New Zealand is located in the South Pacific, three hours flight from Australia, Fiji, and the Cook Islands, ten hours from Hong Kong, thirteen hours from Los Angeles, and a good twenty hours from Europe. This relative distance from any major population centre has helped define the unique character of this country. Here, there is time, there is space, and there are friendly people who have the time to talk with you and who want to share what they consider important with you.
Almost any visitor to New Zealand's first impression is one of openness and friendliness. New Zealanders tend not to be aware of this as they have always been this way and are usually flattered and pleased at how delighted visitors are with what they find here.
Our personal belief is that it is the general feeling of friendliness and lack of stress which allows people to relax enough to really appreciate the beautiful views and energises people enough to allow them to want to push their boundaries. Hence all the stories of personal feats achieved while in New Zealand.
The country is the size of Great Britain but has 4 million inhabitants as opposed to 60 million. It also has a culture which enjoys the outdoors and puts lifestyle ahead of earning capacity.
In the major, bustling city of Auckland, on a Thursday or Friday afternoon you will often find many people with serious jobs enjoying Rum Racing (sailing regatta for which the main prize is a bottle of rum) rather than sitting in meetings.
The country is the length of the eastern seaboard of the United States, or of Italy. So it cannot be "done" in a weekend, or even in two weeks.