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NEW ZEALAND BUSINESS & SKILLED IMMIGRATION ADVICE
NZ COUNTRY INFORMATION

Investing in New Zealand offers unique opportunities to leverage dynamic ideas and creative intellect in specialised high value industries. Information and communications technology, biotechnology, screen production, niche manufacturing, wood processing, and call centres.

In these established sectors, and others that are still emerging, New Zealand provides a positive environment where international investors can position themselves for advantage and develop world-changing ideas, creative intellect and high value specialisation.

Whether locating here or partnering with New Zealand organisations, you can develop ideas, concepts and technologies with a people renowned for their innovative thinking - all within a country with an economic outlook, free market philosophy and political stability that is highly geared for success.

Proven investment record
Australian investors have invested nearly NZD20 billion directly into New Zealand; the UK NZD 7.3 billion; US NZD5.6 billion; and the Netherlands NZD5.1 billion; Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Germany and Norway also invest here.

Competitive time zone
New Zealand is the first OECD country to wake up every day. Ours is a time zone two hours ahead of Australia, where the working day spans the afternoon on the west coast of America, the Asian day, right through to breakfast in Europe. Investing or relocating here can offer distinct time-driven advantages.

Ideal test market
New Zealand is a sophisticated, highly technologically aware nation and has one of the highest investments in information technology as a proportion of GDP in the world. Our people are also proven early adopters of a whole range of technologies. This willingness to embrace the new along with the compact size of the country and demographics that mirror those of much larger markets make this as an ideal place to test market new technologies.

Excellent clustering opportunities
These advantages also point to New Zealand as an excellent location for clinical trials and research and development for new biomedical products. In fact, world class companies active in biotechnology and information and communications technology (ICT) are already clustering here to research, develop technology and explore commercial collaborations.

Industries such as wood products are also of particular interest because they involve resources where New Zealand boasts tangible advantages.

Easy and competitive place to do business
New Zealand is a very straightforward place to do business. It has an efficient, market-oriented economy, a stable and secure business environment with zero corruption.

In our labour market now famed for being flexible and deregulated, you'll find a workforce that's highly educated and multi-skilled. And a small levy for accident compensation means almost universal protection in a no fault system.

Property costs are among the most competitive on the Pacific Rim: the corporate tax rate is just 33% with minimal or no capital gains tax. We also offer 100% tax deductibility for research and development.

In touch with the world
New Zealand is in your virtual suburb, thanks to sophisticated telecommunications access. Telstra, Bell Atlantic, AT&T, British Telecom, Sprint and Cable & Wireless all have affiliates in New Zealand, and there are more than a dozen high capacity links across the globe.

In November 2000 the Southern Cross cable went live. This is a highly sophisticated fibre optic system which links San Francisco, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji through a system capable of transferring the equivalent of two full-length motion pictures every second, and at a network availability rate of more than 99.999%.

New Zealand depends on its exports for revenue, so it's hardly surprising that the country has excellent export networks and outstanding ports. Domestic and international air links are also very good. (There are more than 80 flights per week between Auckland and LA alone.)

An amazing place to live and work
With its clean, healthy, uncluttered environment, low population density, comfortable climate, affordable housing and reputation for safety, New Zealand consistently rates amongst the best places to live in the world.

Supportive government
The New Zealand Government recognises the importance of international investment and is actively working to provide an environment that enables international investors to bring or establish operations and/or to collaborate with New Zealand companies to best advantage.

The CER agreement with Australia means that a business operating from New Zealand gains duty free access to a potential trans-Tasman market of 24 million (content must be 50% New Zealand and/or Australian to qualify).

Free trade agreements, such as the recently negotiated economic co-operation agreement with Singapore, as well as others still in negotiation elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, can only increase the size of that free market.

Sound economic backdrop
New Zealand has already completed more than a decade of radical economic restructuring, and now has an economy well geared for long term international competitiveness - exactly the resource rich, stable and transparent macro-economic platform you're looking for. Look no further. Make the best investment choice. The New Zealand choice.

