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Culture

2011-01-27 09:30

Some information about New Zealand culture


Around the 14th century voyegers from polynesia(Maoris) arrived at the islands of New Zealand, over the following centuries their settlements expanded and their culture started to grow and change from it´s original roots. The Maori people started to build villages and seperated into difrent tribes, hunting and fishing, trading , farming, doing art, building wepons and always keeping a detailed oral history alive. Then about 200 years ago Britain came along and desided they wanted to change some of that stuff. They brought their religion and technology, and was also nice enough to share the english language, this ofcourse had a dramatic effect on the Maori people. In 1840 the Maori people signed a treaty to try to get along with the brittish people but pretty soon(1845) it ended in war. The war didn´t go to well for the Maori who ended up losing both land and identity. During the century that followed the Maori slowly but surely ended up an minority group. Luckily, the Maori culture has been able to regain some of its influence during the recent decades.

The European New Zealanders kept strong cultural ties to England until the fall of the English Empire witch started the fading of the once strong ties. Instead the European New Zealanders turned to their own pioneering history to forge a new cultural identity influenced by their rural lifestyle and New Zealand uniqe but spectacular envirement.

In more recent years New Zealand has had it´s cultural horizon broddened by globalization and imigration fron The Pacific Islands, East Asia and South Asia. Europeans and Maori still remains the two largest ethnicities, but Auckland with it´s many polyniesian inhabitants is now the largest Polynisian city in the world.

Nowadays many New Zealand inhabitans prefer to refer to themselves as New Zealanders or Kiwis to minimise ethnic divisions.

The Maori people probably arrived in south-western poltnesia in several waves, starting sometime before 1300. Maori myths tells the story of a long voyage from their mythical homeland Hawaiki, from wich they left in large ocean-going canoes. Maori like to call themselfs "tangata whenua" wich means people of the land, thus marking the importance of a lifestyle connected to land and sea.

Pakeha culture(New Zealand European culture) is based mainly on the culture the brittish settlers brought with them in the ninteenth century. Even though this is the case the both cultures has distinct differences that has increased during time. Some of the distinct diffrerences are eligatarianism, anti-intellectualism and an idea that people can do anything as long as they just put their minds to it. The anti-intellectualism derives from the fact that New Zealanders don´t regard intellectual activity, particulary if it´s theoretical, very highly. This is linked to the New Zealanders idea of kiwi ingenuity, wich says that it´s better to solve a problem by trying as you go rather than aplying a theory. This theory was appearant in the early and mid twentieth century when the first Labour and other governments altough trying to achive traditionally socialist goals didn´t base them on any coherent theory. A break in this tradition came when Labour in the 80s made a series of reforms based on free market idiology. This in some poeple reinforced their distrust in intellectual theory as many people thought reforms increased poverty and inequality in New Zealand. Despite their believe in anti-intellectualism New Zealand has resonably high participation in tertiary education and has produced some internationally renowned scholars and scientists , altough it probably should be mentioned that many of these spent most of their professional lifes in Britain. For years this was common owing to the New Zealanders attitude and the low population wich made it hard to support major research.

Politics

2011-01-28 14:00

Here´s some facts I learned today. I will return with a more interesting post later.


New Zealands head of state is Queen Elisabeth II, represented in New Zealand by the governor general. The head of government on the other hand is the Prime Minister. New Zealand has no official constitution altough they have a sort of framework constitution consisting of various documents such as the treaty of Waitangi, certain acts of the United Kingdom and New Zealand parliaments and also some constitutional conventions. There have some times been proposals for a codified constitution, but as of yet there haven´t been any serious tries to adopt one.

The New Zealand monarchy has been separated from the Brittish monarchy since The Statute of Westminister Adoption Act 1947, and since then all Elisabeth II´s official business in New Zealand is done in the name of the Queen of New Zealand and not the Queen of the United Kingdom. As mentioned above all actions in the name of the Queen of New Zealand are performed by the Governor-general who is appointed by Elisabeth II on recomendation from New Zealands Prime Minister. The Governor-generals powers are in reality small and mostly symbolic, he formally has the power to chose and dismiss Prime Ministers and to desolve parliament. He also formally gets to sign legislations in to laws after they have been aproved bu parliament. The Governor-general is a member of the Executive Council(a formell committee consisting of all the ministers of the crown). All members of the Executive Committee have to be members of parliament and many of them are also in the Cabinet.

