New Zealand is known for their extreme sports and beautiful landscapes. But, there are also lesser known facts which are equally interesting and even intriguing. Check out these 50 fun facts about New Zealand and see how many do you know (unless you are Kiwi or New Zealand resident).
1) The Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, which means the land of the long white cloud.
2) New Zealand has two official national Anthems of equal standing – God Defend New Zealand and God Save the Queen.
3) Kiwi refers to New Zealand’s native flightless bird and also used as a slang term for a New Zealander. Kiwis call the fruit kiwifruit, also known as Chinese Gooseberries.
4) To become a New Zealand citizen, one must swear an oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth.
5) The official languages are English and Maori.
6) The Treaty of Waitangi, signed on 6 February 1840, establish a British governor in New Zealand, recognised Maori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave Maori the rights of British subjects.
7) The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland.
8) Auckland City Sky Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 metres.
9) Wellington, the Capital City of New Zealand, is the southernmost capital city in the world.
10) It was made legal for all male and female New Zealand citizens to vote in 1893, the first major nation to have universal suffrage.
11) New Zealand is part of the Pacific Rim of Fire. Mount Ruapehu, situated in the middle of North Island, is the most active volcano on mainland.
12) You drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand, and always give way to cars on your right.
13) Three quarter of New Zealand’s population live on the North Island, and one quarter of the population live in Auckland.
14) New Zealand has 6,000 kilometres of coastline and the furthest inland is only 120km from the coast.
15) The Surville Cliffs is the northernmost point in New Zealand, 3kilometre further than Cape Reinga (popularly known as the northernmost point).
16) The Slope Point is the southernmost point in New Zealand (although Bluff is more commonly known), excluding Steward Island.
17) Lake Taupo was a crater caused by the largest known eruption in the world 26,500 years ago. It is approximately the size of Singapore Island and Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia.
18) East Polynesian settlers (Maoris) arrived in New Zealand between 800 and 1300.
19) New Zealand and Australasia’s highest mountain is Aoraki Mount Cook, standing at 3,754 metres.
20) 30% of New Zealand land is forest.
21) Ninety-mile beach is only 55miles long.
22) The largest glacier in New Zealand is the Tasman Glacier at 28.5km long.
23) Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s oldest university, first newspaper and first botanic gardens.
24) Gisborne is the first major city in the world to see the sunrise. It is 496.3kilometres away from the International Date Line.
25) New Zealand was the first country to have its three top positions held simultaneously by women – Prime Minister Helen Clark, Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright and Chief Justice Sian Elias.
26) The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand.
27) Bungy jumping was invented by a New Zealander, A J Hackett, with the world’s first site at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown.
28) New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals, per capita, than any other country.
29) Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander born in Auckland, was the first man to reach Mount Everest peak. His face is now on the 5-dollar note.
30) Ernest Rutherford, known as father of nuclear physics for his orbital theory of the atom, is a New Zealand and Nobel Prize Winner.
31) New Zealand is fairly liberal that allow same-gender marriage, driving age at 15, consensual sex age at 16, drinking age at 18 (minors are allowed alcohol if accompanied by adults), prostitution and soliciting.
32) There is one birth every 8 minutes 13 seconds, and a net migration gain of one New Zealand resident every 25 minute 49 seconds.
33) New Zealand has the highest ratio of golf courses and bookshops to people than any country in the world.
34) There are 9 sheep to every 1 human in New Zealand – human population in 2010 is 4.3 million people.
35) New Zealand is one of the top 5 dairy exporters in the world.
36) New Zealand has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, with 2.5 million cars for 4 million people.
37) There are about 14,000 earthquakes in New Zealand every year.
38) The first European who discovered New Zealand was Dutch sailor Abel Tasman in 1642.
39) English Captain James Cook arrived in 1769 and mapped the land.
40) The largest Kauri tree in the world, Tane Mahuta, is situated in the Waipoua Forest in Northland region. It is estimated to be between 1250 and 2500 years old.