Looking to boost your knowledge of the big wide world? Why not start with these 24 interesting facts about New Zealand!
New Zealand is an archipelago… a chain or cluster of islands, in other words!
Its coordinates are 0000° S, 174.0000° E.
NZ had a population of 4.886 million in 2018.
Flag of New Zealand
With an area of 103,483 square miles (268,021 square kilometres) New Zealand’s population is relatively small compared to a population of 66.44 million in the UK, despite being similar in size!
Approximately one third of NZ is protected national park.
15% of the population are Māori.
The Maori are an aboriginal tribe, thought have emigrated from the Polynesian Islands to New Zealand between 800-1300AD.
Wellington, the world’s southernmost city, is the capital of NZ. This city has a population of 212,700 (2017) and a total area amounting to 112 square miles (290 square kilometres).
NZ boasts not one, not two, but three official languages; English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
Auckland, New Zealand
The life expectancy in NZ is among the highest in the world, 81.66 years (2017).
Named by the Māori, Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu, a 1,000 foot hill in Porangahau, near Hawkes Bay, has the longest place name in the world! Translated, it means “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.” Lovely! The locals, however, just call it Taumata Hill.
By the way, Hawkes Bay is home to awards winning wines… we’re adding it to our list of places to go in NZ…
NZ is home to the world’s smallest dolphin species, the Māui Unfortunately they are ‘critically endangered’, with less than 100 in the wild.
TripAdvisor named NZ’s Milford Sound as the world’s top travel destination in 2008 and Wanderlust Magazine voted NZ as the world’s best country in 2007 and 2008.
Queenstown Hill, Queenstown, New Zealand
Kiwi is an endearing nickname for people from NZ; it originates from the native Kiwi, a flightless bird which is also the country’s national symbol.
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest, and you guessed it, he was a Kiwi!
Oddly, NZ is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
If you don’t like creepy crawlies, perhaps skip this fact… The heaviest insect in the world, the Giant Weta lives in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it’s heavier than a sparrow and looks like a giant cockroach which makes us shiver in our boots!
On the plus side, there are no native or introduced land snakes in New Zealand.
Bats are the only land mammals that are native to NZ; other animals were introduced by Māori and Europeans.
Auckland, New Zealand
NZ has the steepest hill in the world! Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, has gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section – a 38% grade!
The SPCA taught two Kiwi rescue dogs to drive a car around a track, in order to prove the intelligence of shelter animals! You can find this incredible video here on YouTube…
Something you won’t see in the UK – Gisborne airport has train tracks running across the middle of the runway and often you’ll see trains and planes having to stop until one of them moves out of the way.
To call your friends in New Zealand, you’ll need the international dialling code +64.
Do you have any fun or interesting facts about New Zealand that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!