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Quirky facts about New Zealand

  • 3 minutes

New Zealand

What is odd, weird or special about New Zealand

Julius Haast, 1865 named the Franz Josef Glacier after a long white beard triggered the name for Franz Josef Glacier. The Austrian Emperor had a beard.

The Arthur’s Pass Visitor Centre reminds visitors about the possessive apostrophe. Definitely do not call the place Arthur Pass. The other place in New Zealand that is possessive is Hawke’s Bay.

Arthur’s Pass emblem was designed in 1956 by Ray Cleland. One of the original  full-time professional rangers in the country. The design was a mountain, beech and river carved into a lump of greywacke.

Punakaiki, New Zealand
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Unique limestone rocks at Pancake Rocks, Paparoa National Park occur only there.  Nowhere else in the world. The well known Inland Pack Track follows a track originally formed by gold miners.

Stewart Island is over 85% National Park, Rakiura National Park.

The endemic Westland Black Petrel breeds only on the Punakaiki Coast. That’s it, a very short runway for successful breeding.

If you like golf then visit New Zealand, there are more golf courses, per capita that anywhere in the world.

New Zealand does have a fake kiwi. It’s a fruit originally from China now named zespri, New Zealand kiwifruit.

New Zealand is the first country to offer commercial bungee jumping. AJ Hackett in the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, back in 1988.

The clearest lake in the world is Nelson Blue Lake with visibility up to 80 metres.

The Southernmost capital in the world is located in New Zealand. It’s Wellington.

Go voting rights for women. New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.

New Zealand has only one native land mammal. Bats. All other land mammals were introduced by Maori and Europeans.

Kawarau historic suspension bridge, AJ Hackett Bungy Jump location, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand
Kawarau historic suspension bridge, AJ Hackett Bungy Jump location, Wanaka
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin, Otago of New Zealand
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin of New Zealand

The Steepest Residential Street in the world is Baldwin St in Dunedin.

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

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

A long skinny island means wherever you are in New Zealand, you’ll never be more than 128 km from the seaside.

It’s embarrassing, there are more Scottish piping bands per capita in New Zealand than in Scotland.

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.

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”.

The longest landmark name on earth, Taumata, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
The longest landmark name on earth, Taumata
Rangitoto island volcanic area, Auckland, New Zealand
Rangitoto island volcanic area, Auckland

New Zealand is a country of Volcanoes. There are over 50 volcanic cones in Auckland alone. They are classified as dormant.

Although one is only 600 years old, Mount Rangitoto, an island in the harbour is a window into what the world’s surface would look like after a massive eruption. Rotorua and Mount Tarawera is the story of an eruption over 100 years ago.

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

Kea, alpine parrot, personality plus

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.

Close up Kea, the NZ bird in the winter at Milford sound
Close up Kea, the NZ bird in the winter at Milford sound
@Maunga Hikurangi
@Maunga Hikurangi


Thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the North Island city of Gisborne on the East Coast is the first to see the actual sunrise… Mount Hikurangi is the place to be… stunning sculptures reflect the stories associated with sunrise.

New Zealand Christmas Trees Rata tree and Pohutukawa tree, differences

Both glorious Aotearora New Zealand trees display poppy red flowers in spring. The trees differ with the southern rata possessing dark green pointed leaves while the pohutukawa has shorter rounded leaves that have a whitish velvety texture on the underside.Pohutukawa tends also to have more stamens and as a result denser and more prolific flowers.

Differences aside, these two trees have a significant history.

Both are thought to live for at least 1000 years and their timber has long been prized for its hardness and durability and shape and was embraced by early boat builders.

Trees That Count: Fund New Zealand Native Trees Online, Project Crimson is funding the planting of trees.  With your help.

Beautiful Pohutukawa red flowers blossom on the wharf of Tutukaka Marina, New Zealand
Beautiful Pohutukawa red flowers blossom on the wharf of Tutukaka Marina
Mahoenui giant Weta @DOC / Abi Quinnel
Mahoenui giant Weta, New Zealand @Department of Conservation


The weta is the largest insect in the world, weighing at 70g. The weta loves carrots and has ears on its knees.

Powelliphanta snail which has a carnivorous diet of earthworms (which it sucks up through its mouth), weighs 90g and can live for up to 20 years.


The 2nd highest religion was ‘Jedi’ over 50,000 New Zealanders registered. The highest per capita in the world at this time. Kiwi citizens are definitely Star Wars fans.


The country produces 100kg of butter and 70kg cheese for every person. It’s a good job kiwis export the vast bulk or our waistlines would be enormous.

@Whitestone Cheese

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