New Zealand is an island country in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The country consists of two main landmasses- the North Island and the South Island. In addition, there are six hundred small islands. New Zealand is situated one and a half thousand kilometres east of Australia, across the Tasman sea. It is roughly a thousand kilometres on the south of Fiji, New Caledonia and Tonga. The country has a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The capital of New Zealand is Wellington, but its most populous city is Auckland.
New Zealand is located near the water hemisphere, and is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller ones. These main islands, known as the North Island and the South Island, are separated by Cook Strait, which is twenty-two kilometres wide at its narrowest point. The other smaller islands are Stewart Island, Chatham Island, Great Barrier Island, d’Urville Island and Waiheke Island. The country’s total land area is two hundred and sixty-eight thousand square kilometres. Because of the far-flung outlying islands that the country has a part of itself, New Zealand has extensive marine resources. It has an exclusive economic zone, which is one of the largest in the world. The Southern Island is the largest landmass of the country, and the twelfth largest in the world. Throughout its length, it is divided by the Southern Alps. The North Island is the fourteenth largest island in the world, and is full of volcanos. The Taupo Volcanic Zone has formed a large volcanic plateau. This plateau also has Lake Taupo, which is the country’s largest lake. The country’s climate is mostly temperate maritime. Conditions vary sharply across regions, however.
Getting around the country is quite affordable. Local bus fares vary for each city, but prices are generally around 3 NZD for an adult (less if you purchase metrocards). The intercity bus system is quite inexpensive, and the Naked Bus (it is just the name) has promotional fares for 1 NZD if you book far in advance. Otherwise, most fares are about 20 NZD, though they may be slightly more if one plans to travel longer distances. For example, the long Auckland to Wellington trip will cost around 40 NZD. Bike rentals are available in most cities, with daily rentals costing around 15 NZD per person (which generally includes a helmet and lock). Flying can be expensive since there is not a lot of competition among airlines there. One needs to book two to three months in advance for the best flight deals. There are also backpacker hop on/hop off buses. They are expensive and cost between 200 – 800 NZD, but include a lot of activities, and are a fun way to meet other people.
Christianity is the predominant religion in the country. However, the people of New Zealand have the reputation of being one of the most secular in the world. In a recent survey, forty-nine percent of the country’s citizens identified themselves as Christians, whereas fifty-five percent of the population identified themselves with one or more religions. Among Christians, Roman Catholics constitute twelve percent of the population, Anglicans eleven percent, and Presbyterians nine percent. Apart from Christians, there are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Sikhs in New Zealand.
Politics and Economy:
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The constitution of New Zealand is not codified. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand, and the Head of the State. In the country, the Governor-General, who is appointed by her with the advice of the Prime Minister, represents the Queen. The Governor-General has certain powers, but those are limited by constitutional constraints, and cannot be exercised without the advice of the ministers. The parliament of New Zealand consists of the Queen and the House of Representatives. The Legislative Council, or the Upper House, was abolished in 1950. The parliamentary general elections take place every three years, and since 1996, the proportional voting system is used. The National and Labour parties are the two dominant political parties. New Zealand is one of the most stable and well-governed countries in the world, with the highest level of transparency and the lowest level of corruption.
New Zealand is a high-income economy. Its currency is the New Zealand dollar. The country is ranked thirteenth in the human development index. The country has been through many ups and downs in the last fifty years, but recently, due to brain gains, which has brought educated professionals from Europe and less developed country, New Zealand’s economy is soaring. The country has lately become a liberalised and free economy.
An international student can plan to study abroad New Zealand, after passing high school in his or home country. This is the basic requirement. One can plan to graduate from the country, or Masters, or any other post-graduate degree programmes. One can work in the country while studying, and after completion of the course. In many universities, the tuition is free, and the courses are conducted in English. This is especially advantageous for Indian students. Besides, New Zealand is a beautiful country, with exotic summers. For more information and tips, and to get the answers to the how and why, please feel free to get in touch with us!
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