73 Facts About New Zealand You Will Absolutely Love | Kidadl


73 Facts About New Zealand You Will Absolutely Love

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New Zealand is a small island country, southeast of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean.

New Zealand is part of Oceania, which includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. It's made up of two major landmasses, the North Island and the South Island.

It is one of the world's most sparsely populated countries, with its remote location and its small area leading to it having a total population of just over 5 million. Any New Zealander would be proud to show you around this country, which has won the title of the best country to live in! New Zealand has a lot to offer, from its beautiful natural beauty, charming local culture, to its adventure activities, which attract people from all over the world!

Fun Facts About New Zealand

Here are some amazing fun facts about New Zealand!

  • New Zealand is an island country, which is near Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. It's located in the South Pacific Ocean and has two main islands, the North Island and the South Island.
  • There are also 700 smaller islands surrounding the two main landmasses, the largest of which is Rakiura or Stewart Island.
  • It is named after Zeeland, which is the Dutch province of Zeeland, and was given this name by Dutch explorers who spotted it on their travels.
  • The indigenous people of New Zealand are famously known as Maori people, who named their home Aotearoa, meaning 'land of the long white cloud'.
  • Though primarily an English-speaking country, there are three official languages in New Zealand. These are English, the native language of Maori, and New Zealand sign language!
  • Being a small island nation, the population is quite low with only 5 million people living in the country.
  • New Zealand's national flag is a dark blue background with four red stars and the Union Jack in the top left corner, which symbolizes its status as a former British colony.
  • The four stars represent the southern cross constellation, a small constellation made of four unusually bright stars which are easily visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The national symbols of New Zealand are the silver fern leaf and the kiwi bird.
  • The official currency of New Zealand is known as the New Zealand dollar.
  • New Zealand's capital is Wellington, which is at the tip of the North Island and has a population of around 415,000 people.
  • Its unique location makes it the southernmost capital city in the entire world! However, the largest city in New Zealand is Auckland, which is also the most populous with a population of  1,463,000 people.
  • More than 50% of New Zealand's population lives in the five main cities which are Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Wellington.
  • New Zealand has two national anthems, one being the primary national anthem 'God Defend New Zealand', and the second one is 'God Save the Queen'-which is also the national anthem of England!
  • The New Zealand government follows a parliamentary structure with a prime minister. Jacinda Ardern is the 40th prime minister of the country.
  • New Zealand's economy runs on five major sectors and these are agriculture, mining, fishing, forestry, and manufacturing.
  • The country is gifted with many natural resources such as gold, natural gas, silver, iron ore, and coal. Their major trading partners are the USA, Japan, Australia, and China. They are leading manufacturers and exporters of dairy, fruits like kiwi, meat like lamb, and crude oil.
  • The country is very remote and it will take you 13 hours of non-stop flying from the USA to reach here. It will take 24 hours to travel from the United Kingdom to New Zealand!

Famous Things About New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for some really interesting things. Read on to learn all the famous things about this country!

  • New Zealand is quite progressive as it was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1893!
  • It was the first country in the world to have the three top positions held by women at the same time. Helen Clark was the prime minister, Dame Silvia Cartwright was the governor-general, and Sian Elias was chief justice.
  • It is the home of the clearest natural water body in the world. Nelson's Blue Lake, which originates from the nearby glacier of Lake Constance, passes through a natural dam made of landslide minerals that filter it and grant visibility of almost 262 ft (80 m) deep!
  • The abundance of natural beauty helps provide a number of experiences in nature, like skiing, surfing and hiking, and trekking through the rolling hills and mountains.
  • There are many beautiful tourist spots in New Zealand, with a lot of the country being left in its natural state.
  • Auckland has beautiful beaches like Takapuna Beach, where clear blue water laps at your feet. Cathedral Cove is also a beautiful landmark, known for its scenic beauty.
  • Nearby you will find the famous hot water beach, where you can enjoy a natural spa treatment with hot water bubbling through the sand.
  • Though New Zealand is associated with the word 'kiwi', the kiwi fruit actually isn't native to New Zealand!
  • New Zealand is linked to kiwi because it is the name of the people who live there and it the name of the national bird.
  • The kiwi fruit originates from China and was originally called the Chinese gooseberry.
  • After this fruit was introduced to New Zealand in the early 20th century, the production and export of kiwifruit from the island nation boomed, and it was renamed kiwi after the national bird.
  • Bats are actually the only native land mammals to the country! The rest of the animals have been introduced.
  • One-third of the country belongs to protected species, with over 11,583 sq mi (30,000 sq km) of the country being distributed among the 13 national reserves!
  • These include the beautiful green rolling hills, dense forests, and stunning beaches.
  • The animal to human ratio of New Zealand is absurdly high, with humans making up only 5% of its living population!
  • There are a lot of unusual wildlife species native to the island, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
  • Due to the remote location and absence of vicious predators, most birds, like kakapos and Kiwi birds, lost the ability to fly over the years!
  • However, this proved to be quite disadvantageous for them when invasive species were introduced, and they were left defenseless.
  • Half of all whale and dolphin species can be found in oceans around New Zealand, with the sperm whale being quite commonly spotted along the coasts!
  • Killer whales and humpback whales are also very common through the year.
  • New Zealand also has the most penguin species of any country, with the yellow-eyed penguin being endemic to the nation.
  • There are also no snakes in New Zealand, which makes it an ideal place for those who fear these slithery creatures.
  • The nation is so small that the farthest point away from the sea at any location is only 80 mi (128 km)!
  • Lake Taupo, a large lake in the North Island, is almost as big as Singapore!
  • The lake is the largest water body of freshwater in the Australasian region and was formed in the crater of a devastating volcanic eruption.
  • There are many volcanoes in New Zealand, there are almost 50 small volcanoes in close proximity to Auckland. However, there's no cause for worry as most of these are extinct.
  • The most prominent volcano out of these is Mount Rangitoto.
  • The longest name of a location in the whole world (in any English-speaking country) is a hill in Hawkes Bay. It is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which is 85 characters long and means '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' in Maori.
  • Almost all scenes of the iconic Lord of Rings movies were shot here, with many fans of the much-loved series making the journey to this country.
  • The first person ever to scale Mount Everest was Sir Edmund Hillary, who was from New Zealand!
Cathedral Cove is one of the most breathtaking places on the island, and is a must-visit for all tourists.

