History and culture
The history of New Zealand is quite varied. It is said to be one of the major landmasses settled by humans. Eastern Polynesians were the first ones who settled here between 1250 and 1300. They then set a culture trend known as the Maori. Abel Tasman and his crew were the first explorers to have reached this place. After Cook, there were many European traders and invaders who started to frequently visit New Zealand.
Despite New Zealand’s isolation, the country has been fully engaged in international affairs since the early 20th century, being an active member of a number of intergovernmental institutions, including the United Nations. It has also participated in several wars, including World Wars I and II. Economically the country was dependent on the export of agricultural products, especially to Great Britain.
New Zealand also has a unique array of vegetation and animal life, much of which developed during the country’s prolonged isolation. It is the sole home, for example, of the long-beaked, flightless kiwi, the ubiquitous nickname for New Zealanders. New Zealand’s climate is determined by its latitude, its isolation, and its physical characteristics. Because of the high mountain chains that lie across the path of the prevailing winds, the contrast in climate from west to east is sharper than that from north to south. Mountain ranges are also responsible for the semi continental climate of Central Otago.
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