33 Quirky and Unique Facts About New Zealand

33 Quirky and Unique Facts About New Zealand

After raving post after post about New Zealand, I still don’t feel like I’m done with this country. So, I’d like to add one more fun post with quirky facts from this very diverse and intensely beautiful destination.

I’m sure some of these will surprise you because they will seem almost impossible, but as you’ll see, there’s more to New Zealand than meets the eye!

1. Sheep Rule!

There are 9 sheep per each person in New Zealand, making it the highest ratio in the world.

2. The Elvish Weather

New Zealand broadcasted the first weather report in Elvish language in 2012. Of course they would, they are home to the Lord of the Rings movies!  You can see it here.

3. For the Love of Golf

With more than 400, New Zealand has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world.

4. Let’s Bungee!

The first commercial bungee jump was made by AJ Hackett in the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, back in 1988. AJ Hackett got inspired by the cultural “bungee” jumps performed in Vanuatu with just tree vines tied to their feet.Bungy Jumping in Queenstown

5. The “Fake” Kiwi

The kiwi fruit is not native from New Zealand. It’s actually from China, but it was named after the kiwi bird.

6. Such Clear Water

The clearest lake in the world is Nelson’s Blue Lake, with a visibility of up to 80 meters deep.

7. Don’t go Nuclear!

There is a law that states every high school in New Zealand may hold one pound of uranium and one pound of thorium, for conducting nuclear experiments. But, they will be fined $1,000,000 should there be a nuclear explosion.

8. Southernmost Capital

Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world.

9. First in Women’s Rights

New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.

10. Home of the Bats

Bats are the only native land mammals in the country. The rest were introduced by Maoris and Europeans.

11. Very Small Human Population Percentage

Of all the population in the country, only 5% is human. The rest are animals, making it the highest animal to humans ratio in the world.

12. Steepest Residential Street

The steepest residential street in the world is called Baldwin Street and is located in Dunedin. It has a gradient of 38 degrees.Baldwin Street in New Zealand

13. 9th Longest Coastline

For such a small looking country, New Zealand has the 9th longest coastline in the world, with a length of 15,134 km.

14. Close to Antarctica

New Zealand is the 3rd closest country to Antarctica, only after Chile and Argentina.

15. Always Close Enough to the Sea

No matter where you are in New Zealand, you’ll never be more than 128 km from the seaside.

16. More Scottish Pipes?

There are more Scottish piping bands per capita in New Zealand than in Scotland.

17. Tallest Man-made Structure in the Southern Hemisphere

Auckland has the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere (as of 2014). It is the Sky Tower with a height of 328m.

18. The Flightless Bird

The Kiwi, which is a little flightless bird native to New Zealand, lays eggs that are about 20% of the mother’s body. Kiwi eggs are six times as big as normal for a bird of its size.Kiwi Bird

19. Auckland is Full of Volcanoes

There are 50 volcanic cones in and around Auckland.  But don’t worry, most of them are extinct.  The most prominent one is Mount Rangitoto, which can be seen from the harbor.

20. Longest Name in Any English Speaking Country

The 85 characters long Maori name for a hill in Hawke’s Bay is the longest place name found in any English-speaking country. It is, Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungah-oronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which roughly translate, “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”.Maori Name

21. Jedi Religion

On the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.” That was more than the amount of Buddhist and Hindu in the country.  But, by 2006 the “religion” declined to about 20,000.

22. An Official Wizard

In 1990, New Zealand became the first country in the modern world to appoint an Official National Wizard.

23. Australian Kiwis?

New Zealand is listed as a state of Australia in the Australian constitution and can join the Australian Confederation if they choose to.

24. Official Sign Language

Sign Language is one of three official languages of New Zealand. English and Maori are the other two.

25. Destructive Kea

The kea, a bird native to New Zealand, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows. In fact, many tourists suffer damages on their car rentals thanks to this little bird.Kea Bird

26. Least Corrupt Nation in the World

According to the Corruptions Perception Index, New Zealand is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark).

27. No Snakes!

There are no snakes in New Zealand. None.

28. Conquering Everest

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb to Everest Summit, is originally from New Zealand.

29. Land of the Long White Cloud

New Zealand’s name in Maori is Aotearoa, which means ‘land of the long white cloud.’

30. A Huge National Park

About one-third of the country is protected national parks.

31. Lord of the Rings Minister

The filming of the Lord of the Rings movies pumped about $200,000,000 into the country’s economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, to ensure the most money could be made from the films.Lord of the Rings in New Zealand

32. Powerful Women

In 2006, the Queen, the Governor-General, the PM, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice were all women; making New Zealand the only country in the world (to date) where all the highest positions have been simultaneously held by women.

33. New Zealand = LOTR

All but one scene of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) films were shot in New Zealand, practically making the movies a 12-hour long infomercial for the country’s landscapes. (FYI, I share here which scene is that one)

Isn’t New Zealand so interesting and beautiful? What other facts do you know about the country? Share them here!

Lastly, if you’re looking to visit New Zealand soon, take advantage of these hotel deals in New Zealand with HotelsCombined. Also, I recommend checking out Viator’s budget-friendly tours that will show you even more of the country’s uniqueness.

33 Quirky and Unique Facts about New Zealand


Image 4 from Flickr Creative Commons.  Image 3 from Wikipedia Commons.  Image 5 from newzealand.com.

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22 thoughts on “33 Quirky and Unique Facts About New Zealand”

    1. My home town is nelson and I can tell you that the blue lake is protected. You can’t view it. But nearby is waikaropupu springs (commonly known to locals as pupu springs) which was a former clear water record holder. While you are there check out Abel Tasman national park by kayak! Wonderful!

  1. New zealand the most beautiful country in the world. Vibrant culture, friendly natured people, mesmerizing landscapes,wide open spaces,world famous golf courses, green fresh gardens etc make this country unique. My dream destination in abroad. I wanna take birth in new zealand and want to experience the rich lifestyle and die with peace. Lot of love and respect from India.

  2. #3, There is also the highest golf course in the world. You can helicopter to a one hole course atop Queenstown’s Incredibles Range.

    #10, there are 5 species of native mammals in New Zealand. Two species of bats, one of which has gone extinct, and three species of seals. The seals reside at the southern end of the south island and on some small islands even further south.

    #26, not even that business man turned politician John Key? Or is he just a fool?

    #27, are the no snakes in any zoos?

    1. I don’t think snakes in a zoo really count as saying there are such animals in the country. Or should we say there are arctic penguins and dromedaries in the Continental USA just because you can find them in zoos?

  3. Hello Norbert,
    Wonderful article.It helped me know about unknown facts about newzealand.
    Newzealand is my favourite country.It is world’s least corrupt country.
    Facts like wellington is world’s southernmost capital in the world and kiwis fruit not being native of newzealand are interesting.
    Longest place name of 85 letters in newzealand is amazing fact.
    Unlike australia there are no snakes in newzealand.

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