-Vincent Van Gogh
The Maori were New Zealand's first settlers. They made an epic journey from legendary Hawaiki, probably in Polynesia to the north of New Zealand, about 1000 years ago. The great explorer Kupe, who legend says first discovered New Zealand, named the new land Aotearoa, or Land of the Long White Cloud. The first documented European to discover New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman who went there in 1642 in search of the fabled great southern continent. Over a century and a quarter later Captain James Cook claimed it for Britain in 1769 and produced a map. According to Māori legend, the demigod Maui sailed from Hawaiki (believed to be one of the French Polynesian islands) in his canoe, and he caught a huge fish, which he dragged to the surface. The fish is the North Island; Maui's canoe is the South Island. This legend describes New Zealand's history, which is one of hardship, fortitude, and discovery. Maori culture is important to understanding life in New Zealand. You find Maori symbols and words throughout the country and you should see a cultural show while you are there to get a better understanding of the life and history of the country’s native population. Rotorua has the most popular ones and I was able to see one there and it was fantastic.
New Zealand’s people [known as “Kiwis”] are well known for their welcoming and accepting nature. New Zealand's first settlers, the Maori, named the kiwi bird for the sound of its chirp: kiwi, kiwi, kiwi. New Zealanders have adopted this adorable bird as their national emblem. Perhaps the best-known kiwi is the delicious kiwifruit. Originating in China, kiwifruit were grown in New Zealand domestic gardens for decades as Chinese gooseberries. However, when enterprising New Zealand farmers began propagating the fruit intensively for export, it was given the name kiwifruit and has achieved worldwide fame.
New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world. Hiking, skydiving, caving, zorbing, bungy jumping, and skiing are just a few activities that you can engage in while there. Everything in New Zealand is geared towards getting you outside and doing something fun. I loved my time in New Zealand because I was traveling with my good friend Olga, the people were friendly, the country was beautiful and you meet a lot of great travelers there. If you love history, nature and adventure New Zealand is a place not to be missed.