Who are the Maori?

The Maori are the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand. Around the ninth century, the Maori arrived in New Zealand from other Pacific Islands. In 1769 there were over 100,000 Maori, but their population decreased significantly (to 40,000) by the end of the nineteenth century, due to European colonization. In the twentieth century, the

Maori population has expanded to 632,000 in New Zealand, with another 73,000 living in Australia. Maoris now comprise 15 percent of New Zealand's population.

What is Aotearoa?

Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand. It means "The Land of the Long White Cloud."

What is the Royal Flying Doctor Service?

Created in 1928, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a charity organization established to provide health care and

A circa 1890, nineteenth-century painting of a Maori woman, the indigenous people of New Zealand (image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library).

A circa 1890, nineteenth-century painting of a Maori woman, the indigenous people of New Zealand (image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library).

A view of the terrain in Wanaka on New Zealand

A view of the terrain in Wanaka on New Zealand's South Island (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

emergency services to the sparse population of Australia's outback. With 38 aircraft, the RFDS averages over 80 flights a day, helping more than 135,000 people per year.

Are there more people or sheep in New Zealand?

There are just over four million people in New Zealand, but nearly 56 million sheep. New Zealand has long been a leading exporter of wool.

Can you ski in New Zealand?

New Zealand's South Island is famous for having some of the best skiing in the southern hemisphere. The center of New Zealand skiing is Queenstown, which is a few hours by plane from capital city, Auckland. Ski season is July through September, when winter hits the countries of the southern latitudes.

Who are Kiwis?

One nickname for a New Zealander is "Kiwi," but kiwis are also a flightless bird and a type of fruit found in New Zealand. Kiwi birds, a national icon of New Zealand, have long thin beaks and lay eggs larger in proportion to their body size than any other bird. Most of the world's supply of kiwi fruit is also grown in New Zealand.

What is ANZUS?

In 1951, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States signed the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) Treaty to protect each other militarily. In 1986, New Zealand banned nuclear weapons from its country and thereafter refused to allow U.S. nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships to dock in its harbors. New Zealand was summarily excluded from the Treaty.

What was the Rainbow Warrior?

In 1985, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was in the Auckland, New Zealand, harbor when it exploded and sank, killing one Greenpeace staff member. It was later discovered that French secret agents planted bombs onboard the Rainbow Warrior in order to stop the organization from protesting French nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific. Following the incident, the French minister of defense and head of the secret service were forced to resign. New Zealand, a country very much opposed to nuclear weapons, maintained a poor relationship with France for many years following the bombing.

Which country was the world's first welfare state?

In 1936, New Zealand became the world's first welfare state by offering its citizens full social security and health benefits.

Which country first granted women the right to vote?

In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote.


How thick is Antarctica's ice?

Most of the ice in Antarctica is approximately one mile thick. Over 80 percent of the world's freshwater is stored in ice in Antarctica. Some have suggested that large chunks of ice be cut off from Antarctica and shipped to dry regions of the world, but this has yet to be done.

What time is it in Antarctica?

People based on the many research stations of Antarctica generally observe Greenwich Mean Time—that is, the same time zone as London, England.

Icebergs drift by a huge glacier in Antarctica.

Icebergs drift by a huge glacier in Antarctica.

Which continent has the highest average elevation?

The average elevation of Antarctica, approximately 8,000 feet (2,438 meters), is higher than that of any other continent. The highest point in Antarctica is Vinson Massif, with an elevation of 16,860 feet (5,139 meters).

How dry is Antarctica?

Though Antarctica is covered with ice, it is the driest continent on the planet. The ice in Antarctica has been there for thousands of years, and the continent receives less than two inches (5 centimeters) of precipitation annually—the Sahara Desert receives 10 inches (25 centimeters) each year.

Who owns Antarctica?

Though Antarctica is a cold, icy, barren territory, seven countries claimed portions of it in the early twentieth century. All of these claims were defined by lines of longitude, and problems arose as many of these claims overlapped. In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was established, proclaiming that no additional claims could be made upon Antarctica and that the continent would be used solely for scientific purposes.

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