New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (2022)

New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (1)

This not your typical blog post from me - and indeed it's a guest post, written by the lovely Camille from Crafty Explorer - but it's the kind of travel blog post I REALLY enjoy reading. Facts about countries help you quickly get to know them quickly and they often prompt me to do a little further research into specific things about a place. So that's why I'm really proud to present you with 50 interesting facts about New Zealand Aotearoa.

The destination is especially important to me because I'm currently working on a novel set in this beautiful and special country, so I definitely consider this post research for that project, but also, I just really enjoyed learning new facts about New Zealand Aotearoa and learning more about a country I think is on everyone's bucket list. So yes, I hope you too really enjoy these New Zealand facts. Now over to Camille!

50+ Interesting Facts About New Zeland Aotearoa

There's a lot to love about New Zealand Aotearoa, from its glorious landscapes to its diverse people. Its unique combination of beauty and history make it one of the most magical places in the world.

You probably already know that New Zealand drives on the left-hand side of the road and what the capital city of New Zealand Aotearoa is, but do you know about the country's native carnivorous snail or the meaning of New Zealand's Maori name? If not, it's time to get to know the country better.

51 Interesting New Zealand Facts

Here are 51 interesting facts about New Zealand that will very possibly help you learn something new about this beautiful country today!

1. There are three types of Kiwis in New Zealand: the bird, the fruit and the people.

2. Auckland is known as the "city of sails" with more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.

3. The hill called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, in Hawkes Bay has the longest place name in the world.

4. There is nowhere in New Zealand that is more than 128 km away from the ocean.

5. The national sport in New Zealand is rugby. You probably know their famous rugby team called "The All Blacks". They perform the Haka, a traditional Maori dance, at the beginning of every match. While many refer to the Haka as a war dance - and it can often look that way - it's actually also a ceremonial dance that is a symbol of respect, and so is often performed at weddings and funerals.

6. Only 5% of New Zealand's population is human (the rest are animals).

7. New Zealand Aotearoa is home to more species of penguins than any other country. Thirteen of the world's 18 penguin species have been recorded in New Zealand.

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8. Wellington is the southern-most capital city in the world. (Yes, that's right - Wellington, NOT Auckland is the capital of New Zealand).

9. Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.

10. New Zealand Aotearoa is one of several large islands around the globe where there have never been native snake populations.

New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (2)

11. The world’s first commercial bungee jump operation was founded by New Zealander A.J Hackett and opened at the Kawarau Gorge Bridge, near Queenstown in November 1988. Queenstown is still considered the home and heart of bungee jumping and is where all thrill-seekers head to when travelling in New Zealand. Find out more things to do in Queenstown here.

12. The lowest denomination in New Zealand currency is the 10 cent coin and features Queen Elizabeth II on one side and a Maori koruru, or carved head, on the other.

13. According to the Guinness World Records, Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand Aotearoa is the world's steepest residential street. The road has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section, a 35 percent grade.

14. More people live in Auckland (1.657 million) than in the whole of the South Island (1.08 million).

15. The filming of the Lord Of The Rings movies pumped around $200 million into the country's economy.

16. The New Zealand government created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, responsible for investigating methods of capitalizing on the boom in tourism to New Zealand Aotearoa that followed the release of the films.

17. The Powelliphanta is a giant carnivorous snail living on the South Island. These big snails eat earthworms and slugs. They can be found mostly around Nelson.

18. The Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, means 'land of the long white cloud'.

19. Despite the name, kiwi fruits are actually not native to New Zealand Aotearoa. They are actually native to China and were originally called Gooseberries. Mary Isabel Fraser, the principal of Wanganui Girls’ College, brought the seeds to New Zealand after a visit to China.

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New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (3)

20. Moas were flightless birds native to NZ. They are now extinct. They were about 3.6m (12 feet tall) and weighed about 230kg (510 lb).

21. New Zealand Aotearoa is one of the few developed countries not using electricity (indigenous or imported) from nuclear energy, which means there are no nuclear power stations in the country.

