Over two thirds of the population lives in North Island and the remainder in South Island. The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent while Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand is the most ethnically diverse in the country.
New Zealander’s are affectionately known as “Kiwis” and the name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. The kiwi has also become the most well-known national symbol for New Zealand.
New Zealander’s are friendly and speak English, they say hello to you in the street and in the small towns you’ll get talking and be invited in for a cup of tea. Away from the main tourist centres, shopkeepers show a genuine interest in you and your needs and have been little influenced by the sales pitches of the cities.
New Zealanders new and old jokingly refer to this land as “Godzone”.
New Zealand’s cuisine can best be described as “Pacific Rim”, gaining inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia.
This blend of influences has created a delicious range of flavours and food in cafes and restaurants nationwide. For distinctly New Zealand style dishes, there’s lamb, pork and cervena (venison), salmon, crayfish (lobster), Bluff oysters, whitebait (smelt), paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipis and tuatua (both are types of New Zealand shellfish), kumara (sweet potato), kiwifruit, tamarillo and pavlova, the national dessert. There is also New Zealand’s national ice cream – Hokey Pokey.
There are many fine dining restaurants to compliment bistros, cafes, bakeries and a coffee culture. New Zealand has had an excellent reputation for local beer and wine. Besides the large breweries, there are also many local micro-breweries producing more flavoured brews.