Turquoise-blue sea, white sandy beaches, fascinating nature and cultural diversity – hardly any other term awakens wanderlust like “Oceania”.
Oceania: Breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife
This continent in the South Pacific includes more than 7,500 widely dispersed islands. By far the largest land masses are:
- New Zealand
- New Guinea
Due to their remote location, a unique wildlife could develop on the three islands. The best known representatives are probably the kangaroos, platypus and koalas common in Australia. New Zealand’s national animal, the flightless kiwi bird, is nowhere else in the world. But visitors not only move the unusual animals, but above all the breathtaking landscapes to the other side of the world.
Off the northeast coast of Australia is one of the seven wonders of nature, the colorful Great Barrier Reef. The remaining coastlines of the huge country also impress with fantastic, tropical vegetation and fantastic beaches. The sparsely populated interior inspires with its vastness: Endless red desert landscapes, rugged canyons and bizarre rock formations like the Uluru give the outback a special magic.
The same word comes to mind for many when they are in New Zealand for the first time. According to Countryaah, the two main islands of New Zealand only cover just under 270,000 square kilometers, but you can find almost all types of landscape here. High mountain ranges, imposing glaciers, impressive fjord landscapes, rolling green hills, subtropical rainforests and white sandy beaches are closer together than anywhere else.
|Country||Public expenditure on education as a share of GDP (per cent)||Public expenditure on education as a share of the state budget (percent)|
|Australia||5.3 (2016)||14.1 (2015)|
|Fiji||3.9 (2013)||14.3 (2013)|
|Kiribati||12.0 (2001)||11.5 (2001)|
|Marshall Islands||12.2 (2003)||22.5 (2003)|
|Micronesia Federation||12.5 (2015)||22.3 (2015)|
|New Zealand||6.4 (2016)||18.3 (2016)|
|Palau||7.6 (2002)||15.5 (2002)|
|Papua New Guinea||1.9 (2018)||–|
|Solomon Islands||9.9 (2010)||17.5 (2010)|
|Samoa||4.1 (2016)||10.5 (2016)|
|Tonga||3.9 (2004)||18.1 (2004)|
|Vanuatu||4.7 (2017)||11.8 (2017)|
- Want to know what flags look like in Oceania? Check ALLCITYPOPULATION to find high definitions national flags of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
The mentality of the people in Oceania is also impressive. The casual outlook on life of the “Aussies” and “Kiwis” is almost legendary. You can feel that in the cities too. So in the Australian metropolis Sydney there are not only architectural masterpieces and a huge cultural offer. The residents also like to relax on one of the city’s 70 beaches. Even smaller cities like Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, have their own charm thanks to their young, multicultural population and incomparably relaxed lifestyle.
New Zealand Music
Folk music and classical music
The older traditional music reflects the Polynesian origin of the Maoris. The music of the Maoris is mainly songs of different types, linked to specific social and ceremonial situations. The songs are usually performed unison by a group led by a leader who determines pitch and tempo. Recitative style songs lack a fixed pitch pattern and move at a fast pace. The more melodic songs are concentrated around a central tone and have small intervals. The recitative song types include karakia (short spells), paatere (songs by women who have been exposed to gossip) and chin, which are sung to dance. Among the more melodic are waiata (usually lamentations of the dead), oriori (songs that further traditional knowledge) and pao (songs with news and gossip). A common type is also action songs, in a style influenced by Western music. The Maoris have few instruments, including percussion instruments, but no drums, and wind instruments, including the combined trumpet and flute puutoorino.
New Zealand music in general is western art and popular music. It was not until around the turn of the 1900s that an established musical life emerged, including touring opera companies from Europe. From the 1930s, radio became the basis for institutional music, which up to our days, however, was dependent on musicians from Europe and the United States.
Indigenous composers include Douglas Lilburn, John Ritchie (1921–2014), Anna Lockwood (born 1939), Jennifer McLeod (born 1941) and Jack Body (1944–2015). An international opera star is Kiri Te Kanawa.
New Zealand’s geographically separated location has favored an experimental popular music culture with a do-it-yourself spirit. In addition, Moorish culture has given several genres a distinctive character.
Choral societies, brass orchestras and bagpipes were important cultural institutions during the colonial era for social life and music development.
Already in the early 1900s, recordings were made in the UK and elsewhere by popular Maori songs by New Zealand artists. However, it was not until the dance pianist Ruru Karaitian’s (1909-70) hit “Blue Smoke”, sung in 1949 by Pixie Williams (1928–2013), that a domestic record production began.
Country singer Johnny Cooper (born 1929), “the Maori cowboy”, wrote in 1957 the country’s first original rock song, “Pie Cart Rock’n’roll”. But it was Johnny Devlin (born 1938) who with huge record success in the late 1950s became New Zealand’s answer to Elvis.
Influenced by the US folk revival, interest in folk songs was aroused, followed by the British pop wave. Popular rock groups became The La De Das (formed in 1963) and The Fourmyula (formed in 1967). At the same time, teenage idol Sandy Edmonds (born 1948) was born via TV.
The eclectic and visually conscious species rock band Split Enz (formed in 1972) became pioneers of MTV during the 1980s. Like many New Zealand bands, they gained their largest audience in Australia.
The independent record label Flying Nun Records became influential in the development of the indie indie rock style “Dunedin sound”, with features from the late 1960s pop and protopunk, represented by groups such as The Clean (formed 1978) and The Chills (formed 1980).
Moorish musicians and artists were an important part of the New Zealand popular music scene from the beginning, but only in the 1980s and 1990s did Maori and Polynesian culture receive serious attention, and gained influence through artists such as Dalvanius Prime (1948–2002), the reggae group Herbs (formed 1979), folk pop singer Hinewehi Mohi (born 1964) and the multicultural world music group Te Vaka (formed 1995).
During the 1990s, the whole new Zealand popular music was strengthened and developed in a variety of directions such as heavy metal, hip hop and electronica. Since then, occasional hit songs or albums have had an international impact with, for example, the rock band OMC (formed in 1993), hip-hop artist Savage (born 1981), opera pop singer Hayley Westenra (born 1987), indie pop singer Kimbra (born 1990) and singer / songwriter Lorde (born 1996). Other notably domestically successful artists are singer / songwriter Dave Dobbyn (born 1957), rock band Shihad (formed in 1988) and fusion-based reggae band Fat Freddy’s Drop (formed in 1999).
Mention may also be made of the British-New Zealand multi-artist Richard O’Brien (born 1942) who created the musical “The Rocky Horror Show” (1973).