22. New Zealand Aotearoa is the only country with the right to put Hobbit-related images on its currency.

23. New Zealand Aotearoa was the last major landmass to be inhabited and colonized by humans.

24. The Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, is native to New Zealand Aotearoa and is known for dismantling cars. They pull windscreen wipers off cars and eat the strips of rubber from windows.

25. There are three official languages in New Zealand Aotearoa: English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language.

26. Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 meters high (1,076 ft).

27. In 2013, there were about 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which was about 15 percent of the population of New Zealand. 192,037 of them lived in the state of Queensland.

28. There are only two land mammals native to New Zealand, and they are both bats: the long-tailed bat and the lesser short-tailed bat. The Maori name for both species is Pekapeka.

29. The East Cape, located North of Gisborne, has the honor of witnessing the world's first sunrise each and every day.

New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (4)

30. The Kakapo, the one and only flightless parrot in the world, is endemic to New Zealand Aotearoa.

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31. More than 80,000 km2 of New Zealand Aotearoa is protected national parks, which is about 30% of the country.

32. With only 4.7 million residents, New Zealand Aotearoa is one of the world’s least populated nations.

33. New Zealand Aotearoa is the fourth largest producer of wool in the world with a total of 11% of the production.

34. New Zealanders most popular activity is tramping, their word for walking or hiking.

35. In 1642, Abel Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand Aotearoa.

36. New Zealand has two national anthems: God Save The Queen and God Defend New Zealand.

37. Taupo is home to one of the world’s coolest McDonalds. Part of the restaurant is in a decommissioned DC3 plane, where you can seat and dine.

38. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world where women had the right to vote.

39. The Maori are settlers from eastern Polynesia and arrived in New Zealand between 800 and 1300.

New Zealand Travel: 51 Interesting Facts About New Zealand Aotearoa (5)

40. Maori people greet each other by closing their eyes and pressing their foreheads and noses together. It's called the Hongi and it symbolises giving one another the breath of life.

41. Traditionally Maori people cooked food under ground in pit ovens. This is called the Hangi.

42. Maori tattoos are an important part of their culture and each one is unique. They often make statements about a person's status in their community.

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43. Hobbiton was not the first collection of homes built into the land or hills. Many Maori communities used to live in huts built into the ground or land called Pas. There aren't any original Pas inhabitable today, but some have been rebuilt for visitors to learn more.

44. New Zealand’s Greenstone, also called Pounamu, can only be found in NZ. Pounamu is very important in the Maori culture. It’s also a great gemstone for empaths.

45. Despite its name, New Zealand's Ninety-Mile beach isn't 90 miles. It is 88 kilometers long, which is only 55 miles.

46. Mount Cook is 3,754 meters (12,316 ft) high and is New Zealand’s highest mountain. It is located on the South Island and is a popular tourist spot.

47. Mount Cook, was originally named by Maori people as Aoraki, which means Cloud Piercer.

48. There are more sheep than people In New Zealand Aotearoa, approximately six per person.

49. The giant Weta, native to New Zealand Aotearoa, is the world’s heaviest insect. A Weta can grow as big as a gerbil and loves carrots.

50. In 2015 and 2016 there were two referendums where the country voted on a possible new flag design. The final result led to the country keeping its original flag design which features the United Flag of Great Britain in the corner, and four stars which represent the Southern Cross constellation.

51. New Zealand's name comes from the Dutch explorers' name for the country when they first arrived there. Nieuw Zeeland literally means New Zeeland, with Zeeland being a province in the Netherlands. In recent history many people have started to use Aotearoa as the only name in some contexts, or alongside with New Zealand, but it is not an official name for the country, although many Kiwis have voiced their support and approval of this.

And there are your 51 New Zealand facts!

New Zealand is a fascinating country, and truly, one of the best countries in the world. From its incredible landscapes to amazing wildlife, Aotearoa is definitely worth knowing better. How many of these facts about New Zealand did you already know? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Camille is a jewelry maker and blogger over at Crystal Healing Ritual, where she sells healing crystal jewellery. Dedicated to travelling sustainably, Camille has been roaming the world and living abroad for over seven years. When she’s not traveling, you’ll find her hiking or reading a good book. You can also follow Camille on Instagram.

