Here are some intriguing facts about New Zealand:
1. Low Population DensityEven though the country’s size is roughly close to the UK and Switzerland combined, only five percent are humans out of New Zealand’s total population. The number of people in New Zealand is almost five million, making it one of the least populated countries in the world. The remaining ninety-five percent are animals, hence the highest animals to humans ratio is in New Zealand and is one of the most well-known facts about New Zealand. North Island has a greater population than the South Island. New Zealand’s major urban area, Auckland located in North Island has the greatest number of people living in it.
2. The First Country to See the SunFrom 2011, the North Island city of Gisborne in New Zealand is the first city on the planet to see the sunrise every day. Hick’s Bay on East Cape is the best place to see the world’s first sunrise. The optimal atmosphere to enjoy the day-break is available at the East Cape Lighthouse and the Hicks Bay Motel Lodge offers facilities for accommodation. Samoa is still technically the first country to welcome a new day since it took the decision to move the position on the international dateline. Anyway, the first sunrise is witnessed by New Zealand owing to the curvature of the earth.
3. Town with the Longest Name in the WorldThis is one of the most interesting facts about New Zealand. ‘Taumatawhakatangi-hangakoauauotamatea-turipukakapikimaungahoronuku-pokaiwhenuakitanatahu’ is the longest name for a place in the world. The epic name that has eighty-five characters is attributed to a three hundred meter high hill in Hawke’s Bay. Now shortened to ‘Taumata’, the place name actually has forty syllables and roughly translates to “the peak where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, the climber and the man who swallowed mountains, played his nose flute to the loved ones”. The hill was named to honour Tamatea, a great Maori warrior.
4. First to Give Women the Right to VoteOne of the facts about New Zealand that highlights how progressive of a country it is, in 1893, New Zealand gave its women the right to vote and earned the honour of becoming the first country to have universal suffrage. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was led by Kate Sheppard, an influential figure in the history of New Zealand. She is seen on the ten-dollar note since 1992. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II, Helen Clark, Dame Sylvia Cartwright and Sian Elias held the positions of the Queen, the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and the Chief Justice respectively, hence New Zealand turned into the first and only country in the world where all the top four positions were simultaneously helmed by women.
5. First Place in the World for Commercial Bungee JumpingBungee jumping is huge among the numerous adrenaline rushing outdoor activities in New Zealand. The Nevis Bungee, Rotorua Bungy and the bungee at the Kawarau Bridge are certain fine spots for one to experience bungee jumping. After being deeply influenced by a ritual similar to the bungee jumping performed in Vanuatu, with just tree vines tied to the feet, AJ Hackett went on to make a leap from the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland during 1986. Later in 1988, he opened the world’s first commercial bungee operation at the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown.
6. The Country with the Most SheepIn spite of having the status of an agricultural economy, New Zealand’s actual volume of agriculture is unknown to many. The second-largest producer of wool in the world, New Zealand has the highest ratio of sheep per person with nine sheep to one person. The total number of sheep in the country comes close to a whopping forty million.
7. Clearest Waters in the WorldApart from the soothing scenery, New Zealand also has the clearest waters. The Blue Lake in Nelson’s National Park is holding the record for the clearest lake in the world. The lake has stunning visibility of almost eight meters in depth.
8. Home to the Kiwi BirdThe Japanese fruit of Kiwi was named after New Zealand’s unofficial symbol, the Kiwi bird. Known to lay eggs that are six times bigger for a bird of such small size, Kiwi is a flightless bird and New Zealand’s pride. New Zealand is the home for giant birds that are now extinct, such as the Moa and the Host Eagle. The Mao used to weigh up to two hundred and thirty kilograms and had a height of three-point six meters. The Host Eagle belongs to the largest species of eagle which weighs fifteen kilograms. Kakapo and Hector dolphin, the only flightless parrot and the smallest marine penguin in the world belongs in New Zealand. The most number of penguin species are also in New Zealand.
9. Home to the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and King KongNew Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of The Rings franchise’ was extensively shot in New Zealand over two hundred and seventy-five days and raked in a sum of two billion dollars into the economy of New Zealand. The effect of the world of hobbits even prompted the government of New Zealand to create a Minister of Lord of the Rings, whose job was to make sure that the tourist opportunities presented with the films were exploited to the maximum. Peter Jackson also made the epic monster adventure film King Kong in New Zealand. The ‘Star Wars’ franchise’s huge appeal in New Zealand made over fifty thousand New Zealanders enter their religion as ‘Jedi’ in the 2001 New Zealand Consensus.
Are there any more interesting facts about New Zealand that we missed out? Tell us in the comments.