answers to difficult questions or problems.  

Way of life. 
The people of New Zealand have a high standard of living. They have long been among the best-fed people in the world. 

New Zealanders receive excellent health care under a system of part-charges based on income. Medical care for accident cases is free. About 70 per cent of New Zealand families own their homes, and almost every family has at least one car. 

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Most New Zealanders live in single-family houses with enough land for small flower or vegetable gardens. In the larger cities, some people live in high-rise apartment buildings. Almost all New Zealand homes have refrigerators, washing machines, and other modern electrical appliances. But few homes have air conditioning or central heating because New Zealand's weather rarely becomes extremely hot or extremely cold. In summer, New Zealanders open windows to keep their homes cool. In winter, they use electric heaters or open fires in grates to keep the homes warm. 

Although about four-fifths of the people live in urban areas, New Zealand's cities are fairly uncrowded. Bad traffic jams seldom occur, even in the city centres. New Zealand's large cities have excellent restaurants as well as many milk bars (soda fountains) and pubs (taverns). These cities also have theatres, concert halls, and other places of entertainment. City life in New Zealand tends to be rather quiet. However, this is changing in the larger cities, where international tourism has increased rapidly. 

In some rural areas of New Zealand, small settlements are linked by good roads, and so social contact is easy. But in rugged country, the nearest neighbours may be many kilometres away. As a result, some farmers live almost in isolation. Most farms have electricity to provide light and to operate appliances and machinery. Many farm families run their farms with little or no hired help. 

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New Zealanders, like people elsewhere, enjoy watching television in the evening. Almost all New Zealand homes have TV sets. The nation has three national television networks plus a pay-TV service covering major centres.

Lakes, Rivers and Waterfalls_ 
Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are found throughout New Zealand. Most of the lakes lie in  the volcanic plateau of the North Island and in glacial valleys near the Southern Alps of the South Island. The largest lake, Lake Taupo on the North Island, covers 606 square kilometres and is a holiday area famous for trout fishing. 

On both islands, the rivers rise in the mountains and flow down to the sea. Most of the rivers flow very fast and are difficult to navigate. The Waikato River on the North Island is New Zealand's longest river, flowing 425 kilometres. The Clutha River on the South Island carries the largest volume of water. The rapid flow of New Zealand's rivers makes them important sources of hydroelectric power. 

New Zealand has hundreds of waterfalls. Sutherland Falls tumbles 580 metres down a mountain near Milford Sound on the South Island. It is the fifth highest waterfall in the world.

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Food and drink
New Zealanders eat more butter and meat per person than do the people of any other country. Lamb is a favorite meat. Kumaras (sweet potatoes) may accompany lamb and other meat dishes. A special treat used to be toheroa soup, made from a native green clam. The toheroa is now a protected species. 
Tea is the favorite drink of most New Zealanders. Beer and wine are the most popular alcoholic beverages.

Transportation and communication

New Zealand has an excellent road network. Almost all New Zealand families own a car. A railway system links the main cities. Air New Zealand provides international service. Two other airlines compete for domestic air service. International airports are at Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Ferries carry passengers, cars, and railway wagons between the North Island and the South Island. Auckland and Wellington overlook fine natural harbours and have the nation's busiest seaports. Lyttelton, near Christchurch, is a major port on the South Island. 

New Zealand has about 30 daily newspapers. Auckland's New Zealand Herald has the largest circulation. The country has several television networks and a large number of radio stations. Almost every family in New Zealand owns a television set and one or more radios. Privately managed corporations operate New Zealand's postal, telephone, and telegraph services. 

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Education
New Zealand offers students a free elementary and secondary education up to age 19. The law requires children from 6 to 15 to attend school, but most youngsters enter school at 5. Many children under 5 attend free kindergartens or play centres. 

After completing primary or intermediate school, most children go on to secondary school. Secondary school children may receive special training in agriculture, home economics, technical subjects, and a wide range of other subjects. 

Some schools at all levels are operated by religious groups, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Most of these schools are part of the government-supported school system. 

School bus service, particularly in rural areas, is available for children who live beyond walking distance from school. Students who live too far from a bus route may receive instruction from the New Zealand Correspondence School in Wellington. This government-run school broadcasts daily lessons on the main radio stations. The school also mails lessons to the students, who send their homework back to the teachers. 

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New Zealand has seven universities. They are Massey University in Palmers town North; the Victoria University of Wellington; Lincoln University, near Christchurch; the University of Auckland; the University of Canterbury in Christchurch; the University of Otago in Dunedin; and the University of Waikato in Hamilton. New Zealand also has 7 teacher's training colleges and 24 polytechnic institutes, which teach applied sciences and trade and technical skills. 

Almost all of New Zealand's adult population can read and write. 

Climate
New Zealand has a mild, moist climate like that of the Pacific Northwest Coast of the United States. But New Zealand lies south of the equator, and so its seasons are opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere. July is New Zealand's coldest month, and January and February are its warmest months. New Zealand's mild climate results from ocean breezes that bring warmth to the land in winter and coolness in summer. Summer temperatures range from about 18 C to 29 C. Winter temperatures range from about 2 C to about 13 C. Rain falls throughout the year in New Zealand. The amount varies little from month to month, but some regions regularly receive much more rain than others. Throughout New Zealand, the weather shifts suddenly from sunny to rainy and back to sunny again.

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