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FAQs

What is special about Aotearoa? ›

New Zealand is one of the most gorgeous countries on earth, and even with its modest size, it packs a lot of history, culture, and attractions for us to experience. New Zealand is known for its stunning national parks, dynamic Māori culture, incredible hiking trails, and world-class skiing and surfing.

How do you pronounce Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu? ›

Again daarom advocaat dan the hunger. Go oh oh wauw wordt aan mathea toe riep okapi maanden horen we

How did Aotearoa get its name? ›

Possibly from ao (“cloud, daytime, world”) +‎ tea (“white”) +‎ roa (“long, tall”); often translated as “the land of the long white cloud” (the assumption presumably being that the phrase referred to a mountainous land seen on the horizon from a canoe, after an ocean voyage).

Who named Aotearoa? ›

The now common specific 'translation' of Aotearoa as 'the land of the long white cloud' probably became more established from the 1920s or 30s. Both Bracken and Reeves are commonly credited with first inventing the word Aotearoa.

Is Aotearoa New Zealand the official name? ›

It calls on the government to change New Zealand's official name to Aotearoa (pronounced ow-tear-roh-ah), a te reo Māori name for the country, and to “identify and officially restore the original te reo Māori names for all towns, cities and places right across the country” over the next five years, completing the ...

What's New Zealand famous for? ›

A small island nation home to around 4.5 million people located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team, its indigenous Maori culture and its picturesque landscape. If you're an international student considering studying abroad, New Zealand may be a long way from home.

How Old Is New Zealand country? ›

New Zealand became a dominion in 1907; it gained full statutory independence in 1947, retaining the monarch as head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5.1 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

What do New Zealanders love? ›

New Zealanders – or Kiwis. Someone from New Zealand might say, 'I'm a Kiwi'., as they're often known – balance time at work with time to relax and unwind. They love exploring the outdoors, playing or watching sport, engaging in art and culture, and generally making the most of life.

Why is New Zealand so beautiful? ›

Aotearoa has been named as the third most beautiful country in the world, according to an influential travel guide. Rough Guides highlighted New Zealand's "rolling green hills, majestic mountains, breathtaking fiords and amazing diversity of landscape from one island to the next" as the reason for its high rating.

Who discovered NZ? ›

The dutch explorer Abel Tasman is officially recognised as the first European to 'discover' New Zealand in 1642. His men were the first Europeans to have a confirmed encounter with Māori.

Why do people love New Zealand? ›

Home to some of the most stunning attractions, New Zealand comes with magnificent natural landscapes to discover. Imagine lakes, fjords, snow-covered mountains, cliffs, dunes, waterfalls, river valleys, underground caves, geothermal springs, and national parks.

Why is NZ important in the world today? ›

Since 1980, New Zealand has been a nuclear free zone. It is a leader in peacekeeping and global security and party to key international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Pacific Islands Forum.

What is New Zealand's national dish? ›

Hangi. The hangi is a traditional Maori form of cooking, where food like fish, meat and kumara are smoked in a pit dug into the ground. This 'earth oven' is the perfect way to bring people together and cook a feast, and is still used for special occasions around the country.

What word takes 3 hours to say? ›

isoleucine is the chemical name for the protein of “titin” also known as “connectin.” The largest known protein that consists of 26, 926 amino acids is made up of 189, 819 letters and can take about three hours to pronounce.

Who has the longest name? ›

The longest name to appear on a birth certificate is Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams. #OTD in 1984, her father looked to extend her first name to 1,019 letters and her middle name to 36 letters.

What is the longest name? ›

The longest personal name is 747 characters long, and belongs to Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr.

What is Aotearoa in English? ›

Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, though it seems at first to have been used for the North Island only.

What was NZ called before NZ? ›

Tasman called them Staten Landt, after the States General of the Netherlands, and that name appeared on his first maps of the country. In 1645 Dutch cartographers changed the name to Nova Zeelandia in Latin, from Nieuw Zeeland, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

Who first lived in New Zealand? ›

Māori were the first to arrive in New Zealand, journeying in canoes from Hawaiki about 1,000 years ago.

Does New Zealand have snakes? ›

It's a common misconception that New Zealand has no snakes, but it's not the truth. Marine snakes, or sea snakes, are seen regularly in the waters around northern New Zealand when warm subtropical currents carry them south from out of the tropics.