The Cabinet is the most important policy-making body and are led by the Prime Minister who is also the parliamentary leader for the governing party or coalition , known as the head of Government. The Cabinet is responsible to the Parliament from wich the cabinet gets its menmbers. The parliament normally consists of 120 members, but this number can differ depending on over/underhangs. Currently several of the seats are reserved for members elected on a special Maori roll, but Maori people can choose to vote or run for non-reserved seats, many Maori has entered parliament this way. Elections for parliaments are held every three years but can be helld more often if called for. Every person over 18 has the right to wote and New Zealand was the first country in the whole world who allowed women to vote(YAY!).

Currently the Prime Minister of New Zealand is John Key who is the leader of the National Party wich replaced Helen Klark in November 2008. The opposing party is the Labour Party wich is led by Phil Goff.

In New Zealand regions have been created by the central government, rather than the other way around(smaller regions creating the central government). The regions are granted power by the Parliament, and those powers are comperativly few when compared to other contries, examples of that is the fact that police and education is run by the central government. New Zealand consists of sixteen regions, and is also divided into 73 territorial authorities some of wich are called cities but most of them are districts. Every region and territorial authority is governed by a council directly elected by the people of that region, city or district.

New Zealands very first political party was formed in 1891 while it´s main rival wasn´t founded until 1909. From that time all the way until 1996(when there was a change in electoral system) New Zealand had a two party system. Since 1996 New Zealand has had a milti party system(currently eight parties are represented in parliament), where the two main parties never has gained over 50 percent and thus has been forced to form coalition governments.

The two largest parties are Labour Party and the National Party, labour being progressive while the National party is conservatiove. Other parties represented in parliament are ATC(free market), the Greens(left-wing enviromentalist), the Progressive Party(left of centre), United Future(family values) and the Maori party(ethnic).

The two oldest parties; Labour and National has dominated New Zealand politics since 1935 when a Labour govenment came to power. During it´s forteen years in office(1935-1949) the Labour party made many social and economic legislations come true, such as comprehensive social security, a public works programme on a large scale, forty hour working week, a minimum basic wage and compulsory unionism. In 1949 the National party won control and they adopted many of the welfare measures that had been instituted by the Labour party. National held the the power until 1984 with only two brief periods of Labour government in between(1957-1960, 1972-1975).

In 1984 Labour regained power and instituted a series of marketoriented reforms as an awnser to New Zealands growing external debt. They also made a anti-nuclear legislation that brought about New Zealands suspension from ANZUS security alliance with USA and Australia. They also instituted a number of left-wing reforms, for example allowing a Waitangi tribunal to hear claims of breaches to the treaty of Waitangi to be made back to 1840. Labour reinstated compulsory unionism and created new government agencies to help a social and enviromental agenda.

The National party formed a new government in October 1990, the first for three three-year terms. In 1996 New Zealand changed electoral system to Mixed Member Propotional(MMP) wich they now use to elect their parliament. The purpose of the new system was to increase representation from smaller parties in parliament, wich it has done in the wotes to this date.

In the election of November 1999 National lost to Labour who under Helen Clark formed a coallition minority government together with the left-wing Alliance. The new government often relied on the Green party for support in passing legislations. Labour kept it´s power in the election of July 2002 and a new coalition was formed with an agreement of support from the United Future party. Helen Clark remained Prime Minister. After the election on September 17 2005 Helen Clark could announce a third consecutive term of Labour government.

New Zealand seems to be having a nack for beeing first in the world with things regarding women and politics, because besides New Zealand being first to grant women the right to wote, they were also the forst country in the world to have all the highest offices occupied by women, between March 2005 and August 2006 this were the case.

After the election in November 2008 Labours three-term streak was over and the National party formed a minority government together with the ATC party and the Maori party.

The Sky Tower

2011-01-28 22:15

We always wanted to see some of New Zealand's attractions, so today we decided to take a look at The Sky Tower. 




The Sky Tower is both an obersavation and telecommuncations tower in Auckland. It is approximately 328 metres tall from ground level to the top of the mast. The Sky Tower is the 15th tallest member of the Worlds Federation of Great Towers, and has become an iconic structure in Auckland's skyline. The tower attracts lots of tourists almost an average of 1,450 visitors per day. The upper side of the tower has a revolving resturang. Me and Ramin didn't mind eating there because we were getting hungry from the bus trip, so we had a lunch break in the resturant. The resturant is located 190m from the ground, and it is turning 360 degrees once every hour. You can also find a brasserie style buffet which is located one floor above the main observatory level. The Sky Tower has over three different observation decks at different heights and all of them turns 360 degrees once a hour. The tower also haves the "SkyJump" and it is a 192-metre jump from the observation deck which means that a jumper can reach up to 85km/h. The jump is a guide-cable-controlled preventing jumpers from colliding with the tower of wind gusts. The tower is also used for broadcasting with APE (Auckland Peering Exchange), which is located on level 48. The top of the tower hosts the largest FM combiner in the world.