NORTH ISLAND

New Zealand's North Island is subtropical in the Far North to temperate in the rest of the island.

The land was moulded aeons ago by the fierce fires of countless volcanoes - the last eruption was as recent as 1996, when giant Mt Ruapehu blew its top. Lake Taupo's deep crater erupted in 186AD with devastating results for the pristine forests across the island. Nowhere is the island's turbulent geological past more evident than in the country's foremost tourist resort and thermal hotspot, Rotorua, on the Central Volcanic Plateau. Here, boiling mud pools and gushing geysers entertain visitors and demonstrate the powerful forces at work in the geothermal region that extends through the Bay of Plenty out to White Island, New Zealand's most active volcano.

Despite its volcanic creation much of the North Island is covered with emerald green dairy pasture and gentle rolling hills dotted with millions of sheep. The visitor soon gains the impression that New Zealand is one huge sheep and cattle farm, which is partly true as most of the 4 million population is concentrated in the main cities. Auckland, the Queen City of the north has one million inhabitants and welcomes around 1.4 million overseas visitors as New Zealand's main gateway. Other main North Island centres are Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North and Wellington.

Regional differences can be discerned in this diamond-shaped island. The Far North is subtropical with deeply indented bays adorned with golden sand beaches and backed by lush forests. Tall, ramrod-straight Kauri trees tower skywards in remnant forests on the Kauri Coast. The east coast boasts a shimmering aquatic playground called the Bay of Islands.

The Waikato Basin centred on Hamilton, is the island's richest dairy pastureland (perhaps the finest in the world). Taranaki is similarly endowed with lush grasslands formed around the distinctive volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki/Egmont. East Cape is a sparsely populated scenic touring route along a 'Sunshine Coast' where the world's first light of day illuminates a picturesque coast. This leads down to the rich, fertile Hawke's Bay plains, producing abundant fruit and wine crops. Further south are classic hill country sheep farms in the Wairarapa.

Overseas visitors can start their North Island journey with a trip to the Bay of Islands before returning to Auckland and heading to Waitomo's dramatic caves, Rotorua's thermal wonders, Tongariro's volcanoes, en route to Wellington. With a few days to spare visitors can also take in the delights of Coromandel, East Cape, Hawke's Bay and Taranaki.

The North Island can be a special haven of peace for the harried traveller. It has many quiet places where you can get in touch with nature on a walk through native bush or along an isolated beach.

SOUTH ISLAND

New Zealand's South Island is a spectacular land, which has been uplifted by prodigious earth forces.


The South Island landscape is so different from the rolling green hills of the north that crossing Cook Strait is akin to travelling to another country. Beginning in the sun-drenched Nelson and Marlborough regions the majestic Southern Alps lift their snow-capped summits and stretch southwards for 600kms along an alpine fault line. The Alps embrace an area larger than Switzerland, thrusting up to a height of 3700 metres in the Mt Cook National Park, and giant glaciers descend the rock and ice-bound slopes to within 300 metres of sea-level on the wild West Coast.

Mount Hutt

The West Coast is a scenic delight crowded with lush, mysterious rainforest, tumbling mountain streams, picturesque glacial lakes and a storm-lashed coastline. By contrast the Canterbury Plains lie like a broad patchwork quilt of cropping paddocks sheltered by the main divide of the Southern Alps.

Nature reigns supreme in the vast wilderness areas that constitute national parks in Fiordland, Westland, Arthur's Pass, Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, Kahurangi, Abel Tasman and Nelson Lakes. Central Otago and Southland are criss-crossed with mountain ranges, often bearing the characteristic rounded form of glaciated land. Sapphire blue lakes, clouded with rock flour ground from glacier beds, dot the landscape. Interspersed between the ranges throughout the whole island are vast run holdings measured in thousands of hectares that give a new meaning to the term 'sheep station'. Resort towns like Queenstown and Wanaka draw people from around the world who appreciate pure powder ski slopes and breathtaking scenery.

