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A Trip Around New Zealand

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New Zealand, home to some 4.3 million residents, is currently hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the largest sporting event ever held in the island nation. Citizens of Christchurch are still recovering from the February earthquake, with some returning to their homes and parts of the business district being rebuilt. In August, the Winter Games NZ were held on several mountaintops and other venues, featuring skiing, snowboarding, and more. Runners in Dunedin tackled the "Steepest Race in the World," and groups of rugby fans organized a male-female naked match. Collected below are photographs of some of these events and more from all around New Zealand over the past few months. [38 photos]

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A competitor performs in the Snowboard Big Air during day 12 of the Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort, on August 24, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
A competitor performs in the Snowboard Big Air during day 12 of the Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort, on August 24, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
The view overlooking Lake Wanaka from Treble Cone ski resort, on July 28, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #
A performer takes part in the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland, on September 9, 2011. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Performers participate in the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland, new Zealand, on September 9, 2011. (Reuters/Bogdan Cristel) #
The New Zealand All Blacks perform the haka prior to the start of their Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Japan at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand, on September 16, 2011. New Zealand went on to win with a score of 83-7. (AP Photo/Ross Land) #
Will Genia of the Wallabies and Rob Kearney of Ireland scramble for the ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park, on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) #
Night settles over the center of the city of Wellington, on September 15, 2011. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) #
Sea lions on Sandfly Bay beach near Dunedin, on September 21, 2011. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
A shark bell stands on the ready on the beach of Saint Clair, near Dunedin, on September 21, 2011. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
The sun sets above the water in Dunedin, on September 21, 2011. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
Competitors take part in the traditional "Steepest Race in the World" on Baldwin street in Dunedin, on September 18, 2011. Baldwin street is the world's steepest street, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. (Reuters/Brandon Malone) #
Competitors take part in the traditional "Steepest Race in the World" in Dunedin, on September 18, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown, viewed from Ben Lomond mountain, on September 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) #
A man makes a bungee jump in Queenstown, on September 14, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
The partially destroyed ChristChurch Cathedral in central Christchurch during a media tour, on September 7, 2011. The central business district of Christchurch and large areas of suburbs were destroyed in the magnitude 6.3 quake of Feb. 22, which claimed 181 lives. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
Hope Greenway wears a hard-hat as she works at Bells Pharmacy, where fallen products still litter the floor in the Christchurch, New Zealand suburb of Lyttelton, on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, after a series of recent aftershocks caused more damage to the earthquake affected city. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Greg Bowker) #
A rainbow appears over the stadium during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Wales and Samoa at Waikato Stadium, on September 18, 2011 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) #
Spanish rugby players from Las Conquistadoras perform the Haka before their game against naked rugby players from the Nude Blacks, before the Rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina in Dunedin September 10, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
Naked rugby players from the Nude Blacks perform the Haka during their match against Spanish team Las Conquistadoras, before the Rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina, in Dunedin September 10, 2011. (Reuters/Marcos Brindicci) #
A naked rugby player from the Nude Blacks tries to stop a player from the Spanish team Las Conquistadoras, before the Rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina, in Dunedin September 10, 2011. (Reuters/Marcos Brindicci) #
The sun sets over Auckland, on September 20, 2011. (Reuters/Bogdan Cristel) #
An Emperor Penguin stands on a beach on Kapiti coast June 20, 2011. The bird's arrival, the second ever recorded according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation, has caught the public's attention as Emperor Penguins usually live in Antarctica, more than 3,000 km (1,864 miles) away. (Reuters/New Zealand Government-Department of Conservation) #
Sheep stand with their lambs on a hill near Dunedin, on September 20, 2011. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
Sheep are gathered in a woodshed in Portobello, on September 19, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
Sheep shearer Paul Lambert lifts a sheep in a woodshed in Portobello, on September 19, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
A sheep shearer clips wool in a woodshed near Dunedin, on September 19, 2011. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) #
A group of tourists parasail over Lake Wakatipu with the backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand, on September 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) #
A player of Nelson Rugby Club, dressed in traditional rugby clothing, kicks the ball during the re-enactment of the first rugby match ever played in New Zealand -- on May 14, 1870 -- in Nelson, on September 20, 2011. (Reuters/Marcos Brindicci) #
Men in traditional clothing ride on Segways after the re-enactment of the first match rugby ever played in New Zealand in Nelson, on September 20, 2011. The celebration re-enacted the original rugby match played between Nelson College and Nelson Rugby Club in Nelson on May 14, 1870. (Reuters/Marcos Brindicci) #
Local farm owner Brendan McDonnell tends to his cattle in Johnsonville as snow continues to fall across New Zealand, on August 16, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. Snow has hit areas of the country not normally affected, including Auckland's CBD which has not seen snow for 72 years. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) #
Freeskier Ted Davenport of the United States crashes after launching off a drop during the World Heli Challenge Extreme Day at Mount Albert on Minaret Station on August 1, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. Davenport suffered broken bones in both of his legs. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #
Maxence Parrot of Canada competes in the Snowboard Big Air during day 12 of the Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort on August 24, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #
Emma Gamson of New Zealand competes in the Women's Giant Slalom during day 11 of the Winter Games NZ at Coronet Peak on August 23, 2011 in Queenstown, New Zealand. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) #
Freeskier Charlie Timmins of Australia launches off a drop during the World Heli Challenge freestyle day in backcountry at Minaret Station on July 31, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #
Australia's James O'Conner (right) exchanges a Hongi (a traditional Maori greeting) with a member of the welcoming party during a welcome ceremony for the Australia Rugby World Cup team in Auckland September 6, 2011. (Reuters/Nigel Marple) #
A seal walks towards the water on Sandfly Bay near Dunedin, on September 21, 2011. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
A woman leaps off the Auckland Sky Tower on September 2, 2011. The Sky Jump is a base-jump by wire off the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #
A view of the sunrise at St. Clair Beach in Dunedin, on September 5, 2011. (Reuters/Brandon Malone) #

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