A collection of questions we get asked.
In recent years the movies 'The Lord of The Rings' and 'The Hobbit' have hugely increased the profile of New Zealand throughout the world. Thousands of visitors still arrive every year to visit some of the dramatic backdrops and film locations that were used in these blockbusters.
The most famous New Zealander of them all, is without doubt Sir Edmund Hillary who with sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay was the first person to reach the peak of the worlds' highest mountain, Mount Everest in 1953.
In the world of opera and classical music Donald McIntyre and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa are among the most famous New Zealanders. McIntyre, who began his career in the 1960s, is best known for singing in operas by Richard Wagner. Recently retired opera star Te Kanawa enjoyed a stellar international career appearing in all of the great performance venues in the world.
New Zealand also has a proud tradition in the world of literature and although she left New Zealand at the young age of 19, Katherine Mansfield is claimed as one of their own. Other names include Frank Sargeson, much loved children's writer Margaret Mahy (Under The Mountain) as well as Jane Campion, Janet Frame, Maurice Shadbolt, Maurice Gee and Keri Hulme to name but a few.
In a more general sense New Zealand is famous for the number of sheep that are found throughout the country, 29 million - six for every human. This is way below the peak year of 1982 when there were over 70 million sheep, twenty for every person. Most jokes involving New Zealanders' seem to make some reference to sheep, something that is endured with a wry smile and rolling of the eyes!
In recent years massive demand for New Zealand dairy products, particularly from China, has seen a decline in sheep farming.
New Zealanders' are huge fans of the sport of rugby and the national team THE ALL BLACKS are the current world champions of the game. Like the USA, soccer is growing in popularity and more children are now involved in soccer, choosing this over the more traditional option of rugby.
And New Zealand is famous for its scenery and the variety of its landscapes all within a country that measures 1700 miles from north to south and just 279 miles at its widest point.