Christchurch dominates the human landscape as the largest South Island city, proud of its English heritage, stately homes, gardens and vibrant arts and crafts. Dunedin does its Scottish forebears proud as a thriving university city with splendid historical buildings and fascinating wildlife reserves. Nelson and Blenheim are the epitome of 'top town' lifestyle centres blessed with abundance of sun, golden sand, seafood, fine wine, fresh produce, fruit, arts and crafts.


Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country

As an added bonus for the traveller the South Island has excellent highways and little traffic congestion, as the island is home to barely a quarter of New Zealand's population. The population drift northwards to Auckland and other North Island centres has allowed nature's realm to thrive relatively untouched in many areas of the south. The South Island stands apart as a pristine environment of wide-open spaces and unsurpassed natural beauty. Visit its wild places and you will build a store of treasured memories.

STEWART ISLAND

New Zealand's third island can be clearly seen from Bluff across the restless waters of Foveaux Strait.

The island is 64km long, largely uninhabited with only a tiny settlement at Oban in Halfmoon Bay. Oban has a range of accommodation, a few eateries and general store but no banks. However, some businesses will exchange foreign currency. Unlike the two main islands there is no beech forest, just hardwoods, tree ferns and unusual varieties of orchid. Undergrowth is surprisingly dense and the bush is impenetrable in many places.

Maori Beach

Stewart Island was known to the Maori as Rakiura (glowing skies) either on account of the striking sunsets or the periodic southern lights (Aurora Australis). The island is a dream location for ornithologists and bird watchers and offers the best kiwi watching in New Zealand. Tours run to Ocean Bay and Mason's Bay where the timid, nocturnal kiwis often scuff about on beaches hunting for sand hoppers in seaweed. Other bush birds include weka, kaka, parakeets, robins, fernbirds, tui and bellbirds. Numerous sea birds can be seen, along with Fiordland crested, yellow-eyed and little blue penguins. Red and whitetail deer glide through the forest margins.


Rakiura Track at Lee Bay

Stewart Island is increasingly popular as an isolated, unspoilt, 'get away from it all' destination. The Rakiura Track is a great tramping experience providing a good insight into the island's history, flora and fauna. The Department of Conservation office issues Great Walks passes for this track and can provide detailed maps and route guides. The North-West Circuit is a far more ambitious route linking ten backcountry huts. Mud holes and very changeable weather, switching from bright sunshine to teaming rain within 30 minutes, makes this a challenge for the most experienced tramping group.

Access to Stewart Island is by air from Invercargill airport with a strict luggage allowance of 10 kg per person, or by ferry from Bluff on a one hour crossing. On the island, water taxis operate in Paterson Inlet taking visitors to the bird sanctuary on Ulva Island and to Freshwater Hut on the tramping track to Mason's Bay.

AUCKLAND

Imagine a modern, cosmopolitan city of one million people sprawling over an area twice the size of London. Imagine that this city has a sunny climate with average temperatures of 20°C in summer, 13°C in winter and a moderate 1.2 metre annual rainfall.

Visualise this place built on 50 dormant volcanic cones between two beautiful harbours, where everyone lives within a 30 minute drive of white sand beaches, lush rainforest, over 20 regional parks and a maritime playground embracing 50 islands. This place is Auckland.

Auckland

Little wonder then that this uniquely exciting twin-harbour city attracts 1.4 million overseas visitors each year and is regarded as having one of the best lifestyles and family environments in the world.

Auckland is the main gateway to New Zealand and our largest city. It actually embraces four cities and three districts in one vast urban sprawl. The cities are Auckland, North Shore, Manukau and Waitakere and the districts are Rodney, Papakura and Franklin.

The best way to view Auckland city is from the Waitemata Harbour. Regular passenger ferries glide across the sparkling waters to Devonport and the Hauraki Gulf islands of Motutapu, Motuihe, Waiheke and Rangitoto. (Rangitoto's symmetrical volcano is an Auckland icon.) Looking back at the changing skyline of the CBD you will see the dominant spire of the Sky Tower dwarfing high-rise buildings (it's the highest structure in the Southern Hemisphere). The distinctive 'coat hanger' shape of the Harbour Bridge rises solidly in the upper harbour. The Waitemata often presents a brilliant kaleidoscope of movement and form. Brightly-coloured spinnakers billow out from straining stays as hundreds of racing yachts sail on the edge of a stiff breeze and sleek power boats zap out to picturesque island beaches.

