New Zealand: small country, big destination

New Zealand’s diversity – in landscape, climate, and people – has turned this small South Pacific country into a major tourism destination far exceeding its global imprint.

New Zealand’s diversity - in landscape, climate, and people - has turned this small South Pacific country into a major tourism destination far exceeding its global imprint.

On the international stage, New Zealand is a young country - the last habitable land mass on earth settled by humankind, a nation that’s fresh, enthusiastic and prepared to give it a go, and a place to enjoy life as it should be.

From the inside, New Zealand’s two main and countless off-shore islands offer vastly contrasting geographical and regional climatic conditions setting the scene for outdoor adventures and the unique Pacific lifestyle.

Today’s New Zealanders are the product of a diverse ethnic population - Māori, European, Pacific Island, and Asian for the most part - each different but together forming a rich cultural landscape that translates into an endless array of experiences and events.

New Zealand landscape

New Zealand’s North and South Islands - the largest land masses and home to most New Zealanders - are divided into 30 geographical regions, each with distinct physical attributes, diverse heritage and attractions.

From New Zealand’s sub-tropical far north - where you can stand on the tip of the North Island to witness the merging of two oceans, to the deep south of the South Island - the final land mass before the ice shelves of Antarctica - each region has its own character and stories to tell.

Few countries in the world can boast New Zealand's range of natural features - from high peaks and glaciers in vast mountain ranges to sub-tropical rainforests, lush rolling farmland to geothermal activity, white and black sand beaches to desert-like plains, and unpopulated islands - all within one compact land.

New Zealand culture

Nothing sets New Zealand apart from the rest of the world, more than its people - known affectionately as 'Kiwis'.

Māori - the first to discover these islands - and European have most influenced the pervading culture and laid-back outdoor Kiwi lifestyle that combines the best of both cultures.

The Māori traditions of kaitiakitanga / guardianship of the natural resources for future generations and manaakitanga / hospitality to other peoples have a significant influence on New Zealand life and how visitors experience the real New Zealand.

Pacific Island culture has also infused the lifestyle. Auckland - home to the largest Pacific Island population in the world - is a melting pot of vibrant communities from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.

Kiwi Innovation

Ingenuity and innovation - a result of the youthful pioneering heritage - are characteristics Kiwis are renowned for.

The tourism industry in New Zealand is no exception - the Hamilton Jetboat, ski plane, bungy jump, blokart and Zorb are all examples of Kiwi inventions that have pushed traditional boundaries of travel and embody the Kiwi sense of adventure. These examples have provided more unique ways to experience some of New Zealand’s most scenic locations.

New Zealand continues to push innovation in a range of other fields, from its traditional export industries of agriculture and dairy, to newer growth areas such as film production, fresh cuisine and award-winning wine.

Eventful New Zealand

Kiwis love to get out and about and are great supporters of any event. They're also proud of their nation and love to share it with international visitors.

New Zealand's annual events calendar offers a long list of diverse international, national and regional events to entice visitors keen to sample the country's best offerings.

Whether it's tasting New Zealand's finest at food and wine festivals, competing in adventure sports on land or water, watching world class entertainers or participating in sporting fixtures and cultural festivals, there’s always something on somewhere.

Events provide a valuable insight into local culture, and uniquely New Zealand happenings like Matariki / Māori new year and Te Matatini - the national Māori performing arts competitions - or the colourful Pasifika Festival are an opportunity for visitors to rub shoulders with local cultures.

The quirky World of WearableArt Awards held annually in Wellington have gained international renown, and head a long list of art and cultural events that exist nowhere else in the world.

Major international events

New Zealand is a sporting nation which has produced some of the world's top athletes, notably in multi-sports, rugby, and yachting, and regularly hosts major international sports events.

In 2015, New Zealand is hosting two significant world competitions - ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

These will be added to a growing list of sports events that have included the biennial 100% Pure NZ Winter Games, World Rowing Championships, America's Cup, and the Commonwealth Games.

Rugby World Cup 2011 was the biggest ever international event held in New Zealand. The 40 pool matches played out in 12 venues throughout New Zealand, and the final rounds were hosted in Wellington and Auckland with the enthusiastic backing of a nation passionate about the game and their heroes, the All Blacks.

The six-week tournament attracted more than 133,000 international visitors - many of whom also took the opportunity to stay on to experience a real New Zealand holiday by visiting regional destinations and attractions.