Tauranga & New Zealand

About New Zealand

While you are here in the beautiful nation of New Zealand, we’ll make sure you have some time to explore! There’s so much to see and do – so even though you are here for your DTS, we encourage you to have a look around and learn about this nation where the YWAM movement was actually birthed!

New Zealand, or “Aotearoa” (a Maori word meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”) consists of two main islands; North Island (Maori: Te Ika-a-Maui) and South Island (Maori: Te Waipounamu). Both islands together are about the same size as California and Washington states combined. Sheep outnumber people in New Zealand by almost 7-1, with 4.7 million people and 30 million sheep.

Aotearoa is full of natural beauty, from its green hills to its beautiful beaches and snow-capped mountains in the winter.

We are the first to see the sunrise in the morning, as we sit just west of the International Date Line. We are 12-13 hours ahead of Western Europe and 18-21 hours ahead of continental USA.

To the north and east lies the Pacific Ocean and between ourselves and Australia lies the Tasman Sea. The total land area is about the size of Italy, the United Kingdom or the US State of Colorado.

New Zealand lies on the junction of the Pacific and Australasia tectonic places, and it is not uncommon to feel an earthquake now and then. Most are barely felt, however, as we have seen in the South Island city of Christchurch in 2011, they can also be extremely destructive.

The South Island has the high snow covered mountain peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps, a range running almost 500 kilometres (300 miles) along the Island.

The make up of New Zealand inhabitants is quite diverse for such a small place! Europeans who have migrated here make up about 75% of the population, while Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, make up about 10-14%. Maori were said to have first arrived here about 1,000 years ago. The Maori community have adopted western lifestyles for the most part, but are working hard to keep their culture, language and art alive. Many other ethnic groups call New Zealand home, with the largest group coming from Polynesia (Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands). Auckland is now the Polynesian capital of the world! There are more Cook Islanders in New Zealand than in the Cook Islands! People have also immigrated from China, India, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Holland, South Africa, the United States, and Canada. The diverse mix of nationalities makes New Zealand a rich and fascinating place to live.

Learn more by going to the (very cool) New Zealand travel site: http://www.newzealand.com/int/

Cityscape view from Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand

About Tauranga City

Tauranga is a city blessed with sunshine and temperate weather all year long. It’s actually New Zealand’s fastest growing city, and is known for its horticulture including kiwifruit, grapes, citrus fruits, and the new golden kiwifruit called: “Zespri.”

Well known as a vacation destination, Tauranga is home to Mount Maunganui, referred to by the locals as “the Mount”. The white sand surf beaches of Mount Maunganui,  and Papamoa draw thousands of visitors in the summer months. Because of its relative size, there is a lot more to do here than in the smaller costal towns.

Tauranga, and the surrounding area, offers a decent range of activities to enjoy like indoor rock climbing, surfing, swimming, sky diving, whale watching, extreme jet boating, and of course, bungy jumping. The Mount is home to lots of different water sports and also hosts the national surf championships.

The people here are friendly and the scenery is simply stunning. You will soon see why it is one of the sweetest spots in all of New Zealand!