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Land of the Long White Cloud


Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Tongariro National Park on New Zealand's North Island

© Tourism New Zealand

The early Polynesian settlers called the country Aotearoa, meaning Land of the Long White Cloud. It is a name by which New Zealand is quite often known.

Close to the Australian continent, New Zealand shares much of its history and culture with Australia.

Captain James Cook sailed around New Zealand in the Endeavour in 1769 on his voyage of discovery of Australia. On his three voyages around the New Zealand coast, he not only mapped the area but also provided place names, many of which still exist today.

Evocation of unique attractions

However, it was the Dutch explorer Abel van Tasman, who had sailed around Australia from Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) in 1642, who named the country Nieuw Zeeland, after the Netherlands province of Zeeland.

In time this evolved into the present-day spelling of New Zealand.


The name evokes a land of unique attractions, providing a mystique that draws travelers from many parts of the world to its southern hemisphere shores.

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