Is New Zealand named after Zealand? ›

The country of New Zealand was named after Zeeland after it was sighted by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman.

What's New Zealand's biggest city? ›

New Zealand's largest cities are Auckland and Wellington in the North Island, and Christchurch in the South Island.

Is New Zealand rich country? ›

This is why, in the long run, it is better not only to be rich but to be egalitarian as well.
...
Advertisement.
RankCountryGDP-PPP ($)
29Malta54,647
30South Korea53,051
31Kuwait50,919
32New Zealand50,411
141 more rows
1 Aug 2022

What is New Zealand's real name? ›

“Aotearoa” loosely translates from Maori as the “land of the long white cloud.” It is widely believed to be the name bestowed by the Polynesian navigator Kupe and has been used by Maori to refer to the country for decades, if not centuries, though the word's history is contested.

Does New Zealand speak English? ›

English is one of three official languages in New Zealand, along with Te Reo Māori (the Māori language) and New Zealand Sign Language. However, the way we speak English sounds very different to the way it's spoken in the USA or the United Kingdom.

What fruit is famous in NZ? ›

The kiwifruit is perhaps the most famous New Zealand fruit. Also known as the Chinese gooseberry or simply the kiwi, it has a brown fuzzy skin with green or yellow flesh inside.

What is the nickname for New Zealand? ›

New Zealand – Land of the Long White Cloud/Middle Earth

The Kiwis across the ditch have picked up not just one, but two nicknames. The Land of the Long White Cloud is the most common translation of Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand.

Who is the most famous New Zealander? ›

Public rankings
  • Ernest Rutherford (1871–1937) – scientist.
  • Kate Sheppard (1848–1934) – suffragette.
  • Edmund Hillary (1919–2008) – explorer and humanitarian.
  • Charles Upham (1908–1994) – war hero.
  • Billy T James (1948–1991) – comedian.
  • David Lange (1942–2005) – prime minister.
  • Āpirana Ngata (1874–1950) – politician.

Why is NZ cold? ›

Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel South. The far North of the country has an average temperature of about 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler 9°C average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.

When was New Zealand named? ›

On a 1646 world map Joan Blaeu, official Dutch cartographer to the Dutch East India Company, conferred the name 'Nova Zeelandia' – the Latin equivalent of the Dutch 'Nieuw Zeeland' – on the land discovered by Tasman (the Dutch named the western coast of Australia Nieuw Holland).

Does New Zealand snow? ›

Most snow in New Zealand falls in the mountain areas. Snow rarely falls in the coastal areas of the North Island and west of the South Island, although the east and south of the South Island may experience some snow in winter.

What's a fun fact for the day? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

What is the New Zealand national animal? ›

The kiwi is a unique and curious bird: it cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail. Learn more about the kiwi, the national icon of New Zealand and unofficial national emblem. New Zealanders have been called 'Kiwis' since the nickname was bestowed by Australian soldiers in the First World War.

Is New Zealand friendly? ›

Friendly and Welcoming People

Kiwis are generally friendly people, with a laidback and positive attitude towards life. Compared to European countries, New Zealand is still a young country. Even Māori, the country's native inhabitants, have only been living on the island for about 800 years.

What is considered rude in NZ? ›

It is often considered impolite to ask a direct question about someone's salary, wealth, weight or age. Spitting in public is considered rude. Calling someone over by yelling “Oi” can be interpreted as rude or even antagonising. To call over a waiter or person of service, do not wave or yell.

Is New Zealand good place to live? ›

Is New Zealand a good place to live? Yes, it is! If you're looking for somewhere safe and stable, New Zealand is the place to go. It is consistently rated as one of the most secure countries in the world, with a very low crime rate.

Is NZ a good country? ›

New Zealand is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world to live in. What is this? The quality of life in New Zealand is very high, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, pursue your hobbies and interests, and meet new people.

Why NZ is a great country? ›

Breathtaking Scenery

All around us, there is picture-perfect landscape and pristine settings. All you need to do is take a scenic road trip to appreciate the beauty of New Zealand. From The Coromandel to National Parks like Tongariro to the Wanaka Tree…we really have out-of-this-world scenery.

