New Zealand (Aotearoa) — The Land of the Long White Cloud
INTERESTING FACTS: The Maori people, the Polynesian natives of New Zealand, are known as great navigators. Kupe, one of the first to discover New Zealand, named it Aotearoa, or "land of the long white cloud." The Maoris were not only fierce warriors (using pukana, or the protruding tongue, as a form of intimidation and a distraction to their enemies), but they are also skilled craftsmen, creating beautiful carvings and painted wooden rafters in their buildings to tell stories and record their genealogies.
LOCATION: Approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Australia.
AREA: Slightly smaller than the state of Colorado, roughly 1,000 miles long and 280 miles wide. Composed of two main Islands and several off-shore islands.
POPULATION: About 4,000,000. Approximately 10-15%is of Maori heritage. Discovered in 925 A.D. by Polynesian navigator, Kupe. Later discovered in 1642 by Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman. First visited by Captain James Cook in 1769.
GOVERNMENT: Ruled by Britain from 1840 to the 1920s. Since 1947, it has been an independent, self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth.
LANGUAGES: English (official) and Maori