New Zealand

Страница 1

New Zealand 2

Landscape 2

Demography 4

Politics 4

History 6

Economy 8

Life in General 9

North Island 12

South Island 14

New Zealand

Where is New Zealand?

New Zealand is a country in Southwestern Oceania, southeast of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean, with two large islands (North and South Island), one smaller island (Stewart Island), and numerous much smaller islands. New Zealand has a total land area of 268,670 sq km and a coastline of 15,134 km.

Time Zones

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) making it one of the first places in the world to see the new day. Summer time (or Daylight Saving Time) is an advance of one hour at 2am in the morning on the first Sunday in October and back to NZST at 3am in the morning on the third Sunday morning of March. Map of New Zealand

Landscape

New Zealand is a long narrow country lying roughly North/South with mountain ranges running much of its length. It is predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains and is a little larger than Britain, slightly smaller than Italy, and almost exactly the size of Colorado.

The only `geographical feature' New Zealand doesn't have is live coral reef. New Zealand has all the rest: rainforest, desert, fiords, flooded valleys, gorges, plains, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, geothermics, swamps, lakes, braided rivers, peneplains, badlands, and our very own continental plate junction . As a result of the latter, earthquakes are common, though usually not severe.

The North Island has a number of large volcanoes (including the currently active Mount Ruapehu) and highly active thermal areas, while the South Island boasts the Southern Alps - a spine of magnificent mountains running almost its entire length. Another notable feature of New Zealand is its myriad rivers and lakes: notably the Whanganui River, Lake Taupo and the breathtaking lakes Waikaremoana and Wanaka.

Flora and Fauna

New Zealand is believed to be a fragment of the ancient Southern continent of Gondwanaland which became detached over 100 million years ago allowing many ancient plants and animals to survive and evolve in isolation. As a result, most of the New Zealand flora and fauna is indigenous/endemic. About 10 to 15% of the total land area of New Zealand is native flora, the bulk protected in national parks and reserves.

New Zealand has the worlds largest flightless parrot (kakapo), the only truly alpine parrot (kea), the oldest reptile (tuatara), the biggest earthworms, the largest weta, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world New Zealand is home to the world famous Tuatara, a lizard-like reptile which dates back to the dinosaurs and perhaps before (260 mill years?). The only native land mammals are two rare species of bat. New Zealand's many endemic birds include the flightless kiwi, takahe, kakapo and weka. Far too many species of bird have become extinct since humans arrived on New Zealand included the various species of Dinornis (moa) the largest of which stood up to 2.5 metres high. There is also some unique insect life such as the Giant Weta and glow worms. Other than two spiders, there is a lack of any deadly poisonous things (snakes, spiders, etc.) which is why New Zealand Agricultural Regulations are so strict.

Introduced species - pigs, goats, possums, dogs, cats, deer and the ubiquitous sheep - are found throughout New Zealand but their proliferation in the wild has had a deleterious effect on the environment: over 150 native plants - 10% of the total number of native species - and many native birds are presently threatened with extinction.

New Zealand's offshore waters hold a variety of fish, including tuna, marlin, snapper, trevally, kahawai and shark; while its marine mammals - dolphins, seals and whales - attract nature-lovers from around the world. There are 12 national, 20 forest, three maritime and two marine parks, plus two World Heritage Areas: Tongariro National Park in the North Island and Te Waihipouna-mu in the South Island.

One of the most noticeable plants is the pohutakawa (known as the New Zealand Christmas tree) which detonates with brilliant red flowers around December. The great kauri trees in the few remaining kauri forests in Northland are very old with some believed to be up to 2000 years old. Much of the South Island is still forested, particularly the West Coast.

Climate Lying between 34S and 47S, New Zealand sits squarely in the `roaring forties' latitude which means a prevailing and continual wind blows over the country from east to west; this can range from a gentle breeze in summer to a buffeting, roof-stripping gale in winter. The North Island and South Island, because of their different geological features, have two distinct patterns of rainfall: in the South Island, the Southern Alps act as a barrier for the moisture-laden winds from the Tasman Sea, creating a wet climate to the west of the mountains and a dry climate to the east; while the North Island's rainfall is more evenly distributed without a comparable geological feature such as the Alps.

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