New Zealand is the youngest country on earth - the last major landmass to be discovered. It has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting both our Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. New Zealand today is a culturally diverse and fascinating country. Discover the movie magic when you visit the Lord of the Rings filming locations. Take guided tours of the stunning locations shot in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
3. Ernest Rutherford


Ernest Rutherford’s Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1908 was reported briefly and vaguely in New Zealand. He had, said one report, “devoted a great amount of time to the study of radium”.

It was as though both Rutherford – who had been conducting research at McGill University in Canada and Manchester University in Britain – and his work were too remote in the physical and intellectual sense for ordinary people to even begin to understand.

But by the mid-1920s, when he returned home for a visit, he was a national hero; everyone knew who he was and that he had done great work in the field of nuclear physics, even if they did not fully grasp what it was about.

Rutherford made three great discoveries. The first, for which he won the Nobel Prize, was to show that radioactivity derives from the spontaneous disintegration of atoms. The second was to establish the model of the atom, so well recognised today as a nucleus with electrons revolving around it, like a minute solar system.

Ernest Rutherford with the two scientists who split the atom in the 1930s, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton.

His third great breakthrough came when he succeed in transforming nitrogen into an isotope of oxygen. The impact of his research was huge and it was no exaggeration to say that he was the father of nuclear physics.

But there was something more to Rutherford’s greatness. He was not only a great scientist but a great leader and a great teacher. As head of the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge University, he mentored and directed some of the greatest scientific names of the 20th century. They included Nobel Prize winners Neils Bohr and James Chadwick, as well as John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, who were the first to split the atom. Throughout his brilliant career – in which he was showered with honours and made a baron in 1931 – Rutherford never lost two essential qualities of the ideal New Zealand character: pragmatism and modesty. Ernest died in 1937.

Travel to New Zealand. There is just so much to do make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit. You will find a diverse range of scenery and conditions from sub-tropical to a little colder down south particularly in the winter time. New Zealand can be enjoyed at a pace to suit every age group. Grab a cheap flight to New Zealand for a game of golf, Buy a map, hire a rental car, have an adventure and fill your lungs with the smog free air New Zealand has to offer. Accommodation from backpackers, bed and breakfast to luxury hotel. Take your New Zealand tour.