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Portal:New Zealand

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Introduction

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New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion; it gained full statutory independence in 1947 and the British monarch remained the head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori, and NZ Sign Language, with English being very dominant.

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Ernest Rutherford2.jpg
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM PC FRS (30 August 1871 – 19 October 1937), widely referred to as Lord Rutherford, was a nuclear physicist who became known as the "father" of nuclear physics. He pioneered the orbital theory of the atom through his discovery of Rutherford scattering off the nucleus with his gold foil experiment.

Rutherford was born at Spring Grove (now Brightwater), near Nelson, New Zealand. His name was mistakenly spelt Earnest Rutherford when his birth was registered. He studied at Havelock and then Nelson College and won a scholarship to study at Canterbury College, University of New Zealand where he was president of the debating society among other things. In 1895, after gaining his BA, MA and BSc, and doing two years of research at the forefront of electrical technology, Rutherford travelled to England for postgraduate study at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge (1895–1898), and he briefly held the world record for the distance over which electromagnetic waves could be detected. During the investigation of radioactivity he coined the terms alpha and beta to describe the two distinct types of radiation emitted by thorium and uranium.

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Great Moss Swamp

The Great Moss Swamp lies in the Maniototo, close to the former gold mining route of the Old Dunstan Road, 60 kilometres to the northwest of Dunedin city centre. The swamp lies in a depression between the southwest edge of the Rock and Pillar Range and the northeastern corner of the Lammermoor Range.

Did you know...

A petrified log embedded in rocks at Curio Bay.

...that Curio Bay in the Catlins is the site of a petrified forest, buried by a volcano some 160 million years ago?

...that Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, New Zealander Alan Deere was shot down or crashed nine times?

...that English law was deemed to have taken effect in New Zealand on 14 January 1840, the date that New South Wales Governor George Gipps proclaimed his jurisdiction over New Zealand. New Zealand became a colony in its own right in 1841.

...that the mineral motukoreaite is named after one of Auckland's volcanoes, Browns Island (Motukorea in Māori), where it was first found?


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