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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interesting | Unusual | Fun Facts About New Zealand

Interesting and Unusual Facts About New Zealand:

interesting picture new zealand facts
Before we go to the interesting facts about New Zealand, let's have a brief introduction to New Zealand to somehow add some spice. New Zealand has such a varied landscape combining many of the attractions of Europe and America – from the spectacular Alpine mountains and Fjords of South Island, to the almost sub tropical rain forests and scenic beaches on North Island – and do not forget the bubbling thermal springs and geysers at Rotorua. Add in the delight of the vineyards often offering superb restaurants and seafood and you have an instant Tourist love affair. In Spring (November to December) flowers and blossom abound and the native lupin flowers are a burst of colour along river beds and lake areas. With the best possible fresh seafood, lamb and beef on their doorstep one could be forgiven for thinking of culinary treats. Maybe our experience was a poor selection or too fussy but New Zealand restaurants can be disappointing – they are either reminiscent of UK food in the 1960’s or in the reverse are far too experimental and the results can be a disastrous mix of nouveau cuisine and a dogs dinner. Not surprising then that fish and chips is the national dish!

* The indigenous Maori name of New Zealand is ‘New Zealand Aotearoa’. Translated into English, it means ‘New Zealand, The Land of the Long White Cloud’.

* New Zealand gained independence from Great Britain in the year 1907.
* New Zealand is located in the Oceania Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies around 1500 km to the south-east of Australia.
* New Zealand is part of 'The Pacific Rim of Fire'. Mount Ruapehu, situated in central North Island, is the most active volcano of the country.
* New Zealand is spread over an area of approximately 268,021 sq km and its coastline is around 15,134 km long.
* The official languages of New Zealand are English and Te Reo Maori.
* New Zealand was the first democracy in the West that gave women the right to vote.
* As far as the geography of New Zealand is concerned, 30 percent comprises of forests.
* Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand.
* Dunedin city of New Zealand boast of housing the country’s oldest university, first newspaper and first botanical gardens.
* Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mt Everest, was a citizen of New Zealand.
* New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) is amongst the least stable currencies in the OECD.
* New Zealand has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, with 2.5 million cars for 4 million people.
* New Zealand has won the most Olympic gold medals, per capita, amongst all the participant countries.
* New Zealand is amongst the top five dairy exporters in the world. Combined with the other four biggest exporters, it supplies around 90 percent of dairy products on the international market.
* New Zealand is home to the largest flightless parrot (kakapo), oldest reptile (tuatara), biggest earthworms, smallest bats, heaviest insect (a weta), some of the oldest trees and many rarest species birds, insects, and plants, in the world.
* New Zealand, before European arrival, had no predatory animals. Thus, it was like a heaven for birds, many of them flightless.
* The share of New Zealand in the world exports of sheep meat is around 54 percent.
* To become a New Zealand citizen, you must swear an oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth.
* New Zealand claims the longest place name (85 letters) in the world - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu - which means: 'The hilltop ,where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his koauau to his beloved'.
* New Zealand's national symbol: is the flightless and fast disappearing Kiwi that lends it's name to the people of our nation. See Kiwi Links below... Also the Silver Fern - more associated with our national sports teams.
* New Zealand is home to Sir Edmund Hillary - the first European to climb Mount Everest.
* New Zealand was the first western democracy to give women the vote - a battle lead by Kate Sheppard in the 1890's.
* Favourite sport: Rugby - our national team, The All Blacks, are the 'winningest' rugby team in the world having won over 73% of their test matches over the years.
* New Zealand invented bungee jumping.
* New Zealand has a huge number of cars: 2.5 m for 4.1 m people.
* New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals, per capita, than any other country.
* New Zealand had no predatory animals prior to European arrival, making it a paradise for birds - many of them flightless.
* New Zealand has the world's largest flightless parrot - the Kakapo; the worlds oldest reptile - a relic of Gondwanaland called the Tuatara; the biggest earthworms; the smallest bats - the only native land mammals; the heaviest insect - the Weta; some of the oldest trees; and some of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.
* With 2.5 million cars for four million people, including children, New Zealand's car ownership rate is one of the world's highest.
* New Zealanders make only about 2% of their journeys by bus and fewer than 1% by rail.
* The highest rainfall in a year in New Zealand was a drenching 18.4 metres (60 feet) in 1997-1998 at Cropp River on the west of the South Island. By contrast, the lowest rainfall was a miserly 167 mm (6.6 inches) in 1963-1964 at Alexandra, Central Otago.
* NZ roads don't need to be salted so cars rust very slowly. Around a fifth of cars are less than seven years old. Two thirds of cars are between seven and 16 years old. And around a sixth of cars are more than 16 years old.
* Little known amongst facts about New Zealand is that 22% of its residents were born overseas. This compares with 24% in Australia, 20% in Canada, 12% in the USA and 8% in the UK.
* New Zealand is one of the top five dairy exporters in the world. The top five countries supply around 90 percent of dairy products on the international market. There are over nine million beef and dairy cattle in NZ.
* One fact about New Zealand that is a relief to all Kiwis is that New Zealand's sheep are free of scrapie. Scrapie is a brain disease similar to BSE that's present in sheep in many other countries. It's thought BSE was caused by scrapie jumping the "species barrier" from sheep to cows. Cattle in NZ are free of BSE.
* "New Zealanders who go to Australia raise the IQ of both countries." Former NZ Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, who made this superbly cutting comment, did not provide any numbers to back it up. Unfortunately, therefore, we cannot claim it as a true New Zealand fact.

