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The Realm of New Zealand is made up of the North and South islands (separated by the narrow Cook Strait) and many smaller islands; including Stewart Island to the south of South Island.
The National plant of New Zealand is the Pohutukawa and the National bird is the Kiwi.
The first European to reach the islands was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, in 1642 when the name New Zealand was given them by a Dutch cartographer.
Captain James Cook visited in 1769 and claimed the islands for Great Britain. It was almost another 75 years before the British government formally annexed New Zealand.
According to Maori tradition, Kupe first discovered the North Island 1,000 years before Tasman and called it Aotearoa, or Land of the Long White Cloud.
In November 1995, Queen Elizabeth II went to New Zealand, in her capacity as head of state, to give official royal assent to the returning of seized lands by the settlers in the 1860's, and a formal apology to the Maori people for wrongs committed by British colonial forces.
Getting around New Zealand, and other information for tourists.
Immigrating to New Zealand:
Whether you want to go to New Zealand to work or study, the New Zealand Immigration Service explains Government Immigration Policy.
New Zealand's cities and towns.
The official gateway to New Zealand Government provides an overview of New Zealand and its government, access to government services information, and contact details if you want to e-mail a Minister or give the government your opinion.
New Zealand's North and South Islands.
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Pacific region.
New Zealand Travel Tips
New Zealand's anti-smoking regulations means that you can not smoke in any public building, including bars and restaurants.
Not everyone can just stick out a thumb and hitch-hike around Australia and New Zealand, but budget travellers can still discover the North and South Islands on the cheap by hiring a campervan; saving on accommodation costs in the bargain.
New Zealand Campervan Rentals:
Spaceships Campers offer a versatile, compact, fun and fuel efficient way to travel around the North and South islands of New Zealand. There's also a friendly community of Space Travellers, or Space Mates, ready to swap DVDs and offer travel tips.
New Zealand Travel Notes
New Zealand Travel Guides
The Travel Notes Online Guide to Travel helps visitors plan their trip with country and city travel guides, local tourist information, reviewed web sites, and regular travel articles.
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