Rugby union is New Zealand’s national sport.
I learned about rugby today. It sounds like American football, without protective gear. A team has 15 players with up to seven reserves. In pro rugby a player can be substituted once, unless they are a front-row specialist player replacing an injured front-row player.
There is also a “blood bin”, where a player with a visible and bleeding injury must leave the field to be bandaged up - they player must return to continue play within 15 minutes of leaving the field (actual time, not game clock).
The All Blacks are New Zealand’s national team. The All Blacks are a formidable force in international rugby and have a winning record against every international rugby team. The All Blacks compete annually with the Australian rugby team (the Wallabies), and the South African rugby team (the Springboks), in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with Australia. The All Blacks have been Tri-Nations champions eight times in the tournament’s eleven-year history.
Part III of a series “Learning about New Zealand, and not just The Lord of the Rings”
New Zealand’s official government information is available at a website called “The Beehive.”
There you can learn about Prime Minister Helen Clark’s key priorities for 2008. I am still trying to piece together how New Zealand’s government works. So far I know they have a Parliament, a Prime Minister, a Cabinet, and a Governor-General who has something to do with the Queen. Parliamentary seats are determined using a mixed member proportional electoral system (MMP). Here’s the MMP FAQ.
Part II of a series “Learning about New Zealand, and not just The Lord of the Rings”
Waitangi Day, 6 February, marks the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. This Treaty, often described as New Zealand’s founding document, was an agreement between Maori chiefs and the British Crown, and covered issues of sovereignty, possession and rights of citizenship. Differences between the English and Maori texts of the Treaty, and breaches of its terms in the years following its signing, have complicated New Zealanders’ sense of the ongoing importance of this agreement.
Part I of a series “Learning about New Zealand, and not just The Lord of the Rings”