Like the United States and Australia, New Zealand as an immigration country has regarded education as a royal path to success. Free schooling for everyone according to talent and regardless of social background has been a leading principle in school policy and a foundation for welfare policy since the 1930s. The country also has a tradition of popular education similar to the Scandinavian. From the mid-1980s, the system has become increasingly decentralized and to some extent adapted to a free market.
Schooling is compulsory from the age of 6, but many start at school already at the age of 5. School duty ends at 16 years. A large proportion continue for another 3 years in secondary school, which prepares for universities and higher technical and other vocational institutions. Access to most university programs is free after completing secondary school. Vocational training polytechnics a pretty big meaning. More than 80% went to higher education in 2009. Schools and universities often collaborate with adult education bodies. Since the 1980s, they have greater freedom than before in terms of curricula and the use of financial resources.
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In 1989, a progressive reform of the country’s education system was started with increased decentralization and the individual schools today have great responsibility for the content of the education and the distribution of funds. More attention is now being paid to the needs of the Maoris, e.g. through teaching in their language and about their culture. The private school sector is allocated grants after negotiation with the Ministry of Education, which in 1989 replaced the central school authority.
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New Zealand’s first feature film, “Hinemoa”, was made in 1914 by George Tarr (1881-1968) after a Moorish legend. However, the father of the New Zealand film is Rudall Hayward (1900–74), who in addition to a series of short and documentary films produced six feature films 1922–28; He made his last film as late as 1972. The first sound movie, “Down on the Farm”, came in 1935, but in the future, tourist-oriented short films were prioritized and from 1941 – with the advent of the National Film Unit – journal and propaganda films. From 1940-70, only three feature films were made, all by John O’Shea (1920-2001) at his company Pacific Films.
It was not until the 1970s that signs of a New Zealand film industry appeared. In 1977 Tony Williams (born 1942) produced “Solo” and Roger Donaldson’s (born 1945) “Sleeping Dogs”, and in 1978 was founded after the Australian pattern New Zealand Film Commission with the mission to financially support domestic film production. As a result, the New Zealand film established itself internationally in the 1980s with the successes of Donaldson’s “Smash Palace” (1981) and Geoff Murphys (born 1946) “With the muzzle in the mirror” (1980), followed by the festival winners “Utu” (1983) and “The Silent Earth” (1985). Other notable directors were John Laing (born 1948) with “The Lost Tribe” (1984), Sam Pillsbury (born 1946)) with “The Scarecrow” (1982) and Vincent Ward (born 1956) with “The Navigator” (1988). Most of them have continued their careers in Australia and the United States.
During the 1990s, the Australian-educated Jane Campion established itself as a leading name. The long-film debut “Sweetie” (1989), “An Angel at My Table” (1990) and “Piano” (1993) all went on export all over the world and the latter received several Oscars. In 1987, the first feature film was written and directed by Maori: “Ngati”, written by Tama Poata (1936–2005) and directed by Barry Barclay (1944–2008). Even more famous was Lee Tamahori (born 1950) with “The Warrior’s Soul” (1994).
Director Peter Jackson has become famous for comic splatter films, such as “Bad Taste” (1987) and “Braindead” (1993), but also for the dark lesbian drama “Black Angels” (1994) and the filming of JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (2001 -03). A key to Jackson’s success with “The Lord of the Rings” and “King Kong” (2005) was the power company Weta, founded in 1987. Weta and Jackson’s recording studio in Wellington has also been used by other major productions, such as James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009) and Steven Spielberg’s ” Tintin’s Adventures: The Unicorn’s Secret ”(2011).
Sam Neill, the country’s internationally best-known actor, was responsible for an insightful documentary on the New Zealand film, “Cinema of Unease” in 1995.
New Zealand produces 4 to 6 feature films annually.
The Maoris dance takes place in groups and for singing at ceremonial occasions. Among the dance forms are the women’s dance poi, the “welcome dance ” powhiri and chin, which are mainly danced by men during stomping and blows to the body.
During the 1950s, a classical ballet tradition developed in New Zealand, which in 1961 led to the formation of the state-supported New Zealand Ballet Company (since 1984 Royal New Zealand Ballet). The National School of Ballet opened in Wellington in 1967.