New Zealand has been a tourist hotspot since decades now and it is indeed an impeccably beautiful land with a unique flora and fauna. Here are 10 amazing facts about the country which you will find fascinating-
More Sheep than Humans
New Zealand has more sheep than humans! I kid you not, we saw hordes of sheep relaxing in the country side as we cruised along the beautiful roads. In fact, the entire population of New Zealand is 5 Million. That’s it!
Do you know what is the population of Mumbai? 20 Million!
Predator Free Country!
There are no predators in New Zealand. No tigers or leopards, not even snakes. The biggest animal in NZ which can come close to be called predator is a possum. In fact these possums are on top of the food chain in the animal kingdom of New Zealand. Due to over abundance of possum in New Zealand, coming across a dead possum while road tripping in New Zealand is not a rare sight. We ourselves saw many of them lying on the road as some car must have ran over them. There is a full fledged campaign going on in NZ in order to bring the possum population in New Zealand under control.
Apparently, the possums were introduced in New Zealand in the 1800s by early European settlers to start fur trade business. But eventually, the possums have crowded NZ way beyond then expected.
Follow me on Instagram!
There’s a Lord of the Rings Minister in NZ Government!
Now many of you might know that the Hobbit’s village in Lord of the Rings is located in New Zealand. But did you know that the entire LOTR trilogy has been shot in the country with the exception of just one scene! So, if you’re wondering what the country looks like, forget travel videos and watch the LOTR movies instead. It is as fascinating as that! NZ took LOTR so seriously that there was a dedicated Minister in the government. He was known as Minister of Rings or Minister of Lord of the Rings!
One of the major shooting destinations in New Zealand was Glenorchy. We skydived above Glenorchy and it looked amazing!
World’s cleanest lake is in New Zealand!
New Zealand is well known for its pristine and surreal landscape. Having one of the lowest populations in the world has saved much of its nature from pollution and the best proof of that is the fact that it has the clearest lake in the world. The Blue Lake, in the Nelson Lakes National Park, has a visibility range of up to 80 metres. Its Maori name is ‘Rotomairewhenua’ which means ‘Lake of Peaceful Lands’.
Sign Language is an official language!
New Zealand is a linguist’s paradise. Like many native languages that were bulldozed by the colonial tongues, the Maori language was also on the verge of extinction. However, a concerted movement was organised by Maori leaders to revive the language and prevent its death. The government supported the renaissance by making Maori one of the official languages of New Zealand.
The interesting thing is that most places in the country have two names- an English and a Maori one and both can be officially used. The name of the country in Maori is Aotearoa, translated as “Land of the long white cloud“.
Guess what the third official language in New Zealand is? It’s the New Zealand sign language!
NZ is home to a location with World’s longest name
In keeping with the tradition of having two names for most places, a 300-metre high hill in Hawke’s Bay is called:
Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which roughly translates to, “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”.
Of course, no English speaking country has a locale with that kind of a long name! So they have a shortened version of the name, which is Taumata.
A Beach is just around the corner!
Islands are obviously going to be surrounded by the seas. However, what sets this longitudinal strip of a country apart is that no point in the country is more than 128km away from the sea. A 2-hour drive to the beach, any day any time!
Also Read: Muriwai Beach Sunset in New Zealand
NZ is home to Strange creatures
The Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s smallest marine dolphin, at about 1.5 metres, has been sighted only in the New Zealand waters.
The world’s only flightless parrot, the Kakapo, also belongs here.
Weta, the largest insect in the world that weighs 70 grams and has ears on its knees and the Powelliphanta Snail which has a carnivorous diet of earthworms, weighs 90 grams and can live for up to 20 years, inhabit this land as well.
You surely know that this country is the home to the Kiwi bird. But what’s surprising about this bird is that it lays eggs that are about 20% the size of the mother’s body. Kiwi eggs are six times as big as normal for a bird of its size.
The Kea, another local bird, is infamous for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows!
NZ is literally on a bed of lava
Did you know New Zealand is also known as ‘Shaky isles’? Well it’s because it’s full of geothermal & volcanic activities. However, most are inactive.
Being situated on the Pacific ring of Fire, New Zealand has multiple volcanoes, most of which are thankfully extinct. What do I mean by multiple? Well, Auckland alone is sitting on more than 50 of them!
One of the active ones is the iconic Mt Ruapehu otherwise known as Mt Doom from The Lord of the Rings.
Don’t take it the wrong way, I don’t really want to get in the debate around the definition of feminism. I just want to highlight the fact that New Zealand has empowered the women for a long time and was an early adopter in that field. We all know that NZ has a female prime minister!
Leaving behind all progressive European nations, New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893. Their belief in gender parity doesn’t end there. They were also the only country to have the five topmost positions held by women simultaneously between March 2005 and August 2006 – Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, Helen Clark (Prime Minister), Dame Silvia Cartwright (Governor General), Margaret Wilson (Speaker of House of Representatives) and Sian Elias (Chief Justice).
New Zealand has a really long day! The sunset happens around 8-8:30 PM in summers. That gives you a lot more time to enjoy this beautiful country in daylight 🙂
Well, these are some really interesting facts and we definitely found them to e fascinating. But to be honest, these facts hardly touch the tip of the iceberg as New Zealand is a land of much more, offering myriad beauty and more. Its culture, history and ethos require a much longer study but this list will hopefully edge you on to delve deeper into the Kiwi Land.