New Zealand is visited by millions of tourists every year. However, this incredible destination is more than just beautiful scenery.
Here are 33 facts that you may not know about New Zealand:
1․ NZ has the highest sheep to human ratio in the world, at approximately 9:1.
2. In 2012, NZ made the world’s first weather report in the Elvish language. Watch it here.
3. Home to about 400 golf courses, NZ is a world leader at this game.
4. Back in 1988, A.J. Hacket made the first commercial bungee jump off Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge.
5. Many think that the kiwi fruit originates from New Zealand, but it’s actually Chinese. The fruit gets its name from its shape and the texture of its skin, which are likened to the kiwi bird.
6. Nelson’s Blue Lake is the cleanest in the world; it has a visibility of up to 80 meters.
7. According to New Zealand law, every high school in the country may have 1 pound of uranium and 1 pound of thorium for use in science experiments. However, if there is a nuclear explosion, the school will be fined $1,000,000.
8․ Wellington is the southern-most capital in the world, and is the windiest city in the world.
9․ NZ was the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote, in 1893.
10․ Bats are the only land mammals in the country considered to be native to NZ. The rest were brought to the country by Maoris and Europeans.
11․ Humans comprise only 5% of the world’s animal population, a ratio of 1:20. NZ has the highest animal to humans ratio in the world, at 9%, or almost 1:10.
12․ The highest residential street in the world is found in NZ. Called Baldwin Street, it has a gradient of 38 degrees .
13․ At 15,134 km, NZ is home to the world’s 9th longest coastline.
14․ New Zealand is the 3rd closest country to Antarctica, after Chile and Argentina.
15․ Wherever you are in NZ, you won’t be more than 128 km from the seaside .
16․ There are more Scottish high-class bands per capita in NZ than in Scotland.
17․ With a height of 328m, Auckland’s Sky Tower is the highest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
18. Kiwis, native birds of NZ, lay eggs that are about 20% of size of the mother’s body.
19. There are 50 volcanic cones in Auckland; although most of them are extinct. Mount Rangitoto is the most famous, and it can be seen from Auckland’s harbor.
20. The longest place name in any English-speaking country is this 85 character Maori name for a hill in Hawke’s Bay: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. It translates as “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”.
21. In NZ’s 2001 census, 53.715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.” That was more than the number of people who identified as Buddhist and Hindu.
22. In 1990 NZ became the 1st country in the modern world to appoint an Official National Wizard.
23. The Australian constitution officially declares New Zealand as a state of Australia. NZ is welcome to join the Australian Confederation any time it wants to!
24. Besides NZ’s 2 main official languages, English and Maori, there is a third: sign language.
25. Another native bird of New Zealand is the Kea. Well known to locals for its penchant for pulling windscreen wipers off cars, unfortunately many tourists and their rental cars learn this the hard way.
26. According to the Corruptions Perception Index, New Zealand is considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
27. There are no snakes in New Zealand. None.
28. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb to Everest Summit, is from New Zealand.
29. Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand. It literally means, ‘land of the long white cloud.’
30. Nearly 1/3 of NZ is protected national park land.
31. New Zealand was the filming location for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, bringing about $200,000,000 to the country’s economy. In fact, the NZ government even appointed a Minister for Lord of the Rings to oversee and manage the extra income from the films.
32. In 2006, the Queen, and New Zealand’s Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justice, were all women, making New Zealand the only country in the world where all the important positions were taken by women at the same time.
33. New Zealand’s landscapes feature for 12 hours in The Lord of the Rings films.
Did we miss anything? Feel free to share them here, in the comments․