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People of New Zealand

New Zealand became the melting pot that it is with a history that combines Maori, European, Pacific Island as well as Asian cultures and ethnicities. Today, 69% of those who live in New Zealand are of European descent and 14.6% are Maori, 9.2% Asian and and 6.9% and non Maori Pacific Islanders. Over 75% of the population of New Zealand live in the North Island.

Let’s take a look at who the early settlers were that made the country as unique as it is today:

  • Early Settlers:

These early voyageurs came to New Zealand many centuries ago. The Maori people traveled thousands of miles across the unfamiliar Pacific Ocean while the rest of Europe was concerned about physically falling off of the Earth. This was a brave journey for the Maori to take as they only had ocean canoes. They became the first inhabitants of New Zealand. Since that day, this culture is a core and crucial part of New Zealand’s culture and identity.

  • The pioneers:

The Europeans were the next people to settle in the country and were also brave as they came, cleared the land, which was both time consuming and dangerous task. There was snow, wind and other natural elements that made this task so difficult. Once the land was cleared, they were able to create farms and settlements. Their innovation and entrepreneurship made New Zealand even better. The qualities and ingenuity displayed by these pioneers are part of the businesses, entrepreneurs and overall innovative and forward thinking mindset of the country that remains today.

  • Ingenuity:

Kiwis are notorious for discovering and inventing things, many of which were quite literally backyard ideas. Some of the top innovations that have come out of a kiwi backyard include frozen meat, the Hamilton Jet boat, the bungee jump, electric fences, the fastest motorbike in the world, as well as vacuum pumps.

Maori Language Comeback

The Maori language is making a well-deserved comeback in New Zealand. The language is also commonly referred to, or known as, “te reo” which translates to “the language”. It is a Polynesian language that has, for ages, been spoken by the Maori people. The Maori are the native people of New Zealand. This language has been so significant in the history of the country, that it has been an official language since 1987. Despite its importance, the number of people who speak, or are fluent in, the language has been steadily declining since about World War II. New Zealand, however, was not about to let the language die, and therefore a language revitalisation effort came to fruition and has been on the radar, and in the forefront, since about 2015.

In 2013, only about 3.7% of New Zealand’s population could actually speak conversational Maoriabout ordinary things. In 2015, however, 55% of the population indicated some knowledge of the language. Of this 55%, over 64% speak it at home, and about 50000 can speak it (self-proclaimed) very well. This indicates that these restoration and revitalisation efforts have been successful thus far.

There was no real writing system established when the Maori language originally came to fruition. Various missionaries brought the Latin Alphabet around 1814, which was adopted and systematised around 1820. Phonetic spellings were the result, which proved successful, and since then the written Maori language has not changed, with short and long vowels being differentiated using a macron.

The efforts to revitalise the language have come in different forms. Schools have implemented the language into their learning and curriculum at an elementary age. Adults can access learning through programmes and classes offered by experts and locals. There is also access to learning not just the language, but why it is crucial.

Birds in New Zealand

Before there were humans in New Zealand, there were animals and loud ones at that! There were initially a lot of birds, but wings became unnecessary for some, as they did not have predators that they needed to fly away from. The kakapo parrot, the takahe and the moa (which is now extinct) are all examples of flightless birds. The Maori and Europeans brought with them predators to these birds, such as rats and other animals. These predators, combined with the lessening and loss of habitat, led to a number of these birds becoming extinct, or, at the very least, lessened in number.

New Zealand’s national symbol is actually one of these flightless birds. It has nostrils on the end of the beak and is called the kiwi. The kiwi is endangered, and hard to find in nature. Many kiwi houses exist at zoos, parks and preservation locations, to prevent them from becoming extinct. These birds require experts to handle them, as they can be extremely dangerous and territorial; if you do happen to see a kiwi in the wild, do not approach it.

Other birds native to New Zealand include:

  • The kea is one of the most intelligent birds in the entire world. These birds are known to be playful, sometimes to the point that they can be a nuisance to humans. For example, they will attack houses or cars, just to steal some rubber
  • The weka is actually cute as far as birds go. It is also a flightless bird and is known to take, and hoard, shiny objects
  • The takahe is known for its indigo feathers that contrast with its red beak
  • The tui has a natural collar and has a song that could make you melt
  • The morepork owl got its name from its call, that is heard most often after the sun goes down

A Giant Squid washed up in New Zealand

Did you know that New Zealand has some of the coolest and most interesting wildlife? From seals to monkeys and everything in between. Scientists, divers, and nature lovers alike actually continue to discover and explore new and unfamiliar species all the time.