We left the tower and when we were outside I turned around and looked at the tower and asked Ramin if he knows anything about the construction, and ofcourse he didn't know about know anything about it.



The Sky Tower is designed to hold strong winds in a speed of 200km/h and also resist earthquakes. From many tests and results it shows that an earthquake centered 40 kilometres away and reaching 7.0 on the Richter magniture scale will leave the tower undamaged. Even if a earthquake could have a magnitude of 8.0 the tower wouldn't collapse. The Sky Tower also feature something that I really really like, if you go out at night you will see that the tower lids up.


The lighting of the tower promotes various causes using a number of colours. here are some of the examples:


Blue = Auckland Blues Rugby franchise

 Pink = Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Red & Green = 'Kidz First' Childrens Hospital/Christmas

Red & Gold = Chinese New Year

Blue & Green = Starship Children's Foundation

Orange = Auckland Festival

Green & Purple = The Auckland Cup

Green = St. Patrick's Day

Red = The America's Cup

Green, Red and White = Rally New Zealand

Gold = New Zealand Olympians at the XXIX Olympiad

Blue & Red space = Matariki

No lighting = Earth Hour



  


Economy

2011-01-27 20:30

New Zealand is dependent on international trade, especially in Agriculture.

In major export partners  are Australia, United States, Japan, China and The United Kingdom. New Zealand signed the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement on 7 April 2008, It is the first agreement China has ever signed with a developing country. New Zealands tourism plays a huge roll on the country's economy, over $15 billion is contributed to New Zealand's total GPD and it is supported 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010. New Zealand's international visitors increased by 3.1 procent in the year to October 2010 and it is still increasing by 2.5 percent anually to 2015. New Zealand's Wool was a major agricultural export in the late 19th century. During the 1960s all the export revenues was made over a third, however it's price dropped relative to other commodities and wool wasn't profitable any longer for the industri or the farmers on the countryside. Between 1990 and 2007 dairy farming increased, the number of dairy cows was doubling and this became New Zealand's largest export earner. In June 2009 almost 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of the dairy products were accounted of the total merchandise exports. Other agricultural exports In 2009 were meat 13.2 percent, wool 6.3 percent, fruit 3.5 percent and fishing 3.3 percent During 1970s the goverment offered a number of subsidies to assist farmers in The United Kingdom and in 1980 the government provided some farmers with 40 procent of their share. However in 1984 the labour government ended all farm subsides and soon after this  the agricultural industry became the most deregulated sector in New Zealand in 1990. 







How we ended up in New Zealand

2011-01-19 22:15

Me and Ramin were supposed to go to New York and make a report about USA. However when we arrived at JFK international airport we had some trouble. I went through customs just fine, Ramin on the other hand was stopped and taken away to a small interrogation room. While he was away I had to spend several hours waiting at the airport. It felt a little like the movie The Terminal except I had money and I wasn´t forced to eat crackers with mustard and ketchup. Since I had the funds for our trip I went shoe shopping while Ramin was being interrogated. From what he told me later when we were reunited, I had a much nicer time than he had. I don´t have the details about what happened in that interrogation room, but when I saw Ramin again his eyes where far away and he had developed a nervous tic, flinching at every sound. I was a little concerned, but since I had nice new shoes I was still happy, that was until I heard that Ramin had managed to get him self deported. Apparently the US government suspected him of being a terroroist, and had therefore decided to ship him of to New Zealand. I was a little ticked of but accepted my fate, I would be reporting from New Zealand instead of America. 


Two guards took me to a room and started the interrogation. First I was very calm about it and answered their questions, but then the tables turned. They started to beat me and screaming, they asked about my origin and my religion and personal thoughts about their country. I stopped answering and ignored them. The first guard claimed that he had invented a machine that could find ....Terroroists? And put me in jail, I started to laugh for myself, and then it started to get creapy...like really really creapy. He brought a machine that was very huge like old computer with a mask ....it looked like a mask that Doctors put patients to sleep.

I struggled but in the end I blacked out. When I woke up the guards told me that I was free and they didn't find any Terrorists in me, I find this procedure very unecessary. The second guard was also very creapy becuase he wanted to sniff my socks after explosives? This is very fucked up when I read this. After 1 hour they had to let me go, I was petrified and wanted to leave the airport.