What is the top 10 beautiful country in the world? ›

The 2022 ranking for the 30 most beautiful countries in the world
  • Japan.
  • United States.
  • Spain.
  • France.
  • Germany.
  • Switzerland.
  • Austria.
  • United Kingdom.
7 Jul 2022

Why does New Zealand have 4 stars? ›

The stars on the Flag represent the Southern Cross constellation, emphasising New Zealand's location in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack in the top left-hand corner of the Flag recognises New Zealand's historical foundations as a former British colony and dominion.

When was NZ made? ›

Where did NZ come from? ›

New Zealand is part of a mostly submerged continent that broke away from the Gondwana supercontinent 85 million years ago. As the new land moved into the Pacific Ocean, it gradually submerged, then was uplifted by activity in the earth's crust. New Zealand's geology records the story of the country's birth and growth.

What's a fun fact for the day? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

What is the best thing about New Zealand? ›

New Zealand. It is a country so diverse and so beautiful that there's no wonder why it plants itself on the top of many traveller's to do lists. There's a little something for everyone, from the great walks to the mountains, from the hot springs to the hobbits and from the beaches to the lakes.

What is New Zealand named after? ›

In December 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand's South Island, and Dutch cartographers named the territory after the Dutch maritime province of Zeeland.

How Old Is New Zealand country? ›

New Zealand became a dominion in 1907; it gained full statutory independence in 1947, retaining the monarch as head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5.1 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

What is famous in New Zealand? ›

A small island nation home to around 4.5 million people located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team, its indigenous Maori culture and its picturesque landscape. If you're an international student considering studying abroad, New Zealand may be a long way from home.

Did U know scary facts? ›

Scary Facts to Make Your Skin Crawl
  • Humans shed skin too. Like, a lot of skin. ...
  • We could solve American homelessness easier than you think. On average, there are over 17,000,000 vacant homes in America at any given time. ...
  • Your cellphone is more disgusting than a public toilet.
4 May 2020

Did you know facts for 7 year olds? ›

Amazing you
  • Your body has more than 600 muscles in it. ...
  • Every day a little bit of your skin dries up and falls off, becoming dust. ...
  • Your eyes blink all day long to keep them clean.
  • Each of your hands has 14 finger bones.
  • After about age 30, people start shrinking – they get a bit shorter every year.

Did u know facts about life? ›

50 Facts About Life You Won't Believe You Didn't Already Know
  • You should throw away the cotton in your medication bottles. ...
  • It's easy to calculate a tip without a calculator. ...
  • You're tallest first thing in the morning. ...
  • You should sleep with your door closed. ...
  • Sleeping in a cold room can help you slim down.

Why New Zealand is so beautiful? ›

New Zealand is relatively unspoiled due to the lack of population pressure (approaching 4.7m people). Also the best scenery is further South, whilst the greatest population & development is in the North. In the South scenery is shaped by an alpine faultline with a fjord system like that of Norway.

Why is New Zealand so popular? ›

New Zealand is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. With its snow-capped mountains, ancient glaciers, rolling hills, and copious amounts of wine, it's a destination unlike all others. Tucked away in the corner of the world, it's a country that requires some planning to visit.

Why do people love New Zealand? ›

Home to some of the most stunning attractions, New Zealand comes with magnificent natural landscapes to discover. Imagine lakes, fjords, snow-covered mountains, cliffs, dunes, waterfalls, river valleys, underground caves, geothermal springs, and national parks.

What does Aotearoa mean in English? ›

Borrowed from Maori Aotearoa (“long white cloud; North Island; New Zealand”), see there for more.

Who named Aotearoa? ›

The now common specific 'translation' of Aotearoa as 'the land of the long white cloud' probably became more established from the 1920s or 30s. Both Bracken and Reeves are commonly credited with first inventing the word Aotearoa.

Is Zealand a name? ›

The name Zealand is both a boy's name and a girl's name meaning "sea land". Zealand is the English translation of the Dutch province name Zeeland (originally Seelant). It's more commonly associated with New Zealand, the Oceanic country named by the Dutch.

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