New Zealand Language - Century Park Motor Lodge, Nelson


English is the main written and spoken language in New Zealand. The ability to read, speak, write and understand English to a relatively high level makes living and working in New Zealand easier and more fulfilling. Our language is very informal and relaxed and, like you, we also use unique slang words to describe everyday things.

The Māori language, also officially recognised, is experiencing a significant renaissance, with over 4 percent of the population able to speak it fluently. Specialised schools, radio stations and a television channel dedicated to the language have all helped arrest a serious decline in its use. More and more we’re seeing Māori words becoming part of the general language used by all Kiwis, for example kapai ("kar pie") = good, whanau ("far know") = a family group, manakai("ky") is food.

The Haka

The haka is a generic term for Māori dance – and can portray everything from a challenge to a welcome, from exultation to defiance.

The most famous haka, and one adapted and performed by our national sporting teams before every match, is Ka Mate which was composed by legendary Māori Chief, Te Rauparaha (“Teh ddow paddah hah”). Fleeing for his life from warriors of a rival tribe, Te Rauparaha was hidden in a vegetable pit by another chief friendly to him (a man with significant facial hair). The chasing warriors never discovered him and after climbing from the pit, he composed Ka Mate as a tribute to the Chief who saved him.

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A upa…ne! Ka upa…ne!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra! Hi!!!
I die! I die! I live! I live!
I die! I die! I live! I live!
This is the hairy man
Who fetched the sun
And caused it to shine again
One upward step! Another upward step!
An upward step. Another… the sun shines.

Our Weather

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, our seasons are completely opposite to countries north of the equator. Winter lasts from June until August and our summer is between December and February.

Because we are surrounded by sea, our climate doesn’t get uncomfortably hot or unbearably cold in the areas where the majority of us live, although extremes will be found, particularly in our mountain ranges in winter. Overall, our temperate climate ranges from 20–30°C (68–86°F) in summer, and from 5–15°C (41-59°F) in winter.

Our Government

New Zealand is a modern parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster parliamentary system. New Zealand’s Parliament is currently made up of 120 Members representing eight parties. New Zealanders go to the polls every three years, with the next election in 2011.
John Key is the current Prime Minister and he heads the ruling National Party Government. While voting is not compulsory, as a New Zealand resident or citizen you will be required to enrol as an elector.

New Zealand is a member of the British Commonwealth (along with Australia, Canada and 51 other countries) whose membership makes up 30 percent of the world’s population. New Zealand is also a member of numerous international organisations such as the OECD, UNESCO and WHO, as well as being party to a number of international agreements like the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol and Ozone Layer Protection.

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