Hobbiton is the home of Bilbo Baggins of both 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings'. This film set built near Matamata in the Waikato will feature in all of Peter Jacksons movies. The current set is being constructed so that it will support a long term tourism function for fans from around the world.
Mitre Peak stands above Milford Sound in the Fiordland region of New Zealand. It apparently resembles the mitre hat worn by Bishops. It is one of the countries most visited and photographed natural features.
In New Zealand most people can be divided into those who love Vegemite and those who hate it. A by-product of the brewing industry it is made from yeast. Generally spread thinly over toast it is a breakfast meal, although it can also be used in soups to add flavour. Some people prefer the taste of Marmite which is a similar product, although many foreigners cannot see the appeal of either.
Colim McCahon was apainter who emerged in New Zealand with a new and distinctive style. Many of his works challenged the norms of what was and wasn't art. Some contained a strong religious theme. This is his painting 'A question of faith'.
Whale Rider was a film made in 2002 and shot at the remote township of Whangara on the East Coast of the North Island. Based on the book by Witi Ihamaera it retold the myth of Paikea Apirana who was to lead the tribe but in the film this role was a girl, which her grandfather could not accept. It is resolved when several Whales beach themselves in front of the settlement.
Buzzy Bee is a small pull along child's toy. It was produced in massive numbers in the 1950-80's. Made from wood with small springs for the antennae. When pulled along by the string it would click and the wings would rotate. It was a favourite with generations of New Zealand children and many grandparents still buy one for their mokopuna today. Unfortunately the toy is now manufactured overseas and some parts are now plastic.
The Kauri tree is a native of New Zealand. It is one of the largest trees (by volume) in existence. There are very few left as widespread logging in the 19th century depleted most stands. The largest remaining tree is Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) in the Waipoua Forest in Northland. This picture is of "Te Matua Ngahere" (Father of the Forest) is the second largest but probably the oldest of the remaining Kauri trees and is estimated to exceed 2000 years.
Tui are a native bird of New Zealand. They are distinctive for their dark colouring, often dark brown to black, almost iradescent. At their throat they carry a tuft of white feathers, leading them to be called the 'parson' bird by early settlers. Also distinctive is their call which is produced by a having 2 voice boxes. Tui can be trained to mimic humans and annoyingly even a telephone ringing.
Sheep shearing developed as a seasonal enterprise. Because sheep were extremely plentiful there was always plenty of work. Shearers were hard working and dedicated to their craft and to the welfare of their sheep. Because of the large 'gang' that was employed to shear the sheep, it became a trade often dominated by Maori kin groups (whanau). The annual 'Golden Shears' tournament attracted huge crowds and was mainstay of rural events in the 20th century