Land of the Long White Cloud; New Zealand; NZ; Enzed; Maoriland; Kiwiland; Moaland; Fernland; God’s Own Country; Godzone; The Antipodes; Downunder; Pig Island; Staten Landt; Niu Tireni; Zealandia; Nieuw Zeeland; The Shaky Isles; Middle Earth; Moa’s Ark; The best kept secret; half-gallon quarter-acre pavlova paradise
From ‘A’ for Aotearoa to ‘Z’ for Zealandia, New Zealand has been called many things, both formally and affectionately. The widely accepted Māori name is Aotearoa, usually translated as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’– aptly named given these islands’ propensity for donning a cloak of woolly white cumulus. Zealandia, also known as Tasmantis or the New Zealand continent, is a nearly submerged continental fragment that sank after breaking away from Australia 60 to 85 million years ago, having separated from Antarctica some 45 million years earlier. It may once have been completely submerged, and most of it remains so today. In Māori legend the North Island was a great fish caught by the demigod Māui. He hooked it from his canoe, or waka (the South Island), – the vessel’s anchor stone being Stewart Island. When the creation myth was conceived, the land mass was uncharted. Yet the North Island is fish-shaped – a stingray, its nose at Wellington and the end of its barb at the island’s northernmost tip.