Fun Facts About New Zealand:

* There is no tree on Auckland's One Tree Hill
* Ninety-Mile Beach is only 65 miles long
* "Kiwi" is used to describe either a native or the natural bird
* Ostrich steak and black swan carpaccio taste nothing like chicken
* The Maori name of New Zealand is Aoteroa, which means "Land of the Long White Cloud."
* Despite their linkage in the popular imagination, New Zealand is actually some 1,000 miles from Australia
* One ski resort near Queenstown is called the reamarkables. Another mountain near Lake Wanaka is called Mount Aspiring, which must have a ways to reach remarkable status.
* The Otaga wineries constitute the southernmost wine-growing area in the world. New Zealand wines are drunk young, with pinot noirs and sauvignon blanc being particularly outsdanding. Hawke's Bay and Marlborough are the two largest wine centers.
* Distance on the courses are marked in meters; add 10 percent to convert to yards. Where fairways have markers, they are generally at 180, 135 and 90 meters-roughly 200, 150 and 100 yards. However, sometimes these distances are to the middle of the green; sometimes they're to the front. Always check the card or ask the pro.

About New Zealand:

New Zealand, island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, located south of the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, and marking the eastern boundary of the Tasman Sea, a portion of the Pacific Ocean that separates New Zealand and the nearest large landmass, Australia, by a distance of about 1,600 km (1,000 mi). New Zealand includes two large islands that constitute most of its landmass, as well as numerous small islands. New Zealand administers two overseas territories, Tokelau and Ross Dependency (in Antarctica). The self-governing entities of Niue and the Cook Islands are in free association with New Zealand, which handles their foreign affairs and defense as requested.

Country Statistics

New Zealand is known for its scenic landscapes of snowcapped mountains and rolling green pastures. Its image as a farming outpost stems from the traditional importance of agriculture to the economy as well as the low population density in most areas. However, the majority of New Zealanders live in urban areas, and many now earn a living in service industries such as tourism. The capital of New Zealand is Wellington. The largest and most cosmopolitan city is Auckland.

British Empire

Polynesians first settled the islands of New Zealand about 800 to 1,000 years ago. According to legend, they named the islands Aotearoa (“Land of the Long White Cloud”). Their descendants are the Maori. The first European settlers came from the United Kingdom, arriving in increasing numbers after New Zealand became a colony of the British Empire in 1840. Until the mid-20th century the non-Maori population of New Zealand was predominantly European in origin. Since then many people have migrated from the Pacific Islands and Asia, and the ethnic composition of the country is becoming more diverse. In 1907 New Zealand became a self-governing dominion within the British Empire. Now an independent nation, New Zealand maintains close ties with the United Kingdom as a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations, but increasingly it sees its identity as a nation in the Pacific and Asia.