In New Zealand, comprising of an extensive collection of islands right in the heart of the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll feel as though you’re on a journey back to the origins of the planet. Completely isolated, these huge stretches of well-preserved landscapes reveal their breathtaking wilderness and white sandy beaches, lapped at by the waters of the Tasman Sea. Peter Jackson chose the fantastical scenery of the Tongariro National Park in the North Island, sculpted by volcanoes, to recreate the imaginary world of Lord of the Rings. In the distance, the snow-capped mountains of New Zealand’s South Island shimmers in the sun, marked by Stewart Island at its most distant point, where seals and whales frolic in the icy waters, as the Aurora Australis fills the sky.
In the primary forests, a low yet powerful chant fills the subtropical vegetation. That will be the Maoris, deeply attached to their land. But their original “Aotearoa” has been reshaped by pioneers from Old Europe who arrived here looking for a better life. Their sheep, now a national symbol, fill the lush green valleys of modern New Zealand. In the cities, 19th-century wooden houses built by the first settlers now sit in the shadow of towering skyscrapers. Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton... New Zealand’s cities have managed to hold on to their deep-seated connection to their ancestral home, despite their flagrant modernity. Kiwi gastronomy elegantly transcends the crude rise and fall of trends inspired by their generous foster mother. The flavours of the land, sea and vineyards stimulate the creativity of open-minded chefs such as Peter Gordon, the father of fusion, and Charles Pipi Tukukino Royal, who has forged the identity of contemporary Maori cuisine. So just like the haka, New Zealand is a melting pot of influences that spread through all areas of art and design, giving the country an unparalleled way of life.