New Zealand Study Unit

This page comes from this site. I"m copying the information here in case this page gets lost over time. I got it free from the Homeschooling Minute which comes from The Old Schoolhouse magazine.
Unit Study:

1. READING SELECTIONS - Let's start with some extra reading. Listed below are some great books about New Zealand, or set in New Zealand, that will provide many hours of enjoyable reading. The links below will take you to for more information, but you can find these at your local library. Read for pleasure alone, or have your kids write a book report on one of these selections.

Use these books:
New Zealand Shake-Up (Ruby Slippers School Series , No 6)

Australia and New Zealand (True Books-Geography: Countries)
The Maori of New Zealand (First Peoples)
New Zealand ABC (Country ABCs)

2. HISTORY & TIMELINES - Learn more about New Zealand by compiling historical facts and events from New Zealand's exciting history and adding them to your timeline. If you do not have a timeline on the go, you can construct one by following these directions - How to Make a Timeline Easily. Here is a link to a wonderful resource for timeline entries about New Zealand -

3. MAPWORK - A unit study would not be complete without taking a good look at the lay of the land. Click here for both a labeled and unlabeled map of New Zealand. Have your students mark some of the major cities, the southern mountain range and the seas, at the least. For older students, have them use your teacher's map and fill in the rest!

4. RECIPES - This is my favorite part - the food from the land! If you do the above activities on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then take some time on either Thursday or Friday to whip up some authentic New Zealand cuisine in the kitchen.

New Zealand cuisine is characterized by its freshness and diversity and has been described as Pacific Rim, drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia, Polynesia and its indigenous people, the Maori. Freshness is owed to its surrounding ocean and fertile lands. Its distinctiveness is more in the way New Zealanders eat - generally preferring to be as relaxed and unaffected as possible.

A Maori specialty is the hangi (pronounced hung-ee), a pit in which meats or fish are cooked with vegetables. A deep hole is dug in the ground, lined with red-hot stones and covered with vegetation. The food is then placed on top. The whole oven is sprinkled with water and sealed with more vegetation. The hole is then filled with earth and left to steam for several hours. Traditionally, men dig and prepare the hole, and women prepare the food to go in it. All members of an extended family (whanau) help out for such a feast. The occasion is relaxed, friendly and fun, with people often eating the meal under a marquee.

It may be difficult to pull off the above, but here are three more recipes of local New Zealand food that can be attempted in your own kitchen. Enjoy!

ANZAC BISCUITS are a snack food most commonly made primarily from rolled oats, coconut, and golden syrup.

Many myths have grown around the Anzac biscuit. It has been reported that they were made by Australian and New Zealand women for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers of World War I and were reputedly first called "Soldiers' Biscuits" and then "Anzac Biscuits" after the Gallipoli landing. The recipe was reportedly created to ensure the biscuits would keep well during naval transportation to loved ones who were fighting abroad.
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 level teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water

Mix dry ingredients, melt butter & syrup together in small saucepan. Dissolve soda in boiling water, add to dry ingredients. Cook until golden brown at 350 degrees.

PAVLOVA - New Zealand's national dessert

Pavlova is a light and fluffy meringue dessert named after the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. Both Wellington, New Zealand and Perth, Australia claim to be the home of the dish. The earliest record of the recipe is a cook book published in New Zealand in 1933, two years before claims made in Perth.

Pavlova is traditionally decorated with fresh fruit and whipped cream, and is especially popular in Australia and New Zealand. Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets in those countries and decorated as desired but rarely achieve home-baked quality.

Leftover pavlova can be stored in the fridge overnight, but will absorb moisture from the air and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can safely be left overnight in the oven in which it was baked, to be decorated in the morning.

* 3 Egg whites
* 250g (9 oz.) superfine sugar
* pinch of Salt
* 5 ml or 1 tsp Vinegar
* 5 ml or 1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1. Beat the egg whites and salt to a very stiff consistency before folding in sugar, vanilla and vinegar. Beat until the mixture holds its shape and stands in sharp peaks.
2. Slow-bake the mixture at 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit) to dry all the moisture and create the meringue, approximately 45 minutes. This leaves the outside of the pavlova a crisp crunchy shell, while the interior remains soft and moist.
3. A top tip (but not traditional) is to turn the pavlova upside down before decorating with cream and fruit because the bottom is less crispy than the top after cooking and unless you serve it immediately after decorating the "top" absorbs moisture from the cream. Another tip is to leave the pavlova in the oven after turning off the heat - this helps to prevent the middle of the pavlova from collapsing (although if it does collapse, generous application of cream can hide any mistakes!)


Fairy bread is white bread lightly spread with margarine or butter, and then sprinkled with either sugar or more commonly Hundreds and Thousands (also known as sprinkles or nonpareils, a Masterfoods product consisting of small balls of coloured sugar intended to decorate cakes).

Fairy bread is served almost exclusively at children's parties in Australia and New Zealand. Slices of the bread are typically cut into triangles and stacked tastefully on the host's paper plate.

It was originally made using finely chopped rose petals for colour and scent instead of the sugary lollies that are used today.

5. CRAFTS - Finally, it's craft time!

This craft was chosen as a quick and simple one that represents New Zealand, its people and environment. The felt kiwi can be used as brooches or even fridge magnets.
Felt Kiwi

craft pics Materials:

* brown fur fabric (body - fig 1)
* dark brown felt (wings - fig 2)
* yellow vinyl (beak, feet - fig 3 & 4)
* pair wobbly eyes per kiwi
* stuffing
* needle and thread
* glue

Print off your kiwi pattern pieces here


1. Cut 2 body pieces out of fur fabric, 2 wings from brown felt, 1 feet piece and one beak from yellow vinyl.
2. Body and wings - with right sides together and wings tucked to the inside sew from base around top to base - leaving a space for turning the right way out. (fig 1)
3. Turn right side out and stuff the body, gathering in the base slightly to make it round before sewing it up.
4. Feet - position rounded base of body onto round area of feet piece and glue carefully.
5. Beak - glue only the top of the beak into fur, not the whole length of beak.
6. Eyes - add wobbly eyes just above top of beak. (White plastic with black pupils can be used as a good alternative to bought eyes).

The kiwi is a nocturnal flightless bird native to New Zealand. The kiwifruit (all one word) is a fuzzy fruit, also called the chinese gooseberry. To call the fruit a kiwi is offensive to a growing number of New Zealanders as the kiwi is our national bird and a strong symbol of our country. New Zealanders are also affectionately known as Kiwis.

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