Recently, as a matter of fact, a group of divers found a massive, some would say creepy, squid on the shores of a New Zealand beach. Based on the pictures they posted, they were easily half the size of this giant squid.

The squid was discovered on August 25, 2018 when a group of divers were exploring the South coast of Wellington trying to find a nice spot to go spear fishing nearby. Instead of a spot to go spearfishing, they came across a giant, dead, completely intact squid.

The divers went out to dive and when they came back, decided to measure the squid and when they did, they measured it to be 4.2 meters, which is the equivalent to 13 feet long. Upon reporting it to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, the divers likely came across what is known as a Giant Squid, or, by its scientific name Architeuthis dux. This type of squid differs in many ways from the colossal squid.

This has prompted many people’s curiosity in New Zealand, more than ever before, about what lies below the NZ ocean’s surface and it becomes evident that we haven’t come close to discovering all the species that live in and out of the water, especially in the natural wonderland that is New Zealand. There are many groups that work together to continue to preserve, protect and understand these complex ecosystems to keep them safe and ensure that we are not disrupting the natural order of the world and the creatures that live in it.

Geology and Geothermal Activity in New Zealand

New Zealand does not lack in the geology and natural landscape department. From glaciers to fjords, tall mountains and flat, vast plains, you will find what you’re looking for, regarding Mother Nature’s best work. Don’t forget the volcanoes, beaches, and tropical forests.

The North Island has, what is known as a spine of mountains, that runs almost entirely down the centre, with farms and plains on either side. The centre of the North Island is consumed by the Volcanic Plateau, which is an active volcano, surrounded by thermal land.

The South Island is known best for the Southern Alps, which form the core of this island. The South Island also features the agriculturally rich Otago farmland, and Southland, as well as the Canterbury Plains.

So where did all of this start? It has been discovered, and documented, that the oldest rocks in New Zealand date back over 500 million years. They made up Gondwanaland, which was a giant supercontinent that broke up over 160 million years ago, and New Zealand separated over 85 million years ago. Currently, New Zealand actually sits on two of the Earth’s fifteen tectonic plates; both the Pacific and the Australian. Given that these two plates are almost always shifting, there is a lot of geological action in New Zealand. This includes the fantastic geothermal hot springs which supply electricity and heating. For those seeking to explore the best of the geothermal action, visit Rotura, as it is the central spot for this activity. Rotura features mud pools and geysers, as well as hot springs, and a smell that is unlike anything else, leading to its name of Sulphur City. Traditionally, these thermal springs were used by the Maori people for bathing and cooking.

The geothermal activity and the geology of New Zealand are indeed one of a kind.

Different Casinos in New Zealand

If gambling in a casino isn’t your thing, isn’t accessible or seems like a lot of work, New Zealand allows and has several different online gambling platform such as gamblers.co.nz which is only one of many. This offers a more accessible experience. Both on and offline gambling is a somewhat controversial topic and whether it should be encouraged or not is up for discussion.

There are five land based casinos that operate in New Zealand. Let’s take a look at each:

  • Dunedin Casino; This casino has been around since 1999 and is located in, you guessed it, Dunedin. The Gambling commission suspended their gambling license briefly in 2006 after it was brought to light that a woman gambled over $6.5 million over three years, something that is not ethical or legal.
  • Christchurch Casino; This casino is located in the city of Christchurch. It is one of the biggest in the country and was opened in 1994. At the time that it opened, it was the first in the country. There are over 500 slot machines and over 34 table games. In addition, if you are hungry or thirsty, there are three restaurants and two bars. You do have to be 20 to enter.
  • SkyCity Auckland; This is both a casino and event centre located in the Business District of Auckland. It was the second casino that opened in the country and still remains the only one in Auckland. There are over 1600 gaming machines and 100 tables but also a theatre that seats over 700 people, 12 different restaurants and bars and even two hotels.
  • SKYCITY Hamilton; This casino and event location opened in 2002 and is owned by SkyCity. The complex is a casino, 9 restaurants, a function centre and a bowling alley all in one.
  • SKYCITE Queenstown; Since 2000 this casino has been serving the Queenstown area. It has 8 tab;le games, 86 machines and even more in the VIP lounge.

History of New Zealand

The history of New Zealand is an interesting and rich story full of twists, turns and important events that have made the country what it is today.

The Māori were the first settlers in New Zealand. They called the land Aotearoa, which translates to the land of the long white cloud. They came around 1000 years ago and it is believed that they traveled in canoes all the way from Hawaiki.

Shortly after that, Abel Tasman (a name common in the country today) became the first European to lay roots in the country. Despite the existence of both the Māori and Tasman, who were the native peoples of the region, the British came in to make New Zealand part of their ever growing empire and who colonized the country now known as New Zealand.

