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Mission

Facts

LOCATION Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Capital (2003 est.) Wellington
Largest cities Auckland, Christchurch
POPULATION 4,252,277 (July 2010 est.)
GDP $114.9 billion (2009est.)
SIZE 268,680 sq km
LANGUAGE English (official), Maori (official)
Monetary unit New Zealand dollar
Prime Minister John Key (2008)

History

Maoris were the first inhabitants of New Zealand, arriving on the islands in about 1000. Maori oral history maintains that the Maoris came to the island in seven canoes from other parts of Polynesia. In 1642, New Zealand was explored by Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator. British captain James Cook made three voyages to the islands, beginning in 1769. Britain formally annexed the islands in 1840.

The Treaty of Waitangi (Feb. 6, 1840) between the British and several Maori tribes promised to protect Maori land if the Maoris recognized British rule. Encroachment by British settlers was relentless, however, and skirmishes between the two groups intensified

From the outset, the country has been in the forefront of social welfare legislation. New Zealand was the world's first country to give women the right to vote (1893). It adopted old-age pensions (1898); a national child welfare program (1907); social security for the elderly, widows, and orphans, along with family benefit payments; minimum wages; a 40-hour workweek and unemployment and health insurance (1938); and socialized medicine (1941).

New Zealand fought with the Allies in both world wars as well as in Korea. In 1999, it became part of the UN peacekeeping force sent to East Timor.

In recent years, New Zealand has introduced extremely liberal social policies. In June 2003, Parliament legalized prostitution and in Dec. 2004, same-sex unions were recognized. In 2005, Helen Clark was elected for the second time. She lost her re-election bid in 2008, when the centre-right National Party, led by John Key, took 45.5% of the vote in parliamentary elections. Clark's Labour Party garnered 33.8%. Key became prime minister in November. Key's win ended nine years of governance by the Labour Party. Get Newzealand immigration including Newzealand visa and Newzealand citizenship. Newzealand immigration consultant provide comprehensive information. Contact us for Immigration agent for Newzealand, Immigration consultant for Newzealand.

Geography

New Zealand, about 1,250 mi (2,012 km) southeast of Australia, consists of two main islands and a number of smaller outlying islands so scattered that they range from the tropical to the Antarctic. The country is the size of Colorado. New Zealand's two main components are the North Island and the South Island, separated by Cook Strait. The North Island (44,281 sq mi; 115,777 sq km) is 515 mi (829 km) long and volcanic in its south-central part. This area contains many hot springs and beautiful geysers. South Island (58,093 sq mi; 151,215 sq km) has the Southern Alps along its west coast, with Mount Cook (12,316 ft; 3754 m) the highest point. Other inhabited islands include Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, and Great Barrier Island. The largest of the uninhabited outlying islands are the Auckland Islands (234 sq mi; 606 sq km), Campbell Island (44 sq mi; 114 sq km), the Antipodes Islands (24 sq mi; 62 sq km), and the Kermadec Islands (13 sq mi; 34 sq km).

Government

Democratic Elections
New Zealand has a very stable political environment. Elections are held every 3 years. Most of the 120 members of parliament represent a particular geographical area (their electorate) and have a lot of personal contact with people in that area. Some MPs represent only a particular party, to ensure that their party has the same weightage in parliament as it received at voting time. There is no "Upper House" in parliament.

Visiting Parliament
Parliament buildings, especially the "Beehive" a round building that contains offices of the party in power, are a Wellington landmark. Members of the public may walk in the grounds and tour the buildings. There is a public viewing gallery and the debates are also broadcasted on the radio.

Legal System
New Zealand does not have a written constitution, but functions on traditions inherited from Britain. Power is distributed between the legislature (parliament), the judiciary (courts) and the executive (government departments, local bodies and the ruling party) so that no branch of government monopolises. A Governor-General represents the Queen. The Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement signed by representatives of Maori tribes and the British Crown in 1840, is regarded by many people as a founding document for modern New Zealand society.

Cultural Activities
New Zealand's multi-cultural society of today is a result of migration from all parts of the world, beginning with the Maori from the Pacific and, later, the Britishers in the 18th century.

New Zealanders are famous for their warm hospitality to overseas visitors. We call ourselves "Kiwis". We're friendly, welcoming, enjoy meeting people from other cultures and love sharing food and conversation. In daily life, we're quite informal. First names are used, even in business.

Climate
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so there is a climate reversal. January and February are the warmest months, autumn is from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November.

The climate is temperate with relatively mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The weather differs a lot between different geographical regions.

Four Seasons Capsuled in One Day
The weather can also change dramatically and very quickly, so that people joke about experiencing "four seasons in one day". It is a good idea to keep a coat or jersey with you, even if it looks bright in the morning. Warm, waterproof, clothing is essential if you go hiking. See Clothing

Economy
New Zealand's stable economy and political system, reputation for innovation and the ease of doing business make it an attractive place to invest.
The right partnerships between overseas capital and New Zealand businesses have resulted in outstanding commercial successes. The New Zealand Government actively encourages foreign investment and the country has world class infrastructure to support business activity. Whether you are a corporate, funds or individual investor, there are a number of compelling reasons to consider New Zealand.

Food
Wonderful fresh food at good prices is an integral part of New Zealand lifestyle, one that New Zealanders often take for granted. There are many great cafes that reflect our informal way of life, offering fresh cuisine and some of the best coffee you will ever taste!

We are a major producer of pasture-fed lamb, venison and beef. Dairy products, fruit and vegetables are bountiful and inexpensive. New Zealand has a wide range of local and imported food, easily available.

For dining out, food outlets range from casual dining and café food to exclusive and expensive evening restaurants - as well as international fast-food chains and local ''takeaway'' shops for fish and chips.

New Zealand wines are world famous - many of New Zealand regions are now producing grapes for winemaking. Restaurants may have a full liquor license or you can bring your own bottle of wine, for a small corkage fee.

Religion
A true multi-cultural society, New Zealand offers you religious freedom.

Most major religions are represented in New Zealand. There is no discrimination on the basis of religion, which is seen as a matter of personal choice. Major cities have churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other centres of worship for most religions. Homestay families and student hostels can ensure that religious dietary requirements are respected.

About 10% of the population is actively Christian and many of the public holidays are from the Christian calendar.

Tertiary institutions have Catholic and Protestant chaplains who can probably link students with their respective faiths. This kind of support is very important when you are away from your own family and country.
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