New Zealand joined Quota International’s network in 1973.
New Zealand is a small island nation located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country consists of three islands: North Island, South Island, and tiny Stewart Island. The nation’s population numbers approximately 3.8 million people with the majority claiming British ancestry. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest metropolitan center, is home to just over one million people. The largest minority group is the indigenous Maori, which make up almost 15 percent of the total population. English and Maori are the official languages and are widely spoken throughout the country. Though small in size, the country boasts some of the most unique flora, fauna, and natural scenery in the world, including mountains, lakes, and the national symbol, the kiwi bird.
The first people to settle in New Zealand were the Maori, arriving approximately 1000 years ago from Polynesia. When Kupe, their leader, arrived on the North Island, he called it Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. This is still the name the Maori use for New Zealand to this day. The Maori had developed a complex social system of nobility, warriors, and slaves by the time the first Europeans arrived in the late seventeenth century. First arriving was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642, who promptly established a settlement in the name of the Dutch kingdom. However, the British explorer James Cook overthrew the Dutch in 1769, thus beginning New Zealand’s association with the British Commonwealth.
New Zealand officially attained status as an independent nation through the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 on February 6 (Quota’s birthday, as well!). However, New Zealanders maintain close economic and social ties with Great Britain. Those of European ancestry respect and admire the Maori culture, and together all of the ethnic groups in New Zealand in general exist harmoniously with little conflict. In fact, Maori symbols are fast becoming a part of mainstream culture, and traditional art and jewelry can be found in abundance in shops and homes in major cities and towns.
Outside of New Zealand, foreigners are probably most familiar with the delicious kiwi fruit, which has become a significant part of the country’s export economy. Many people are also familiar with the country’s spirit and outgoing nature. Kiwis (as native New Zealanders are sometimes called) are known for excelling in sports such as rugby and yachting as well as their positive outlook on life. The nation certainly has something to offer visitors from around the globe, from exploring Maori culture, hiking through New Zealand’s beautiful national parks, and getting acquainted with the islands’ unusual creatures such as seals and penguins. All of these features make New Zealand one of the most unique places to visit in the world.