Sky Tower

Auckland is well named as the 'City of Sails' because of its association with round-the-world yacht races and the America's Cup. Stroll down the main commercial precinct, Queen Street, and enjoy leisurely shopping in intimate arcades and boutique stores spread throughout the Downtown area. Visit the large modern shopping malls in a number of suburban areas. Experience the fine food fare at some of the city's 800 restaurants, which cover the full spectrum from exotic Asian dishes to distinctive Pacific Rim style cuisine.

From Lower Queen Street you soon reach the harbour front. Here you will find the modern, stylish Viaduct Harbour, pulsating with life in the many bars, cafes and restaurants - a happy haven for super yachts from all parts of the globe. In Queen Street and the entertainment district of 'K.Rd' you will notice the cosmopolitan nature of Auckland - a cultural mix of European, Polynesian and Asian influences. The city is unique as it has the largest concentration of Polynesian peoples in the world. Early Maori inhabitants knew the Waitemata Harbour as Tamaki Makarau, 'The Place of a Thousand Lovers'. The area was greatly sought after as a desirable place to live, with every possible amenity. The same is true today, as you will discover during your exploration of the city and environs.

The New Zealand Information Network has prepared this summary to assist visitors to get the most out of their stay in the city. We have focused on aspects such as Places to Stay, Places to Eat, Entertainment, Transportation, Things to Do, Shopping Centres and the Regional Centres.

Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to appreciate the alluring charms of Auckland. Seek out the high places like the Sky Tower and the volcanic summits of Mt Eden and One Tree Hill in order to absorb the breathtaking scenery.

Auckland city makes a great base for exploring North Island scenic highlights such as Cape Reinga, The Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua and Taupo.

The City of Sails will captivate you and provide many wonderful experiences.

WELLINGTON

Wellington is New Zealand's capital city. It is a complete contrast to the sprawling urban mass that constitutes Auckland.

Wellington is a visitor-friendly, upbeat, compact city, which can claim to be the world's southernmost capital. It offers the visitor far more than a look at New Zealand's parliamentary democracy in action.

Adopting slogans like 'Absolutely, Positively Wellington' the city proudly proclaims itself as confident and progressive. It is also known as the 'Creative Arts and Cafe Capital of New Zealand'. Here you will find a palpable sense of energy and vibrancy. This is a truly cosmopolitan city firmly established as a go-ahead visitor playground, taking centre stage as the doyen of New Zealand's heritage, culture and creative arts.

The Beehive and Parliament

The city has good reason to promote its physical advantages - a sparkling harbour encompassed by rolling hills, superb native forest and beaches. Wellingtonians are motivated residents with a positive outlook on life. Sure, brisk southerly winds may upturn umbrellas at times, but living on the windswept cusp of Cook Strait instils character and enterprise in its residents and certainly ensures that they enjoy an unpolluted environment.

Wellington has developed four downtown districts each with a very distinctive character. The Lambton Quarter is an intensive shopping scene with elegant department stores, chain stores and boutiques. The Willis Quarter is focused on lifestyle shopping, and it is here that the city and seascapes merge. The Cuba Quarter embraces a funky community spirit with its alternative lifestyle shopping and pavement cafes. The Courtenay Quarter is renowned as Wellington's entertainment centre, drawing crowds of late night revellers to its lively cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Wellington

All this diversity is neatly packed within a compact two kilometres of city streets, which stretch south from the railway station to Courtenay Place. The visitor is thus able to indulge in retail therapy, artistic appreciation, scenic vistas, nightclub pleasures and gastronomic delights all within a short walk of downtown hotels. This intimate 'village' atmosphere is one of the capital's most enduring charms. Waterfront rambles and Town- Belt bush walks are also only minutes from the CBD. The airport is a mere 15 minutes drive away.