And so we did....

The Parlament in New Zealand

2011-01-25 22:00

The New Zealand parlament is the supreme legislave power. The supremecy was established in England by Bill Of Rights in 1689 and today it's a law in New Zealand. The Goverment is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats which means if no majority is formed a minority goverment can be formed if support from other parties is obtained through confidence votes. In 1842 the first judge of the judiciary was installed when New Zealand became a crown coloni and no longer had a jurisdiction of the New South Wales Supreme Court. The Privy Council was the final appeal in London until 2004 it was replaced with the Supreme Court of New Zealand, now New Zealand's highest court. Between 1853 and 1996 almost all parlamentary general elections were held under the first past the post system. Since 1930 this system were dominated by two political parties, National and Labour. Since 1996, a form of proportinal representation  called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used. Each person has two votes, one is for the 65 electoral seats under the MMP system. 55 seats remains and are assigned so that represantation in parlament reflects the party vote. A party needs to win one electoral seat or 5 percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for one of the 120 seats in Parliament.

Geography & Climate

2011-01-24 20:30

Today we visited one of New Zealands famous national park Abel Tasman National Park. It is located at the north end of the South Island of New Zealand. Founded in 1942 by Perrine Moncrieff. He reserved that land with a coverage of only  225,3 square kilometers and it is the smallest of New Zealand national parks. The park is named after the first european explorer Abel Tasman who discovered New Zealand in 1642. Me and Natalie walked around the park and talked about our work here and suddenly we asked ourselves how the land looks like (geographically), and also we wanted to know how the climate is in New Zealand so we decided to meet an expert for those questions.

New Zealand is long over 1,600 kilometers and the country is made up of two islands, The South Island and The North Island. South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand. If you are on the top of South Island you will see lots of forests and they actually have a few national parks over there. In the south-western corner of the South Island you will be in a area called Fjordland. It's a area that contains high mountains cut through with steep fjords. The North Island is a little bit less mountainous, however it is marked by volcanism becuase of the highly active volcano callled Taupo. There isn't much to say about the land more than it is tropical island, so we asked the expert about the climate. The climate in New Zealand is different as any other country, the summer in New Zealand is in January, so if you want to travel to New Zealand then travel in January. The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10°C in the south to 16°C in the north. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours  the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400 to 2,500 hours

 



The naked man situation & Education, religion

2011-01-23 11:00

Natalie doesn't find problems, the problems finds her.


Last night I left the hotel room and was going to buy a coke. Meanwhile Natalie was alone and somehow the front door was open and she was watching tv. Suddenly a naked man came inside the room. Natalie was terrified, the man just came inside and he had a mask on and was walking towards the bed, standing on it and started to dance. Natalie became pissed off and punched him so hard that he ran off and she chased him outside the hotel. I saw her ran after him but eventually stopped and walked back to me, cause he'd already was out of sight. After this incident we locked the door more often. Today we are going to talk about the education and religion in New Zealand.


Schools in New Zealand is compulsory for children at 6-16 years with the majority attending from the age of 5. Public schools are free for anyone and today over 99 procent of the population in New Zealand has a adult literacy and the rest half of the people aged 15 to 29 holds a tertiary qualification.


Christianity is the most dominated religion in New Zealand held by 56% of the population, another statistic holds 34.7 percent indicates that they had no religion, and around 4 percent affiliated with other religions. Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Presbyterianism and Methodism. Other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.



 

The Interview

2011-01-22 21:00

Today me and Natalie woke up early for the interview with Zoe Bell. We left the hotel room and went outside and took the bus to Zoe's place. Her home was a little bit outside of Auckland. We arrived after 15 min and knocked on her door, she answered and gave us a big smile, She invited us inside and then ......we saw lots and lots of cookies, milk and biscuits  on the table, Natalie was quite suprised but glad that Zoe really liked us. Zoe Bell is 32 years old and is a actress and a stuntwoman from New Zealand. When Zoe was only 15, she studied Teakwon-Do and dancing. She attended Auckland Girls' Grammar School and Selwyn College. Bell started her career when her father was treating a stuntman from a head injury. He come with a phone number to Zoe for her to call. Her first stunt was jumping out of a car from the soap opera, Shortland Street. Since then she worked as a stuntwoman for many tv-series such as Hercules and Xena. Zoe also worked with Tarantino in his movies such as Kill Bil Vol.1 and Vol.2 In 2007 she played herself in the movie Death Proof as a stuntwoman. After the interview she showed us Death Proof (Which is one of my favourit movies). After we saw the whole movie we decided to thank her for the interview and the movie, she thanked us for our interests and said goodbye.

