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What is New Zealand famous for?

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February 23, 2015 6:09PM

New Zealand is famous for its indigenous people, the Maori. Descendents of Polynesian explorers who settled the Pacific Ocean more than 1000 years ago, the Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud. Maori tattoos - often covering the entire face of a male, known as ta moko - are also famous. Opera diva, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa - who sang at Prince Charles of England's wedding to Lady Diana Spencer - is Maori. New Zealand's famous rugby team, the All Blacks, are also famous because they perform a traditional war dance, the haka, before every test match. Oscar winner Russell Crowe has Maori heritage, he descends from the Ngati Porou tribe through his mother's mother.

New Zealand is also famous for its spectacular landscapes.

South Island's scenery consists of plains, fjords, forests, mountains and Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.

North Island is known for its volcanoes and for its geothermal activity.

Many movie productions have chosen to make films in New Zealand, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

New Zealand is also known for sailing and rowing and other outdoors sports and activities.

NZ is also very famous for exports of fish, wool, sheep & lamb, beef, and dairy products.

Some famous New Zealand actors are Karl Urban, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, David Wenham, Sam Neil, Anna Paquin and Alan Dale. Peter Jackson, director of Lord of the Rings, is a New Zealander.

Sir Edmund Hillary (the first to climb Mt Everest) was born here. Ernest Rutherford was the first person to split the atom in 1917.

New Zealand was the first place to grant women the vote in 1893 (Kate Sheppard).

The music band Split Enz gained international fame in the 1980's with some members (notably the Finn brothers) later regrouping as Crowded House.

There are many millions of sheep in New Zealand - some ten times the human population which is currently a little over 4 million. In the 1970s and 1980 there were as many as 70-80 million sheep.