When you think of New Zealand you probably dream up images of rolling hills, blue water, and lush green forests with hobbits roaming free. And you wouldn’t be far off! The majority of the world’s knowledge of New Zealand tends to revolve around nature and Lord of the Rings. So I wanted to share with you 10 Facts About New Zealand that aren’t Lord of the Rings related. Sorry LOTR fans you’ll just have to wait for me to give a hoot about LOTR. You might be waiting awhile.
1. We are home to the Southernmost Starbucks in the world.
How’s that for a claim to fame?! If you’re a Starbucks lover you should head down to Invercargill and enjoy a mocha-frappe-whatever in the southernmost Starbucks in the world. You’ll have a fun fact to tell your friends back home and there is even a small sign you can take your picture with as proof.
2. We are also home to the largest pyramid in the southern hemisphere.
After you have enjoyed your Starbucks hit, you can also check out the largest Pyramid in the southern hemisphere, the Invercargill Museum. We have a lot of ‘southernmost’ stuff in Invercargill. It’s our thing.
3. New Zealand also boasts the longest place name in the world:
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu located in the North Island holds the Guinness World Record for longest place name.
Trying saying that after a couple of wines.
Roughly translated, this means:
“The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one”.
Again, try saying that after a couple of wines
4. The Royal New Zealand Air Force uses the Kiwi as a logo.
The Kiwi is a flightless bird.
The logo (or roundel if you want to be fancy), which you can check out here, also kinda looks like a giant bullseye. Which they then slap on their aircraft.
5. Our badminton team is nicknamed ‘The Black Cocks’.
Get your minds out of the gutter!
‘The Black Cocks’ refers to the shuttlecocks used in badminton and is a play on the ‘All Blacks’ name.
Officially, the name has been dropped because the badminton gods lack a sense of humor. Some may say they found it hard to swallow but I just think they’re being too stiff.
Of all the facts about New Zealand, this one is probably my favourite. What, I’m immature leave me alone.
6. More people live in Auckland than the entire South Island.
The population of Auckland alone is: 1.377 million (people. I assume this didn’t need specified but you never know)
The population of the South Island is: 1.038 million (also people. Not sheep.)
And the population of New Zealand is: 4.693 million (sexy AF people)
Also, just for curiosities sake, the population of the North Island is 3.596 people meaning that out of all that space, a third of North Islanders live in Auckland.
Sounds a bit squishy doesn’t it?
7. Possums are considered a pest in New Zealand.
Which leads to some pretty horrified Aussies as the possum is protected in Australia. However in New Zealand, possums are the most common roadkill and possum fur is used for clothing.
8. We have an official wizard.
And no one’s entirely sure what he actually does. I think he does the occasional rain dance? Anyway, your best chance of seeing the Wizard is in Christchurch. Good luck.
9. We have a beach called ‘Ninety-Mile Beach’.
It’s about 35 miles long. We’re just not very good at naming things, ok?!
Apparently distances were measured by how far horses could travel per day. So they rode along this particular beach for however long it took, did the math and thought “Ninety-Miles”. Why they decided to name the beach after its length is still a mystery to me but anyway. Turns out they didn’t account for the fact that horses are slower on sand. Whoops.
10. We’re all about the Girl Power.
We were the first country to give women the vote waaaay back in 1893. We were also the first country to have all top three positions held by women simultaneously from 2001 – 2006. These positions are: Prime Minister (Helen Clark 1999-2008), the Governor General (Dame Silvia Cartwright 2001-2006), and the Chief Justice (Sian Elias 1999-present). And we’ve done it again in 2017 with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor General Patsy Reddy, and Chief Justice Sian Elias.
And then there is Nancy Wake who is an absolute badass. Nancy was born in Wellington, New Zealand but she was raised in Australia before heading over to Europe. Once she arrived in Europe, Nancy witnessed the rise of Hitler. Long story short, she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands, was an excellent shot, and a master at avoiding capture. Thus her nickname, The White Mouse. Seriously, google her.
So there you have it. 10 quirky facts about New Zealand and none were related to Lord of the Rings. I hope you enjoyed them and hopefully learnt something new about Aotearoa!
What did you think? Did you enjoy these quirky facts about New Zealand? Let me know in the comments!
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Thank you and much love,
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