Wellington has a well-earned reputation as an entertainment and cultural centre. You can find some of the New Zealand's best theatres, galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes here. The choice of authentic ethnic restaurants and cafes is mind-boggling. In fact with around 400 eating establishments, Wellington has a higher concentration than New York on a per capita basis.

The city is home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, four professional theatres and national opera, drama, dance and musical groups. Museums include the national treasure, Te Papa, a world class interactive museum that epitomises the pioneering spirit and 'can-do' attitude of Kiwis. An exciting time to visit Wellington is during February and March when the city hosts three festivals - Fringe Festival, Festival of the Arts and Dragon Boat Festival.

Beyond the city limits, day-trippers can take in an astounding variety of bush and beach scenes. You can seek out remote mountain wilderness areas for hiking, hunting or fishing. Adventure safaris in 4WD vehicles can guide you to rugged coastal seal colonies. Ferries can whisk you away to an island wildlife sanctuary in the inner harbour. North of the city, the Kapiti Coast is a popular recreational playground. Some of New Zealand's leading vineyards are just over the Rimutaka hill in the Wairarapa district. Wellington is the northern terminal of the Cook Strait interisland ferries. It is also a vital transport hub for airline, rail and road operations between the North and South islands.

CHRISTCHURCH

Visitors enjoy Christchurch for its elegant simplicity and gracious lifestyle.

This pleasant 'Garden City' has been voted one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in the world. Christchurch has achieved a fine balance between the extremes of modern metro hustle and the grace and charm of an earlier era. The city is an ideal size; large enough to achieve economic viability yet small enough for people to feel they belong.


Chalice at Cathedral Square

Christchurch was named by nostalgic settlers after an Oxford university college, and the traditional English ambience can be felt in many ways. Not least of these are the orderly grid pattern of streets and the grand neo-Gothic architecture of the Anglican Cathedral and the Arts Centre. Experience the soothing tranquillity of the Avon River meandering through the city's heart, and the rich tapestry of cultural pursuits embracing the arts, music and theatre. Recent European and Oriental immigration has created a melting pot of other exotic cultures, reflected in a host of exciting eateries, nightclubs and street entertainment.

As the main gateway to Canterbury and the South Island alpine hinterland, Christchurch has the ability to satisfy the visitor with a broad range of fresh and exciting Kiwi experiences every day. If your taste is for relaxing in a beautiful environment then the tranquil Avon river, tree-lined avenues and leafy glades of Hagley Park are bound to appeal. If you enjoy the fun and excitement of city life this place has full-on festivals of visual and performing arts year round. There is a wealth of cultural centres, theatres, art and craft exhibitions, shopping arcades and quaint boutiques. Vibrant cafes, bars, nightclubs and restaurants offer fine cuisine and award-winning wines. There is regular street entertainment in the form of buskers and an eccentric 'wizard' pontificating on a soapbox in Cathedral Square.

World-class attractions in the city include New Zealand's most significant new Art Gallery, fine heritage museums, superb wildlife parks, mountaintop gondola rides, balloon flights, whale watch tours and alpine rail journeys. There is a multitude of adventure and sports activities, including summer swimming and winter skiing all within an hour's drive of the city.

Art Gallery

Downtown Christchurch is extremely visitor-friendly. The compact and orderly layout ensures that you can take in the visitor attractions at a leisurely pace. From central hotels it is easy to walk to most of the main heritage, entertaining and dining venues. The 'Four Avenues' area defines the central city precinct bounded by Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Bealey and Dean avenues and Cathedral Square is the landmark epicentre. From here an historic restored electric tramcar follows a 2.5 km circuit past the major city sights and a shuttle bus operates from the Visitor Information Centre in the square.

A short stroll or a cycle can take you to a dozen exciting venues - the challenge in Christchurch is to decide what to do first. Between sightseeing jaunts, shopping, pubbing and clubbing there is always the sublime peace of the Avon River to escape to - it is the focal point for relaxation in this city. Peace and serenity can always be found in Hagley Park on the banks of the Avon, especially in spring amidst a yellow carpet of daffodils. You can even sip a glass of Champagne while punting on the river.

