50 Facts About New Zealand | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- New Zealand is located in the south-western Pacific Ocean and features two main islands, the North Island and the South Island.
- The population of New Zealand is about 4.5 million. The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington while the largest city is Auckland. Wellington is in fact the southernmost capital city in the world.
- Amazingly a kiwi is not a fruit. It is New Zealand’s native flightless national bird and a slang term for a New Zealander. Kiwis call the fruit “kiwifruit”. They are also known as Chinese Gooseberries.
- Amazingly no part of the country is more than 128 km (79 miles) from the sea.
- Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.
- There are amazingly no land snakes, native or introduced, in NZ. In fact unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have any dangerous or poisonous animals with the one tiny exception of the Katipo Spider.
- About one third of the country is protected national park.
- The kiwi, a bird native to NZ, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows.
- There is a giant albino snail in New Zealand in South Island that is carnivorous.
- NZ is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
- The Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s smallest marine dolphin, which grows to a maximum length of 1.5 metres, is found nowhere else in the world but in New Zealand waters.
- A dolphin named Pelorus Jack regularly guided ships in New Zealand through treacherous waters until his disappearance in 1912.
- Amazing fact is in 2008, Henry the tuatara , reptile native to New Zealand became a father for the first time at the age of 111.
- New Zealand is in fact home to the giant weta, the heaviest insect in the world. It is heavier than a sparrow and looks like a giant cockroach.
- New Zealand was first discovered by Europeans in 1642 when Dutch sailor Abel Tasman arrived. He left New Zealand after several of his crew were killed by Maoris, and it was not until 1769 that English Captain James Cook arrived and mapped the land.
- The Treaty of Waitangi was in fact signed in 1840 between the British and Maori, making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire.
- Captain James Cook, the man who navigated New Zealand, is said to have discovered a cure for scurvy, a disease that results from Vitamin C deficiency, when he played around with medicines.
- Lake Taupo extending to 616 square kilometres (or 238 sq miles) was formed by a super volcanic eruption 26,000 years ago which has been the largest known volcanic eruption in the world in the last 70 thousand years. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
- Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, is the world’s steepest street. The road has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section, an amazing 38 per cent grade.
- Amazing fact is Gisborne airport has train tracks running across the middle of the runway. Quite often, trains and planes have to stop until one moves out of the way.
- Ninety Mile Beach is actually only 90 km long.
- The Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay push out more fresh water than any other springs in the world, producing one to two billion litres of water a day amazing enough to supply drinking water to supply the entire population of New Zealand. Also the spring waters are the clearest natural water in the world outside of Antarctica. You can see an average of 63 metres when you look down through the water.
- Waitomo Caves in New Zealand’s Waikato region provide spectacular view of the fireflies. The Waitomo River runs underground through the caves where natural light cannot reach. Fireflies high above creates a night-sky effect with groups of fireflies looking like stars.
- The world’s first commercial bungee jump was a 43 metre leap off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown in 1988.
- There is a clock in Dunedin which has been amazingly running since 1864, despite never having been wound since it was made.
People Customs & Culture
- Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Only 15% of NZ’s population are Maori.
- Sign Language is amazingly one of three official languages of New Zealand.
- New Zealand is in fact a plastic nation . Almost all personal financial transactions are made with a card including taxis. Cash is very rarely used.
- NZ is the least corrupt nation in the world tied with Denmark according to the Corruptions Perception Index.
- Amazing fact is one in three Auckland households own a boat.
- It is illegal for drug companies to advertise to consumers almost everywhere in the world. The only exceptions are the US and New Zealand.
- Amazing fact is in New Zealand , students on their exams are allowed to use text-messaging language. Teachers must treat these abbreviations as standard English and may not penalize students.
- 3 dogs in New Zealand were taught to drive a modified car around a race track in an effort to show the intelligence of shelter dogs.
- Queen Elizabeth II is officially Queen of New Zealand. She is represented in New Zealand by a Governor General, who ratifies all laws put before him or her by the elected parliament of New Zealand.
- New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official national anthems of equal standing. The first is God Save the Queen (the English National Anthem) and the other is God Defend New Zealand. The other two countries with Royal and state anthems are Denmark and Canada.
- In 1893 New Zealand in fact became the first country in the world to give all women the right to vote.
- Amazing fact is New Zealand was the first country to have all its top positions of power held simultaneously by women in 2006: The Prime Minister (Helen Clark), the Governor General (Dame Silvia Cartwright), and the Chief Justice (Sian Elias), the Queen and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- It’s amazing that New Zealand was forced out of the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States) alliance in the 1980’s when it outlawed nuclear arms and power. Even today there are no nuclear power stations in New Zealand.
- New Zealand may in fact deny people residency visas if they have too much weight.
- The logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the kiwi, a flightless bird which is national bird.
- There is a law that states every high school in New Zealand may hold 1 pound of uranium and 1 pound of thorium, for conducting nuclear experiments, and will be fined $1,000,000 in case of a nuclear explosion.
- New Zealand was once governed as a part of the territory of New South Wales later a part of Australia. When Australia federated in 1901, New Zealand was offered a place as one of their states. New Zealand refused. New Zealand is still listed as a state of Australia in the Australian constitution, and can join the Australian confederation if they choose to.
- NZ has banned all television advertising on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day, and Christmas Day.
- Sheep outnumber humans in New Zealand 10 to 1. In fact only 5% of NZ’s population is human. The rest are animals. Dairy products are New Zealand’s highest earning exports.
- New Zealand amazingly produces 100 kg of butter and 65 kg of cheese each year per capita.
- It’s amazing that the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy pumped around $200 million into the country’s economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, to ensure the most money could be made from the films.
- New Zealander and Nobel Prize Winner, Ernest Rutherford is known as the father of nuclear physics.
- Sir Edmund Hillary , a New Zealander was the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest was and his face is on the New Zealand $5 bill.
- Golf is the most popular participation sport, with more golf courses in New Zealand per capita of population, than any other country in the world.
- New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals per capita, than any other country.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team