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New Zealand - Facts for Tourists
Currency: The New Zealand Dollar (NZ$)...100 cents to the dollar. Bills are 1,2, 5,10,20. Coins are 1,2,5,10,50.

Temperature: Our winter is their summer. Average in August is 59°F... with 11 days of rain. The air is crisp and fresh.

Bank hours: M-F 10-4

Shop hours: M-F 9-5:30. Everything closes Sat/Sun.

Things to buy: Greenstone jewelry, sheepskin, Maori Art.

Food: Lamb, steak, seafood... the basis for local menus. Food is quite good.

Drink: Good local beers and wines. All alcohol must be purchased from licensed stores or your hotel. It's possible to B.Y.O.B. to unlicensed restaurants.

Tipping: Neither customary nor necessary. A small tip for hotel/restaurant service is welcome. Taxi drivers are never tipped. If you dine in a fine restaurant, you can add 10%, but it's not necessary.

Transportation: Trains and buses can get you everywhere in the country. At every airport, a coach meets the flight and takes you to city center. It is highly recommended that you rent an auto and drive... even though driving is on the left. The Airport departure tax must be paid in NZ dollars. It's not much.

The People of New Zealand: They call themselves "kiwis", and have to be just about the friendliest people on earth. If you start talking to someone on the street, you might find yourself at his or her home for dinner. They open up and tell you just about everything. They love their country, England, and Americans. The younger generation hates Atomic Power and wants to keep it out of New Zealand. The older generation tells them America saved N.Z during WW2.

The Maori People: No one really knows where the Maori people came from... Hawaii, Tahiti, Pacific Islands. One thing is sure... the Polynesians were among the greatest sailors in the world. Maori tradition has it that the great migration from Polynesia took place about 1350 in seven canoes. This migration may have been due to over-population or a shortage of food. These immigrants found a race called the Moriori living in New Zealand. The Moriori lived peacefully, and the new immigrants drove them further south until they disappeared, or were absorbed by intermarriage. The Maori brought to NZ, the Sweet Potato, the dog, and rat. There was an abundance of fish and birds... and agriculture was established. From these beginnings a distinctive Maori culture and society emerged. The Maori of today are beginning to push for more civil rights. Sound familiar?
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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