We actually have two links from youtube that contain scenes from Death Proof.

The first scene is the girl version of the breakfast scene from Tarantions first debut movie, Reservoir Dogs. It's actually a very funny scene and I always want watch it over and over again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxAIWLEy4mA

The second scene is when Zoe plays "Ships Mast"

Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlkuwTsP9Tg




   Zoe Bell In Death Proof (2007)

Meeting with Zoe Bell and Sports, Military

2011-01-21 09:15

Hello people people!

Today we met the famous Zoe Bell from the movie Death Proof and she is playing herself as a stuntgirl (yes she's a stuntgirl in real life to). We arranged a meeting at the hotel. Zoe Bell has been in various movies and worked with Quentin since Kill Bill Vol.1 and 2 as a stuntgirl and a stunt cordinator. We decided to leave the hotel and went to a cafeteria that was called....Oh! I forgot the name, but anyway we sat down and had a jolly good time. I decided to ask Zoe Bell about the sports (becuase she is closest to sports becuase of her stunts) and she stated: "Early sports played in New Zealand were cricket, bowls, hockey and lawn tennis, while horse racing and fishing were also popular". I asked about rugby and she continued: "The first rugby fotball game was played in 1870 and successful tours by the Unoffical and official national teams to Australia and the United Kingdom played a role in forging New Zealand's national identity". After her little information about the sports I asked her about the country's military defence.


In many countries they have a  Defence Force. The New Zealand national defence force are not into direct attacks.  New Zealand was involved in couple of wars such as the naval Battle of the River Plate and the Battle of Britain air campaign.In World War II, the United States stationed 400,000 American military personnel in New Zealand. New Zealand also was foughted  in the Second Boer War, and the Afghanistan War for global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran/Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.

We decided to stop right there and leave the place becuase it was getting late, however tomorrow i'm going to tell you guys all about Zoe Bell's work

Stay Tuned .....biatches!

New Zealand History-X

2011-01-20 20:45

Today we went outside to find a place for a nice meal and some for chit chat of course. We passed lots of shops and finally we found this nice restaurant called Covo Restaurant Parnell. It was a good thing we choose this place because Natalie is vegetarian and they have all sorts of vegetarian food....with whine!. Anyway we sat down and had our order placed and Natalie didn't study so much about the history of New Zealand, so I explained it. Apparently In AD 1250-1300 the first known settlers were Eastern Polynesians that arrived with canoe, however some researchers claim that either they died out or left the islands. And then the food came but Natalie wanted to hear more of the history so i continued. After that the Europeans came, the first Europeans that is known today were the Dutch, the explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman and his crew in 1642. There were people before them that were called Maori. When Abel and his crew arrived to New Zealand the Maori people killed four of his crew and they left the island. In 1768 a British explorer named James Cook went on a voyage to New Zealand with his men. They reached New Zealand in 1769 and he almost mapped the entire coastline. Soon after this New Zealand was visited by numerous Europeans and North Americans. The Europeans traded food and goods for the Maori. Christian missionaries settles to New Zealand and converted most of the Maori population in the early 19th century. A early government was developing under British rule, New Zealand was a part of New South Wales but became later a separated crown colony which means this is a type of administration of the British Empire. Okiato was selected as the first capital but then one year later they changed the capital to Auckland in 1841. The Maori became very independent and wealthy in this period and the number of immigrants increased. This led to a conflict between the British and the Maori, the conflict was later named for New Zealand Land Wars during 1860s and 1870s which resulted a loss for the Maori. New Zealand declared itself within the British Empire in 1907 and the country later adopted the Statue Of Minister, and this resulted that New Zealand was making a commonwealth realm. In 1890 the economy was growing because of the refrigerated meat that they exported to Britain, allowing them to trade and develop a strong basis for economic growth. New Zealand was involved in several wars such as the Boer War, WW1 and WW2. The economy later got bad because of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The depression led to a election of the first Labor Government which means that they established a welfare state and a protectionist economy. After the war the country began to have a social problem with the Maori because they were forced to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. The Maori made a protest movement which criticized Euro centrism and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi, which they felt had not been fully honored. After my explanation about the history of New Zealand, Natalie had full knowledge about New Zealand and the Maori.


Tomorrow we're going to meet Zoe Bell....Yes the Zoe Bell from Quentin Tarantino’s blockbuster movie "Death Proof"....stay tuned for more