20 interesting facts about New Zealand, the “paradise of the Pacific”

New Zealand is an island country in Oceania. Located southeast of Australia, New Zealand has over 600 islands. Due to isolation from major landmasses, New Zealand has developed unique ecosystems, landscapes, and evolution patterns. Here are 20 interesting facts about New Zealand, “the paradise of the Pacific”.

20 interesting facts about New Zealand

Overview

New Zealand on globe

New Zealand has an area of about 268,000 square kilometers. There are two major islands in New Zealand- North Island and South island. The population of New Zealand is about 5 million.

The Kiwis

The New Zealanders are called the Kiwis. The name comes from the flightless bird Kiwi. Kiwi is the national icon of New Zealand. They are endemic to New Zealand and are considered special in Maori culture.

Languages of New Zealand

English is the most spoken language in New Zealand. Almost everyone in New Zealand can speak English. There are 3 official languages of New Zealand- English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language.

Capital of New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, the capital of New Zealand

The capital of New Zealand is Wellington. It is located at the southern tip of the North Island. The city has a population of over 200,000. Wellington is also widely regarded as the windiest city in the world. The average wind speed in Wellington is over 25 km/hr.

Rugby Union and cricket

Rugby Union and cricket are the two most played sports in New Zealand. Rugby Union is the national sport while Cricket is the national summer sport in New Zealand.

The first country to give voting rights to Women

On 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to give voting rights to women.

The steepest street in the world is in New Zealand

Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand is instated in the Guinness book of world record as the “steepest street in the world”. The street has a steeper gradient of 34.8%

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (shortened to Taumata) is a 305-meter high hill in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. The name is the longest single-word name of a place in the world.

New Zealand lies south of Tropic of Capricorn

New Zealand is one of the four countries entirely south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The four countries entirely south of the Tropic of Capricorn are – New Zealand, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Uruguay.

The clearest freshwater lake

The Blue lake/Rotomairewhenua in Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand is the clearest natural freshwater lake in the world as per a 2011 study. The lake has a visibility of 70-80 meters.

Land of the volcanoes

White Island (Whakaari), New Zealand
White Island (Whakaari), New Zealand

There are many volcanoes in New Zealand, particularly on North island. Mount Ruapehu is the tallest volcano in New Zealand. It is located on the North Island and has an elevation of 2,797 meters. White Island (Whakaari), 30 miles from the North Island is the most active volcano in New Zealand. On 9 December 2019, a large explosion on the white island resulted in unfortunate 22 fatalities.

Highest mountain peak in New Zealand

A picture of Mount Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand
Mount Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand

Mount Cook (Aoraki) is the highest mountain peak in New Zealand. It has an elevation of 3,724 meters (12,218 ft). The peak is located in the Southern Alps mountain range.

Land of the sheeps

The human to sheep ratio in New Zealand is about 5:1. There is approximately 26 million Sheep livestock in New Zealand. This number is however continuously decreasing due to various economic reasons.

Auckland- the largest city in New Zealand

Auckland, the largest economic hub in New Zealand

The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland. The city’s urban area has a population of over 1.4 million. Auckland is located on the North Island and is the former capital of New Zealand. Auckland is also the largest economic hub of New Zealand.

Religion in New Zealand

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

About half of the population in New Zealand is non-religious. The largest religion in New Zealand is Christianity which is followed by 37% population. Hinduism is the second-largest religion followed by 2.6% population.

North Island and South island

The South Island (145,836 square kilometers) is the 12th largest island in the world while the North Island (111,583 square kilometers) is the 14th largest island in the world.

Over 600 smaller islands in New Zealand

There are over 600 smaller islands in New Zealand. The Stewart Island (Rakiura) is the largest among the smaller islands. The Stewart island has an area of 1747.74 square kilometers.

Forest cover in New Zealand

New Zealand has a forest cover of about 38%. The country has 10.1 million hectares of forest land of which 8 million hectares are native forest, rest are plantation forest.

Closest neighbors of New Zealand

Closest neighbors of New Zealand

The closest neighbor of New Zealand is New Caledonia (a French territory), about 1,400 kilometers from North island. The Tasmania state of Australia is about 1.500 kilometers and mainland Australia is about 1,600 kilometers from New Zealand.

Bats are the only indigenous mammals in New Zealand

It may sound strange but Bats are the only indigenous land mammals in New Zealand. There are 3 species of bats in New Zealand-

  • New Zealand long-tailed bat
  • New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat
  • New Zealand greater short-tailed bat

Some basic facts about New Zealand

CapitalWellington
Largest cityAuckland
Areaabout 268,000 square kilometers
Populationabout 5 million
National sportRugby Union
Official languagesEnglish, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language
CurrencyNew Zealand Dollar

Flag of New Zealand


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