New Zealand

    New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, just south of Australia. The country is not part of Australia and has never been (many people make that error), but it has been its own country since the late 19th century. Before then, the country was actually considered to be part of the United Kingdom, and was under the laws and jurisdiction of the crown. New Zealand is actually a number of smaller islands, with two main islands (the North Island, also called Te Ika-a-Māui by the natives, and the South Island, also called Te Waipounamu) that comprise most of the land area of the country.

    Nature
    The reason that many people enjoy going to New Zealand is because of its biodiversity. There are a number of plants, animals, and fungi that reside throughout the country, mainly because of the fact that there were no humans on the island until 1250 AD. The Europeans did not even arrive until 1642, well after the Americas and other countries were discovered by them. This isolation allowed nature to thrive much longer than it did on other continents where there was more human influence.
    There are literally hundreds of animals that you can find throughout New Zealand that you cannot find anywhere else in the world, especially in terms of birds and marine life (mammals, fish). The only mammals that are native to the country are bats; other animals that you find were brought into the country when people came in and immigrated into the area. The country actually has a number of laws and regulations in place in order to keep the animals in and around the country safe from poaching and other illegal activities. You can find more information about this from the Department of Conservation website.
    The country of New Zealand has a varied topography as well. From the high mountains and volcanoes, to the beaches and forests, these islands offer a number of amazing and beautiful views that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. There are areas of fertile farmland in the northern areas of the country, and some of the southern areas even have glaciers. On the south island alone, you will find that there are beautiful beaches on the south side, but as you move further north the beaches become more rocky and jagged. There are very few places in the world that you can find so many different types of biospheres in such a small spac

    History
    The history of New Zealand is quite varied. As mentioned above, there were no humans on the islands until at least 1250 AD. It is thought to be one of the last major land areas that humans arrived to. The first population was from Polynesian settlers, which had arrived through a number of travels across the Pacific Ocean. They developed a culture that is called the Māori. The Māori, like most indigenous people, had tribes and subtribes that lived throughout the islands; they would work together on certain tasks, but there was also infighting between the tribes.
    In 1642, a Dutch explorer named Abel Tasman arrived to New Zealand, bringing potatoes and muskets with him. As more Europeans brought these items, there started to be a lot of discomfort between the tribes of the Māori. The culmination was the Musket Wars, where over three thousand battles were fought throughout New Zealand between the tribes. Shortly after, in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed; this resulted in New Zealand coming under the British crown as a British colony.
    After this, the Māori started to lose a lot of their land and their rights. Political reform, the New Zealand wars, and incredible amounts of immigrants resulted in much of the Māori land being lost to the new Europeans. Like the United States, most of this country has European roots, even though the Māori population holds strong with being the most common minority found there. In recent years, more advancement have been made in order to help the Māori people get their rights back, and they actually enjoy a number of different benefits from the government and the educational system. English, Māori, and New Zealand sign languages are the “official” languages of the country, but there are literally dozens of languages spoken throughout the country.

    Government
    Even though the country went under the authority of the crown of the United Kingdom in 1853, the country has governed itself since 1853. The Queen of England is still the head of state, with a representative known as the Governor-General representing her in the country, but the government is parliamentary. The Governor-General, at this point, is only a formal role unless the government is having issues or is upheaval; then he or she has the right to step in and make decisions.

    The Prime Minister is not voted in through a traditional vote, rather, he or she is chosen because they are the leader of the party that controls most of the Parliament after a general election. This doesn’t always happen, there are a couple of cases that the Prime Minister has been another member of the majority party, but it is usually how it works. The Governor-General can dismiss the Prime Minister is there is something wrong in the system. The Prime Minister has a Cabinet that he or she sets up after the election has completed, and that is the executive part of the government.
    The country is separated into 16 regions. 11 of those regions are run by the top tier of local government, called the regional council. 5 of them are run by territorial authorities.
    The 16 regions include the following:
    • Northland
    • Auckland
    • Waikato
    • Bay of Plenty
    • Gisborne
    • Hawke’s Bay
    • Taranaki
    • Manawatu-Wanganui
    • Wellington
    • Tasman
    • Nelson
    • Marlborough
    • West Coast
    • Canterbury
    • Otago
    • Southland
    The people in these two levels of government have a number of basic responsibilities, including the following.
    • Planning ahead, for management of any natural and/or physical resources that the government would have to take care of for the region.
    • If there is something that the land is going to be changed or used, the regional council will oversee and plan for those changes.
    • Conservation planning, including soil, water, prevention of natural hazards, etc.
    • Control and care of coastal marine areas.
    • Water relocating and changing, including taking, using, and redirecting water (including the development of dams). This can also include preventing flooding.
    • Controlling contaminants and hazardous resources. Also includes pests.
    • Civil defense and preservation.
    • Planning and development of public transportation.