Fast forward to 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed which marked an agreement between the Māori and the British. It is now considered to be the founding document of New Zealand and established British law within New Zealand. It is probably one of the country’s most important documents of all time. It is such an important event that the building where the treaty was signed sees hundreds of visitors and tourists each year.

To this day, you can find traces of Māori culture sprinkled throughout the country. From art exhibits to architecture, there is reminders of the important history of New Zealand in almost every town across the country from coast to coast. The country has evolved to become and remains a culturally diverse place with people from different backgrounds and with different stories coming together in a peaceful and unique nation with so much to offer. The country keeps some of its ties to the British rule and empire, but has proudly established itself as an independent and sovereign nation.

All About Pokies

Gambling in New Zealand is the responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs. The interesting part of gambling in New Zealand is that in the case of public gambling, a portion of all profits made by operators are required to go back to the community. With that said, most of the industry is owned and operated by state owned organizations or institutions. Billions of dollars are spent by players on gambling each year both online at places like JackpotCity and offline at physical pokie machines.

One big part of the industry is what is known commonly as “pokies” which to the rest of the world are known as slot machines. These pokies are normally found in hotels and bars and are operated by charities or charitable organizations. The jackpots and amount of money that you can win on these machines is regulated. The ratios are relatively favourable. For example, in 2008, of the 10.1 billion dollar turnover, 9.1 billion was returned as prizes. Pokies are accountable for almost 50% of gambling expenditure. The expenditure has decreased overall.

New regulations have now laid out requirements that all machines must include Player Information Displays which tells a player what they have spent, how long they have been playing and also offer healthy reminders like when and how frequently to take breaks. This helps keep players gamble in a healthy and productive way and mitigate risks associated with gambling such as addiction, financial loss, and mental health issues.

These slot machines or pokies actually have been linked to crime levels and rates and therefore can be considered a contentious or controversial topic by some. Despite this however, since 2013, SkyCity Auckland has been given the green light by the government to install over 230 pokie machines as well as 40 new gambling tables with the hefty price tag of a convention centre worh around $400 million dollars.

Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand is very different from driving in the United States. Here are some of the main rules of the road to help you be great driver in New Zealand:

  • Drive on the left hand side of the road.

New Zealand drive on the left hand side of the road which means the driver sits on the right. This can be hard to get used to. One way to keep yourself in line is to make sure that your body as the driver is in the middle of road and your passenger should be on the edge of the road.

  • Stay Alert;

The driver must always stay alert and not let themselves get too tired. If you are jet lagged, tired after a long day or not prepared to drive, then take a break, take a rest or have someone else drive. Be safe and be smart, especially when in a different country.

  • Many New Zealand roads are windy, steep or narrow.

A variety of conditions make the roads in New Zealand a little tricky, even for those who live in the country and frequent the roads. This means that for tourists, visitors and those new to the area, these roads can be dangerous, hard to manoeuvre and require a lot of focus and attention as well as confidence.

  • Drive sober;

Make sure not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol for your own safety, the safety of others in the car as well as the safety of others on the road. Be aware of your state and make sure to make a backup plan in the event that you have or may have had too much to drink

  • Have emergency numbers in your phone.

This is a good idea in case you break down in a rural area or you require immediate assistance.

New Zealand Lottery

Lotteries in New Zealand are different than a lot of other places. People play the lottery for the same reasons as other countries, including to win money and for charitable purposes. The lottery is something that should be played responsibly and those who choose to play should, like with any gambling activity, should know their limits and play within them.

The NZ lotteries commission was established in 1987. The Lotto was the first product of the commission and since there have been several scratch tickets created as well as formal lottery tickets. There are also online casinos and lotteries such as the River Belle App that are regulated by the comission as well.

The lottery in New Zealand dates back as far as 1877 with the Otago Art Society’s Art Union which was used as a way of raising funds from both individuals and organizations. It was created and continued to be used and executed for years after.

Following the Art Union, there was a national lottery that was established in 1933. This national lottery was still known as an Art Union. The prizes were small and, in the very early days, the prizes were gold, not cash. For example, the art union called the Golden Treasure, which was held in 1935 had a £2000 grand prize, with over 11 other smaller prizes to be won and even 400 very small prizes. As lotteries became more popular around the world and the prizes in these national lotteries remained small and somewhat underwhelming, New Zealand residents started illegally purchasing tickets in larger lotteries overseas. The Australian Tattersall lottery was a popular choice among kiwis. Art Union sales started to decline as a result, there was a review of the Second Labour Government in the late 1950’s and then the Golden Kiwi lottery was created.