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Te Wahipounamu encompasses four national parks in the southwest corner of New Zealand – Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Mt Aspiring, and Westland. These parks collectively became a World Heritage Site under the name “Te Wahipounamu” in 1990.
See the fact file below for more information on the Te Wahipounamu or alternatively, you can download our 23-page World Heritage Sites: Te Wahipounamu worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
History and Legend of Te Wahipounamu
- The rocks, plants, and animals located in Te Wahipounamu can be traced back to over 80 million years ago when New Zealand was part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana.
- Gondwana is said to have merged with the supercontinent Euroamerica to form the larger subcontinent named Pangaea, which broke up during the Mesozoic Era.
- Te Wahipounamu exhibits many great examples of geological processes that have shaped the earth, including tectonic, climatic, and glacial processes.
- The region is divided by a fault line that marks where the Australian and Pacific continental plates make contact; this is what created the main mountain range, the Southern Alps.
- The legend of Te Wahipounamu states that the area was formed when the four sons of Rakinui (the Sky Father) came down from heaven and sailed around Mother Earth; as a result of hitting a reef, the sons became stranded.
- Next, their canoe was frozen with ice due to wind from the Tasman Sea, and this is what became the South island of New Zealand.
- As a result, each brother became part of the mountain range known as the Southern Alps.
- There are some other legends for how Te Wahipounamu came into existence, but this is the most popular one.
- The mountains and valleys of Te Wahipounamu are said to be the places of Atua (gods); important cultural identifiers of these places belong to the ancestors who stood on the landscape and performed great deeds in New Zealand.
Geography of Te Wahipounamu
- Te Wahipounamu is an excellent example of how geological processes resulted in landforms, unique biota, and evolutionary adaptation over a diverse range of altitudes and climates.
- Te Wahipounamu covers almost 10% of New Zealand’s total land area with ice-carved fjords, lakes, mountains, and valleys.
- It is home to many active glaciers, and is the largest and least-modified area of New Zealand’s natural ecosystem.
- The flora and fauna in the area are some of the best modern and intact representations of Gondwana, and are indisputably linked to the processes at work.
- The vegetation in Te Wahipounamu is very diverse and has been well-maintained.
- You might come into contact with shrubs, herbs, and tussocks (pictured right).
- Te Wahipounamu is home to the largest population of forest birds in New Zealand.
- You may also find fur seals (pictured left), as well as a variety of Kiwi species, Fiordland Penguins (pictured below), and other birds.
- There is a high degree of geo and biodiversity due to largely unmodified habitats and an array of untouched landforms.
- All flora and fauna at Te Wahipounamu are excellent examples of ongoing biological evolution.
Tourism and Other Facts about Te Wahipounamu
- The Te Wahipounamu area is the least populated area of New Zealand; residents typically work in tourism-related jobs or land use occupations.
- Most of the land in Te Wahipounamu is owned by the government and people of New Zealand and there is a legislative mandate that requires the preservation and protection of the natural and historic sites in New Zealand.
- There are only two main roads in the region; both referred to as “Heritage Highway”.
- Studies have shown that the motivating factor for visiting Te Wahipounamu is for its scenery and recreational activities.
- Things visitors can do are hiking, walking, whale-watching, boat tours, rafting, and glacier walks.
- Te Wahipounamu offers an extensive assortment of short walking and overnight hiking trails.
World Heritage Sites: Te Wahipounamu Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Te Wahipounamu across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use World Heritage Sites: Te Wahipounamu worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Te Wahipounamu which encompasses four national parks in the southwest corner of New Zealand – Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Mt Aspiring, and Westland. These parks collectively became a World Heritage Site under the name “Te Wahipounamu” in 1990.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Te Wahipounamu Facts.
- Map of New Zealand.
- Te Wahipounamu Crossword.
- The Treaty of Waitangi.
- Te Wahipounamu Wordsearch.
- Words Within a Word!
- Te Wahipounamu Quiz.
- National Park Profile.
- Postcard from Te Wahipounamu.
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Link will appear as Te Wahipounamu Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 19, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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