Visitors are sure to fall in love with Christchurch city, but beware of falling under the wizard's spell. Once you have experienced everything the city has to offer there are many more surprises further inland. The breathtaking mountain vistas of the Southern Alps, spectacular lakes, rivers and bush clad valleys, giant glaciers descending almost to sea level, precipitous fiords and World Heritage scenic wonders await. Enjoy it all.

HEALTH SERVICES

New Zealand proudly boasts a 'clean green' image and compared to other developed world countries we are seen as a great place that provides fresh unpolluted air, low cases of disease, easy access to fresh organic produce and clean drinking water.

Emergency telephone numbers are listed in the front pages of all local telephone directories and also displayed in public telephone booths throughout New Zealand. If you require the police, fire or ambulance services in an emergency you should dial 111.

DOCTORS - Your General Practitioner (GP) is usually the first person you should contact if you require medical advice or diagnosis. (For all serious injuries and complaints you should go to a public hospital directly). GPs operate private businesses and so are able to set their own fees for consultations and other services. However, the Government provides a subsidy to reduce the cost of GP visits and prescriptions. The GP or the pharmacist claims subsidies from the Government so the effect for the patient is a lower fee.

You can select your own GP (Doctor) however it is usually more practical to select a practice/surgery that is local to you. If you choose to change your GP you should ensure that your medical notes or file is transferred to your new GP. To find a suitable GP look in the special medical section in the front of your local telephone book for a list of GP's and contact details.

PHARMACISTS - Pharmacists generally work in pharmacies (also known as Chemists) and can be found in suburban areas, shopping malls or near medical establishments.

Pharmacists are able to offer advice on the safety and use of medicines along with general information on some common health problems. They dispense medicines that have been prescribed by your GP as well as being able to sell 'over the counter' medicines that do not require a doctor's prescription.

PUBLIC HOSPITALS - New Zealanders have an extensive health service available to them with approximately 445 hospitals in New Zealand. Approximately 85 of these hospitals are publicly funded and run by organizations called District Health Boards (DHBs).

The majority of essential health care services are provided free through the public health system (excluding dentistry and optometry) however most hospital doctors (specialists) can only been seen after referral from your local GP. If you are referred to a specialist or hospital you can choose to go publicly or privately.

PRIVATE HOSPITALS - There are a large number of private hospitals in New Zealand, if you choose to use a private hospital you will be required to pay for the services of the hospital, for example private specialists and consultants. The benefits of private hospital treatment are the lack of 'waiting lists' and more personalized care due to a smaller number of patients requiring attention and care compared to a public hospital. Many waiting lists for surgery through the public hospital system are long while private hospitals can provide quicker consultation and surgery options on a 'user pays' basis which reduces waiting lists for private care.

FAMILY PLANNING CLINICS - Family Planning Clinics are situated throughout New Zealand and provide sexual health, contraception and fertility health care. The cost of a consultation is similar your local GP's fee.

WOMENS HEALTH - New Zealand women have access to a large selection of women orientated services and programmes available throughout the country.

New Zealand pregnancy and childbirth related care is free (except for care provided by private obstetricians). This care covers the diagnosis of pregnancy, antenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care.

BreastScreen Aotearoa is the national breast cancer-screening programme which is aimed at promoting and educating on breast cancer and screening. This programme is designed to identify and contact women who are eligible for free breast cancer screening plus follow up support.

The National Cervical Screening Programme is aimed at reducing the number of women in New Zealand who develop cervical cancer and the number who die from it. Enrollment is free and available by contacting your local GP. Once enrolled you will receive results of your cervical smears taken within the programme along with a reminder when you are due for your next Cervical Smear.

CHILDREN'S HEALTH - Government subsidies for GP visits for all children aged under six years is $35.00, which means that most visits for children under six years is free. Public health nurses also visit primary schools regularly to check children while most schools have a resident dental nurse. These services are free through the government education/health system.

