Work by: Ana Paiva, Flávia Borges and Maria João.
New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Thecountry geographically comprises two main landmasses that of the North andSouth Islands and numerous smaller islands.
PoliticsNew Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy,although its constitution isn’t codified. Elizabeth II is the Queen of NewZealand and the head of state. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister.
EconomyNew Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy.
LanguageEnglish is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98 percentof the population. New Zealand English is similar to Australian English andmany speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accentsapart.
EducationPrimary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16,with the majority attending from the age of 5.There are five types of government-owned tertiary institutions: universities,colleges of education, polytechnics, specialist colleges, and wānanga, inaddition to private training establishments.
ReligionChristianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its societyis among the most secular in the world. In the 2006 Census, 55.6 percent ofthe population identified themselves as Christians, while another 34.7 percentindicated that they had no religion and around 4 percent affiliated with otherreligions.According to census figures, other significant minority religions includeHinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.
CultureEarly Māori adapted the tropicallybased east Polynesian culture inline with the challenges associatedwith a larger and more diverseenvironment, eventually developingtheir own distinctive culture. Socialorganisation was largely communalwith families (whanau), sub-tribes(hapu) and tribes (iwi) ruled by achief (rangatira) whose positionwas subject to the communitysapproval.
CultureThe British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to NewZealand and also influenced Māori culture, particularly with the introductionof Christianity. However, Māori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups asa vital part of their identity, and Māori kinship roles resemble those of otherPolynesian peoples.The largely rural life in early NewZealand led to the image of NewZealanders being rugged andindustrious problem solvers.
ArtAs part of the resurgence of Māori culture, the traditional crafts of carvingand weaving are now more widely practiced and Māori artists are increasing innumber and influence. Most Māori carvings feature human figures, generallywith three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesquehead. Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scalesdecorate most carvings.The pre-eminent Māoriarchitecture consisted ofcarved meeting housesdecorated with symboliccarvings and illustrations.These buildings wereoriginally designed to beconstantly rebuilt, changingand adapting to differentwhims or needs.
EntertainmentNew Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and rolland hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealandinterpretation. Māori developed traditional chants and songs from theirancient South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created aunique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound. Flutes and trumpets were used asmusical instruments or as signalling devices during war or special occasions.
SportsMost of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have Englishorigins. Golf, netball, tennis and cricket are the four top participatory sports,soccer is the most popular among young people and rugby union attracts themost spectators.New Zealand hascompetitive internationalteams in rugbyunion, netball, cricket, rugbyleague, and softball and hastraditionally done well intriathlons, rowing, yachtingand cycling.