Portal:New Zealand

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THE NEW ZEALAND PORTAL

Flag of New Zealand
Coat of Arms of New Zealand
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New Zealand (Aotearoa in te reo Māori) is a country of two large islands and many much smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. Among South Pacific nations, New Zealand has the largest and most industrialised economy and is second only to Papua New Guinea in population. New Zealand is notable for its isolation, being separated from Australia on the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2,000 km wide. The closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand is the Queen of New Zealand and is represented in the country by the non-partisan Governor-General. De facto political power is held by Prime Minister John Key who, as Head of the Government, requires the confidence of the democratically elected New Zealand House of Representatives. The Realm of New Zealand includes the self-governing Cook Islands and Niue, as well as Tokelau and New Zealand's claims in Antarctica.

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MetrosiderosAK.jpg
The Pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) is a coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that produces a brilliant display of red flowers made up of a mass of stamens. The Pōhutukawa is one of twelve Metrosideros species endemic to New Zealand.

The tree grows up to 20 metres (66 ft) in height, with a dome-like spreading form. Its natural range is the coastal regions of the North Island of New Zealand, north of a line stretching from New Plymouth (39° S) to Gisborne (38° S). It also grows on the shores of lakes in the Rotorua area. A giant Pōhutukawa at Te Araroa on the East Coast is reputed to be the largest in the country, with a height of 20 metres and a spread of 38 metres (125 ft). The tree is renowned as a cliff-dweller, able to maintain a hold in precarious, near-vertical situations. Some specimens have matted, fibrous aerial roots. Like its Hawaiian relative the ʻōhiʻa lehua (M. polymorpha), the Pōhutukawa has shown itself to be efficient in the colonisation of lava plains – notably on Rangitoto, a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf.

The Pōhutukawa flowers from November to January with a peak in mid to late December (the southern hemisphere summer), with brilliant crimson flowers covering the tree, hence the nickname New Zealand Christmas Tree.

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Geothermic craters at Craters of the Moon in Taupo, New Zealand.

Craters of the Moon is a small but highly active geothermal field covering about 50,000 m², close to State Highway 1 a few kilometres north of Taupo, New Zealand. There are numerous steam vents, constantly shifting, collapsing and reforming, giving the whole area desolate appearance, hence the name. There are also some bubbling thermal mud pools.

Did you know...

...that William Bambridge, the father of England Football international Charles Bambridge was a member of the Te Waimate mission, New Zealand who became official photographer to Queen Victoria?

...that the New Zealand Railways Department's experimental RM class Westinghouse railcar was the first railcar to enter revenue service in New Zealand?

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