    As you can see, the local government does not have a lot of “governmental” power. Instead, they are given a lot of the civil responsibilities, so that the Parliament, lead by the Prime Minister, can take care of the governmental responsibilities that affect the entire country. Because the country is so young, many of the governmental responsibilities are constantly shifting and being reassigned. So even though this is current right now, new laws may be put into place that change a few things. You can also find more information out about the current government from the New Zealand government website.
    Overall, New Zealand is a very interesting and exciting country. From its topography, to its history, to its government, things are always changing. The fact that it is such a young country that has had human populations for less than 1000 years helps to keep it the way that it is. Things are always changing, and there are always new things to see and learn. These reasons alone, along with the steady economy, make it a great choice if you are looking for somewhere to study other than your home country (we explore why you should study in New Zealand a bit more in our why study in New Zealand section).

    Why Study in New Zealand?

    New Zealand, although it is the same size as Japan or Great Britain, but there are a lot of reasons that you should consider going there for your studies abroad. Many people will call natives of the country “Kiwis,” after the bird that only resides there and nowhere else in the entire world. There are a number of reasons that you should consider studying in New Zealand instead of considering other countries; that’s what we’re going to look at in this section of our website.

    1. The people
    Kiwis are some of the most amazing, loving, and welcoming people that you will ever meet. If you are a stranger, a native New Zealander is going to treat you like you are a friend. They are used to meeting new people, first because they travel a lot themselves, and also because a lot of people come to visit New Zealand as well. The culture on the islands is quite laid back and easy going, as well. So you’re not going to feel tense like you would if you went to a large city like London or New York City to study. There are just over 4 million people who reside on the country, and it is one of the safest places to live in the world. Another cool thing about the people is that there are so many different kinds of people. For being such a small country, the diversity is greater than you see in many European countries.

    2. The stability
    Some people say that, because the country is in a small corner of the world that doesn’t really get bothered by anyone, that New Zealand seems to be secluded from the rest of the world. This isn’t true at all. As mentioned above, the people are really welcoming to outsiders. But, it can also be a great thing! The economy is actually incredibly stable, the cost of living is low, and the government is more stable (and less argumentative) than the governments that you will see in other countries. This is probably the reason that immigration is embraced, which we will talk about more in some of our later points.

    3. The Weather
    Nothing can get better than the weather in New Zealand. The winters are mild, with temperatures around 10ºC (50ºF) and slightly wet. In higher altitudes, you will see snow, but it’s not common in lower altitudes. In the summers, the climate is warm and dry with temperatures around 25ºC (77ºF). As you would expect in the southern hemisphere, the summer lasts from December to February; winter lasts from June to August. Spring and fall are similar, with cooler temperatures and little rain.

    4. The educational system
    This is the number one reason to go anywhere for school, but New Zealand is amazing for their educational system. First, the tuition is some of the lowest in the world. You get a British-based education (due to their British influences) for a percentage of the cost. The degrees are recognized around the world as being up-to-date and practical. You will get a high quality, hands on education that you deserve. The New Zealand even goes so far as to checking each and every course, program, and certificate for quality so that they can be recognized around the world as high-quality education. Not only that, but the support services for international students are among the best in the world. They have a lot of expertise and experience in helping international students so that they can succeed in their programs.

    5. Never run out of things to do
    This is an amazing opportunity for anyone who looks for adventure. In New Zealand, there are literally thousands of things to do.

    Do you like to hike? There are plenty of mountains for you to explore. Do you enjoy being a beach bum? Then you get to enjoy the beaches throughout the year. Want some excitement? There are always new things to do . The scenery is different depending on where you go; you could drive an hour and have a completely different geography. We’ll look at this more in our sports and recreation section.

    6. Work opportunities
    There are plenty of work opportunities available for international students. On a student visa, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week through the semester; during vacations you can work up to 40 hours. So, instead of having to worry about finances, you get to supplement your education with income. You may even be able to nab internships and other practical work. The international studies office at your university can help you find a job to sustain you during your time in New Zealand. Another great thing is that you can get a permit at the end of your degree program and work for 12 months in the country under a special “work permit” that is alongside your student visa, which is what we’ll look at closer in the last point.

    7. Ease of visa acquisition and residency
    The visa acquisition process is incredibly simple, and unlike many other countries, you will not be rejected right away. You get to talk to people and tell them your side of the story if there is something that may prevent you from getting a visa to come into the country. If you can explain why you’ve decided to go down there and your international studies program helps you to create a Statement of Purpose (a statement you give to the visa officer to tell them why you are coming to New Zealand to study), you will usually get a visa. The country is welcome to immigration, more so than almost any other country in the world. The last advantage is that, after you graduate, as mentioned above, you can work in the country for up to a year. If the job you are working at is related to the degree that you received, you can actually apply to get permanent residency, which you will most likely get within 6 months of your application. We look at visa acquisition and residency more in our Visa and Passport section.
    Now do you see why there are over 100,000 people who go and study in New Zealand every single year? Will you join them and become an honorary Kiwi while getting your education in a beautiful and unique country like New Zealand? Then keep looking around our site; we can help you determine how to move forward with the application process and how to choose the right school for you. We want to give you everything that you need in order to help you to make the best decision on this site.

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