New Zealand Cultural Facts

Maori people and European people have had the most influence on Kiwi culture. .

  • Though the Maori people and their traditions were somewhat suppressed during European colonization in the 1800s, efforts have been made from the 20th century onwards to preserve and protect Maori culture and heritage.
  • One in every seven New Zealanders is of Maori heritage, and the government takes great effort and initiative to organize festivals and programs promoting Maori theater, dance, music, and art.
  • The largest of these is the biennial Te Matatini festival, which was established in 1972.
  • Maori cuisine and art such as wood carvings can be found in many parts of the island, showcasing the local's cultural roots.
  • Though most of New Zealand's population is of European descent, all New Zealanders take pride in Maori culture with public holidays like Waitangi Day, when Maori culture and arts, as well as a their history, are celebrated.

New Zealand History

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, who made their way from their Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki to the new island city by canoe in 1000 AD!

  • They set up their homes here and lived in solitary peace until the Europeans arrived.
  • New Zealand was discovered by the rest of the world in 1642 when it was found by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman.
  • His party did make attempts to settle there but they were driven out by the local people.
  • The islands were generally left alone until the appearance of Captain James Cook in 1769. He settled there along with his party, which marked the arrival of the British to New Zealand.
  • The British signed the Treaty of Waitangi along with the Maori people in 1840, to ensure peaceful coexistence on the island between the two peoples, and cemented New Zealand's role as a colony of the United Kingdom.
  • However, under British rule, all the Maori's land was seized, and they protested- which led to war breaking out in the 1860s.
  • The war came to an end in the early 1870s and came to a peaceful understanding between both parties.
  • Currently, Maori culture and traditions have a very large influence on daily life in New Zealand and are extremely important to the identity of the New Zealanders.

Religion: New Zealand

Read more to know about the religions followed by the people of New Zealand

  • The major religion in New Zealand is Christianity, with around 37% of people associating themselves with the religion.
  • However, most people are not religious, with 48.6% of people saying that they do not have any religious inclinations.
  • Other minority religions in New Zealand include Hinduism and Buddhism.

Famous Food Of New Zealand

New Zealand food is heavily influenced by catches from the sea and native Maori cooking.

  • The country has over 9,320 mi (15,000 km) of coastline, making seafood a staple.
  • Popular seafood dishes include crayfish, kina (a type of sweet, fleshy sea urchin), and whitebait. They even eat large sea snails called paua, which are eaten in a variety of ways, while their shells are used to make traditional jewelry and souvenirs.
  • Another must-try dish is Hangi, which is a dish made by the Maori on special occasions.
  • Though eaten liberally in the past, consumption of this dish has become limited to special days as it usually takes quite a long time to make.
  • It is prepared by cooking copious amounts of meat in vegetables together in an underground oven and is always made in a large amount, so if anyone offers you hangi, you are sure to walk away satisfied and full of delicious food!
  • Some other specialties you are sure to find nowhere else are Manuka honey, which is high quality and healthy honey which is highly acclaimed for its medicinal benefits.
  • It's made by bees who pollinate native tea tree bushes, which is what makes this honey special!
  • Another sweet treat to try is hokey pokey ice cream, which has bits of caramelized honeycomb mixed in with the sweet, creamy delicacy that is natural vanilla ice cream.
  • New Zealand is also the world's biggest exporter of lamb, and racks of lamb and lamb chops can be found in local pubs to high-end restaurants in the cities.
  • Looking for a small handheld treat or a tasty filling dinner? Then dig into one of New Zealand's famous pies, which come with a variety of fillings ranging from meats like lamb, steak, and chicken to decadent New Zealand cheese and kumara sweet potatoes.
Written By
Tanya Parkhi

Tanya always had a knack for writing which encouraged her to be a part of several editorials and publications across print and digital media. During her school life, she was a prominent member of the editorial team at the school newspaper. While studying economics at Fergusson College, Pune, India, she got more opportunities to learn details of content creation. She wrote various blogs, articles, and essays that garnered appreciation from readers. Continuing her passion for writing, she accepted the role of a content creator, where she wrote articles on an array of topics. Tanya’s write-ups reflect her love for traveling, learning about new cultures, and experiencing local traditions.

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