By Tourism New Zealand · September 2021
New Zealand is a land of diverse regions and landscapes that stretches across two main and several small offshore islands. From the subtropical and volcanic north, to the majestic Southern Alps, there’s something for everyone. A multicultural nation made up of vibrant and embracing cultures, Kiwis pride themselves in the warm welcome, or manaakitanga, travelers receive when visiting Aotearoa.
New Zealand’s friendly and down-to-earth people will be one of the things you treasure most about your visit. With a patchwork history of Māori, European, Pacific Island and Asian cultures, New Zealand has become a melting-pot population with a shared passion for welcoming visitors.
Māori are the tangata whenua, the indigenous people, of New Zealand. They came here more than 1000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. Today, Māori make up 14% of our population and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.
As a visitor to New Zealand, you can experience Māori culture by visiting a marae with an organized tour, watching a carving or weaving demonstration, or learning about fascinating myths and legends from passionate Māori guides.
Today, of the roughly 4.8 million New Zealanders (informally known as Kiwis), approximately 69% are of European descent, 14% are indigenous Māori, 9.2% are Asian, and 6.9% are non-Māori Pacific Islanders. Find out more about culture here.
Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches – New Zealand has it all. One of the best things about visiting New Zealand is the variety of activities and landscapes you can pack into a relatively short visit (no place in New Zealand is more than 80 miles from the coast!). In New Zealand one journey leads to another.
The North Island of New Zealand has a 'spine' of mountain ranges running through the middle, with gentle rolling farmland on both sides. North of Auckland is the Bay of Islands, known by Kiwis as the ‘winterless north,’ an area famed for its white sand beaches, isolated coves, and hundreds of small offshore islands making it a sailing paradise. The central North Island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area, rich with Māori culture spoilt with dramatic scenery.
The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. To the east of the Southern Alps is the rolling farmland of Otago and Southland, and the vast, flat Canterbury Plains. Find out more about climate here.
Fresh and vibrant, New Zealand food and wine is some of the best in the world. Expect to indulge in plenty of seafood (like green-lipped mussels, crayfish (lobster), Bluff oysters, and fresh fish), award-winning cheeses and, of course, fabulous wine including Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which made New Zealand famous. Discover local delicacies at any number of the bustling farmers markets around the country, get your caffeine fix at our sophisticated cafes, and visit one of many craft breweries. You should expect a laidback, friendly atmosphere wherever you eat; Kiwis love to keep things casual. Find out more about New Zealand’s food and wine offerings here.
From meeting friendly locals, to getting out in nature exploring the range of national parks, to wining and dining in the country’s many restaurants and wineries, New Zealand is the perfect destination for your next vacation. Now is the perfect time to start planning what your New Zealand vacation will look like. Touch base with your Ensemble travel advisor to learn more.
For more information about New Zealand, visit https://www.newzealand.com/us/.
Image Credit: MarlboroughNZ
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