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New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films.

{jcomments on} - New Zealand Government - Governor General of New Zealand - The Prime Minister and Cabinet - The New Zealand Parliament - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Statistics New Zealand

Map of New Zealand - Dominion-Post Wellington-based daily - The New Zealand Herald - Otago Daily Times - National Library of New Zealand - The National Tattoo Museum - New Zealand's culture - The New Zealand Edge - The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - The Museum of New Zealand - Bank of New Zealand - National Bank of New Zealand - Reserve Bank of New Zealand - New Zealand Stock Exchange - New Zealand Chambers of Commerce - Kiwiana Products - Otorohanga, Kiwiana Town - Air New Zealand - Christchurch International Airport - Dunedin International Airport - Interislander - New Zealand's Ferries - Ports of Auckland - Taieri Gorge Railway Dunedin - Tranz Scenic - Intercity Coachlines - Travel and tourist information - Destination Northland - Tourism Coromandel - Destination Manawatu - Rotorua New Zealand information - Regional Tourism Organisation - Canterbury and Christchurch South Island - Otago Peninsula - Tourism Waitaki - Lincoln University - University of Auckland - University of Canterbury - University of Otago - The University of Waikato - Victoria University of Wellington - Department of Conservation - Environmental research and consultancy services - SPREP Intergovernmental organisation - Archives New Zealand - New Zealand in History - New Zealand history - Maori culture and people - New Zealand index - Destination New Zealand - NZ NetGuide Web - Te Puna Web Directory

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Glamping on Kapiti Island and becoming even more of a #BirdNerd

One of my goals when I moved to New Zealand was to take advantage of owning a car and getting to visit places that are often overlooked by tourists. I know all the popular spots for foreign visitors - Rotorua, Hobbiton, Queenstown, Milford Sound. But what I really wanted to find were the places loved by locals. Where do kiwis go on holiday? This is one of the many reasons I fell in love with Wellington and Wanaka, both are places often overlooked by the big busloads of tourists but are still loved and revered by people from New Zealand. Once you start to scratch the surface and start listening to locals when traveling, those places aren't actually that hard to find.

After camping on Somes Island in the Wellington Harbor and taking a nighttime tour of Zealandia in Wellington, I was well on my way to becoming a certified, unabashed #BirdNerd. I've already waxed poetic about how absolutely awesome New Zealand birds are, in my first #BirdNerd post here, but I thought it was high time to show you my continuing birdie education in this part of the world.


The long and short of it is that New Zealand evolved without mammal predators until humans arrived in the 13th century (and ruined everything. Just kidding, but they did bring along unpleasant things like rats, possums, cats and weasels). This was incredibly damaging to New Zealand's delicate birdlife who had never met creatures like this before. Before people and rats arrived, New Zealand was a booming natural wonderland filled with birds, many of which were flightless because they weren't hunted on the ground by mammals. Afterwards, not so much.


In fact, when Captain Cook arrived in New Zealand in the 1700's, the naturalist on board his ship described the birdsong as 'deafening.' Oh how I wish I could have experienced that for myself. What a poignant reminder of how damaging humans have been to New Zealand's wildlife. Sigh.