The Ministry of Health (Government) fully supports immunization, which is why it is a free service. Immunization protects against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza (Hib) and Hepatitis B.

Plunket New Zealand is the major provider of child and family health services in New Zealand. The Plunket programmes aim to support families with young children and are the only non-profit organization to provide these facilities to New Zealand families.

ACCIDENT COMPENSATION - Treatment by a registered health professional for accident related injuries is subsidized by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) of New Zealand, however user part-charges for GP visits or other recommended treatments (such as physiotherapists) resulting from the accident should be expected. ACC cover is automatic, you do not have to join or register for this service.

REGIONAL WEATHER

New Zealand's sparkling islands lie within the vast expanse of the South Pacific Ocean giving them a classic maritime climate.

This means mild, equable, year-round temperatures with no extremes because of the constant moderating influence of the surrounding seas. No part of this narrow, insular country is more than 100 km from the sea. Regional weather variations can be identified to help visitors to plan their New Zealand holiday itinerary.

The North Island has a blend of subtropical and temperate climates. Subtropical Auckland and Northland remain relatively warm and mild throughout the year, but experience high humidity in summer months. Auckland's average max/min temperatures are 23-16°C (73-61°F) in summer and 14-9°C (57-48°F) in winter. The rest of the island has warm, damp summers merging into cool, wet winters. North Island weather is extremely changeable - e.g. brief showers can interrupt sunny periods at any time of the year. Rainfall is evenly distributed and averages around 1300 mm a year.

The South Island extends a further 600 km into the Southern Ocean, so has cooler temperatures. Queenstown's average max/min temperatures are 21-10°C (70-50°F) in summer and 9-1°C (48-34°F) in winter. Nelson and Blenheim enjoy the highest sunshine hours in the country (2500 hours a year).

Prevailing westerly winds have a major effect on our climate bringing warm, moisture-laden air in from the Tasman Sea. The South Island's Southern Alps act as a barrier, creating annual rainfall of up to 7000 mm on the West Coast. By contrast the Canterbury Plains, lying in the rain shadow of the Alps, get only 330 mm of rain. Periodic southerly winds originating in Antarctic waters invariably mean cold weather all over the country. In winter (June-August) heavy falls of pure powder snow on the Alps means that New Zealand can offer some of the most varied skiing and snowboarding to be found anywhere in the world.

From the visitor's point of view the 'shoulder' seasons of October-December and February-April are a good time to holiday in New Zealand, avoiding the busy summer peak season. Weather conditions are still pleasant and all the main sights and attractions are open and accommodation is plentiful.

Weather forecasts are given with regular radio and TV news bulletins. Situation maps and forecasts appear in all major daily newspapers. Telephone and internet sites can be readily accessed for updates. Note that New Zealand practices daylight saving from October-March when clocks are set forward by one hour.

EDUCATION

New Zealand is generating worldwide recognition as a country that provides quality education to New Zealand and international students. From early childhood education through to polytechnic and university, New Zealand offers a professionally unique learning environment.

Early Childhood
New Zealand offers a wide range of early childhood services from private operators through to community groups and voluntary agencies, namely kindergartens, care centres and playcentres. The Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office (ERO) regularly monitor these.

Primary & Secondary
Schooling is compulsory in New Zealand for all children from their sixth until sixteenth birthday and schooling is free at state (government funded) schools until the age of 19. Parents are, however, expected to meet some minor costs, including the cost of school books, stationary and uniforms. Costs vary widely depending on individual school requirements.

New Zealand Curriculum
Most New Zealand students attend state-funded schools while private or independent schools receive only limited government funding. The New Zealand Curriculum is built around the acquisition of essential academic and practical skills. It identifies 7 academic or 'essential learning' areas and 8 practical or 'essential skills'.

Tertiary Education
New Zealand has eight universities which all offer general undergraduate and graduate degrees and diplomas in arts, sciences and commerce, as well as specialist degrees in particular disciplines. There is also numerous Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Private Training Establishments offering a wide range of academic and professional courses.

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