Highlights for New Migrants
Natural beauty and National Parks
New Zealand has many wilderness areas, including National Parks in Fiordland, Mt Cook, Tongariro and elsewhere, that attract tourists from around the world. Exploring these wilderness reserves is a great way to get a feel for the dramatic scenic contrasts and unique outdoor opportunities New Zealand offers. More information is available from:
The Department of Conservation
is responsible for maintaining the walking tracks and huts in the National Parks.
New Zealand's Information Network
is a general tourism website. National Parks are listed under 'Top Resources' in the left hand menu bar.
Tourism New Zealand website
features many of the country's famous natural attractions and activities.
Arts, culture, festivals and entertainment
New Zealand has a thriving cultural life, with a unique mix of European, Maori, Polynesian, Asian and, increasingly, other traditions.
Some of its orchestras and dance companies are internationally regarded – of particular note are the New Zealand Symphony and Auckland Philharmonic Orchestras, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Black Grace Dance Company. There are also numerous lesser-known professional theatre, dance and opera companies. Theatre is strong in the main centres – particularly Wellington and Christchurch – and offers a stimulating mix of local and overseas productions. The local film industry is vibrant – its famous exports include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors and The Piano. Overseas artists and exhibitions also tour regularly.
Several centres hold International Arts Festivals featuring a wide range of local and international artists. The most well-known is probably the International Festival of the Arts which is held in Wellington every two years and attracts a stellar cast of international artists. Similarly, Opera in the Park concerts have become hugely popular, with many centres lending their own interpretation to these events.
Maori cultural traditions receive strong support from both the Maori community and the general public. There has in recent years been a dramatic revival in all Maori art forms, from carving and weaving to traditional dance. Kapa Haka – a range of performing arts that includes haka, waiata, and poi dancing – enjoys enormous cross-cultural support. Regional and national competitions in these performing arts are a dominant feature of contemporary cultural life.
Wine and food
New Zealand has world-class wines, and a distinctive Pacific Rim cuisine that combines Asian and European influences, using the best local produce. High-quality wine and food are not just the preserve of the wealthy but are available to everyone. This is partly a reflection of New Zealand's lack of a formal class system, and the fact that the cost of eating out is low by international standards. Most New Zealanders eat out regularly and the restaurant trade has boomed in recent years. There are, for example, over 300 restaurants and cafes in central Wellington, which now has more restaurants per capita than any city