69 Facts About New Zealand That’ll Blow Your Mind
There is a bird that eats cars.
1. The kea, a bird native to NZ, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows.
2. The longest place name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, a hill in Hawkes Bay.
3. No part of the country is more than 128km (79 miles) from the sea.
4. In the scene of Star Trek: First Contact, where we see Earth from space, Australia and Papua New Guinea are clearly visible but New Zealand is missing.
5. Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.
6. Only 5% of NZ's population is human- the rest are animals.
7. NZ is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark), according to the Corruptions Perception Index.
8. New Zealand has more Scottish pipe bands per capita than any other country in the world.
9. Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.
10. New Zealand is home to the world's smallest dolphin species.
11. There are no land snakes, native or introduced, in NZ.
12. New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
13. In 2008, TripAdvisor named Milford Sound (pictured below) the world's top travel destination, based on an international survey.
14. Organised commercial bungee jumping first began in New Zealand.
15. The first man to climb Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, was a Kiwi.
16. The lowest denomination in NZ currency is the 10 cent piece.
17. More people die in New Zealand each year playing lawn bowls than scuba diving.
18. NZ is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
19. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote.
20. Auckland is one of the most affordable cities in the world to live in.
21. One in three Auckland households own a boat.
22. The Māori name for NZ, Aoetaroa, means 'land of the long white cloud'.
23. In 2013, NZ legalised same-sex marriage.
24. Lake Taupo was formed by a supervolcanic eruption 26,000 years ago. The dust from the eruption could be seen in modern day China.
25. New Zealand is home to the giant weta, the heaviest insect in the world. It is heavier than a sparrow and looks like a giant cockroach.
26. Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, is the world's steepest street. The road has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section, a 38 per cent grade.
27. 15% of NZ's population are Māori.
28. New Zealand is similar in size to the UK, but only has a population of about 4 million (compared to 63 million in the UK).
29. About one third of the country is protected national park.
30. NZ was voted the world's best country in 2007 and 2008 by Wanderlust magazine.
31. Pelorus Jack was a dolphin who guided ships through dangerous and rocky waters around NZ in the early 1900s.
32. There are only two countries in the world where drug companies are permitted to advertise to the public: New Zealand and USA.
33. Kiwi Nancy Wake was the Gestapo's most wanted person during World War II. She once killed a SS sentry with her bare hands.
34. More people live in Auckland than in the whole of the South Island.
35. The logo for the Royal New Zealand Air Force is a kiwi- a flightless bird.
36. In the Lord of the Rings films, the beer drunk on camera was a custom NZ brew called 'Sobering Thought'.
37. The filming of these movies 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.
38. In 1996, a man broke into a radio station in Wanganui and took the manager hostage, demanding that they play the Muppet song "Rainbow Connection".
39. Two NZ rescue dogs were taught to drive a car around a track, in order to prove the intelligence of shelter animals.
40. The Kiwi badminton team name was 'The Black Cocks', but after a year, had to change it due to complaints.
41. In 1990, the NZ prime minister appointed a National Wizard.
42. Rugby player Wayne Shelford got his scrotum ripped open mid-game in a bad tackle. He was taken off the field with one testicle LITERALLY hanging out, got stitched up on the bench and continued the game.
43. NZ high schools and universities are permitted to keep a pound of uranium or thorium for educational purposes. However, there is a $1 million fine if it explodes.
44. There is a giant carnivorous snail living in the South Island.
45. From 1867 to 1927, the government planed ahead for shipwrecks by building supply-filled huts on remote islands.
46. There is a clock in Dunedin which has been running since 1864, despite never having been wound since it was made.
47. 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.
48. NZ had a 58% casualty rate in World War I.
49. Kiwifruit were originally called Chinese gooseberries.
50. New Zealand is one of the only countries to have two national anthems- God Save The Queen and God Defend New Zealand.
51. Ninety Mile Beach is actually only 90 kilometres long.
52. Moa birds were native to NZ, but are now extinct. They were 12 feet tall and weighed about 230kg.
53. The man who pioneered plastic surgery, Harold Gillies, was a Kiwi.
54. As was Baron Ernest Rutherford, who was the first man to split an atom. He also discovered (and named) the proton.
55. New Zealand is the only country in the world where all the highest positions have been simultaneously held by women: In 2006, the Queen, the Governor-General, the PM, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice were all women.
56. The national sport of NZ is rugby union.
57. There are no nuclear power stations in New Zealand.
58. In 2008, Henry the tuatara became a father for the first time at the age of 111. (A tuatara is a reptile native to New Zealand.)
59. New Zealand is the only country with the right to put Hobbit-related images on its currency.
60. New Zealand was the last habitable land mass to be populated.
61. Three quarters of New Zealanders living overseas are in Australia.
62. 94% of all prisoners in NZ are male.
63. The only land mammals native to NZ are bats. The rest were introduced by Maoris and Europeans.
64. In 2007, the NZ courts banned a couple from naming their child 4Real. In the end they named him Superman.
65. New Zealand produces 100 kg of butter and 65 kg of cheese each year per person.
66. Earlier this year, after losing a poker bet, a New Zealand man legally changed his name to Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova. The 99-character name was almost denied because the legal limit is 100 characters.
67. NZ has banned all television advertising on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day, and Christmas Day.
68. Niue, a self-governed island of NZ, has images of Pokemon on its legal tender coins. There is also a limited collection of coins with images from the Star Wars films.
69. There are more vending machines in Japan than there are people in New Zealand.