Visas: Only a valid passport is required by citizens of most countries. UK passport holders may be given a visa valid for up to six months providing that they produce evidence of their right to reside permanently in the UK. Public holidays: New Year’s Day (2 January); Waitangi (6 Feb); Anzac Day (25 April); Good Friday; Easter Monday; Queen’s Birthday (June); Labour Day (Oct); Christmas Day; Boxing Day (26 Dec). Good buys: Sheepskin and woollen products, including jumpers, coats and rugs, can be bought all over the country for very reasonable prices. Maori woodcarvings make good gifts and souvenirs, as does greenstone (New Zealand jade which is found only on the West Coast of the South Island). Local dishes: It goes without saying that a typical New Zealand dish is roast lamb, gravy and vegetables. Kumara is a much-loved indigenous sweet potato. It is a popular component of the hangi, a Maori feast cooked in an earth oven (a hole in the ground). Fish and seafood are found throughout the country and include whitebait, bluff oysters, tuatua (local clams) and pipi (similar to tuatua). Barbecues are also a popular pastime. Interesting fact: The New Zealand flag comprises the British blue ensign, reflecting the country’s colonial heritage, with the emblem of the Southern Cross constellation depicting its geographic location. Good reading: The Insight Guide, New Zealand (APA Publications) is a comprehensive guide with good illustrations.
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