New Zealand is one of our favorite destinations, boasting plenty of natural beauty, a rich Māori culture, and breathtaking natural reserves. With surfing, hiking, and other adventures available, it’s one of the best places in the world to travel to.
In this article, we’re going to give you more information about this dream location. Keep on reading to discover the most fascinating New Zealand facts, including its multiple Guinness World Records and diverse geographical features.
Amazing New Zealand Facts That Will Impress You
We’ve done the research to compile the best New Zealand facts to introduce you to this wondrous country.
1. The Māori Name for New Zealand Is Aotearoa
Most of us know this stunning country as New Zealand, but its name in the Māori language is “Aotearoa.” This translates to “the land of the long white cloud,” referring to the cloud formations that attracted Polynesian navigators to the country in the first place. In addition to this, New Zealand has had other Māori names in the past, including Nu Tirani and Nu Tirene.
2. New Zealand Has Three Official Languages
Most countries have one or two official languages, but New Zealand has three: English, sign language, and Māori. It’s especially important to preserve the Māori language and culture because 16.7% of New Zealand’s national population identifies as Māori.
3. It’s Known for Its Volcanoes
A more well-known New Zealand fact is that the country is full of volcanoes. In fact, New Zealand sits on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped belt known for its many volcanoes. Many of these are still active today.
Auckland, one of New Zealand’s biggest cities, actually sits on a bed of 53 volcanoes. However, since the volcanoes erupted some 500 years ago, this likely isn’t cause for concern!
4. 32% Of New Zealand Is a National Reserve
New Zealand is known for greenery and scenic beauty. These beautiful pastures and lush vegetation are protected by the government. In fact, one of the most interesting New Zealand facts is that almost one-third of the country is a natural reserve.
New Zealand’s natural resources and biodiversity are preserved since more than 8.6 million hectares are protected land. This includes 13 national parks as well! If you go visit, be sure not to miss out on Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain.
5. They See the Sunrise Before Anyone Else
New Zealand is certainly a country of firsts. Despite Samoa being the first country to experience the new day, New Zealand is the first country to see the sunrise every morning. This is because of the curvature of the Earth. New Zealand’s East Coast (the city of Gisborne in particular) is therefore the first to see the sunrise every single morning.
6. The Nation Has More Sheep Than People
New Zealand is famous for its sheep. In fact, the livestock industry is one of the most prominent ones in the country. However, one of our funniest New Zealand facts is that sheep are so prevalent in the country that it has more sheep than people! For every human being living in New Zealand, the country has six sheep.
While this still seems like a lot, it’s a far cry from previous years. At one point, sheep in New Zealand outnumbered people by 22 to 1!
7. New Zealand Was the First Country With Universal Suffrage
New Zealand has always been a country that has promoted women’s rights. One of our favorite New Zealand facts is that they were the first country in the world to afford universal suffrage. This means that they were the first country to give women the right to vote. Voting for women was approved in 1893, which is way before it became common in other countries. The women’s suffrage movement was led by Kate Sheppard, who can be seen on New Zealand’s current $10 note.
8. New Zealand Has Two National Anthems
Most countries stick to a single national anthem, but an intriguing New Zealand fact is the country’s status as only one of two countries in the world to have multiple national anthems. “God Defend New Zealand” is the most widely known national anthem and is recited in both English and Māori.
However, since New Zealand is still a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as their Head of State, they also have another national anthem. This is no other than “God Save the Queen” and was the first national anthem for New Zealand. The second and more widely known one was only added as recently as the 1970s.
9. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Was Filmed There
Many movies have taken advantage of New Zealand’s gorgeous natural beauty. In fact, a well-known New Zealand fact is that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot there. A lesser-known New Zealand fact is that the government appointed a special Minister of the Rings to handle tourism brought on by the filming!
If you’re a fan of the saga, you can visit Hobbiton Village, a set built for the trilogy. It remains as a tourist attraction and is visited by Lord of the Rings fans all over the world.
10. The Country Produces a Lot of Butter and Cheese
A New Zealand fact that not many people know is how much butter and cheese the country produces. New Zealand has a booming agricultural industry and produces millions of metric tons of milk every year. They use this to make large amounts of butter and cheese – approximately 100 kg of butter and 65 kg of cheese per person per year.
Since this is too much to consume on their own, New Zealand exports dairy products to countries all around the world.
11. The Hill With the Longest Name in the World Is Located in New Zealand
One of the New Zealand facts we’re always fascinated by is the hill called “Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.” You may think we’re making that up, but it’s a real hill on New Zealand’s east coast. The Māori name is the longest name for a place in the world, and translates to, “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one.”
Since the name is so long, we’ll make it easier for you to remember – it’s usually shortened to Taumata or Taumata Hill by locals.
12. New Zealand’s Gorgeous Scenery Includes Clear Waters
New Zealand is known for its natural beauty and stunning lakes. However, a little-known New Zealand fact is that these waters are the clearest in the world!
The water in the Blue Lake in New Zealand’s South Island is known as the clearest natural fresh water in the world. The lake is considered sacred by the Māori and known as “Rotomairewhenua” or “Lake of the Peaceful Lands.” The Māori have used it to cleanse the bones of their relatives and send their spirits to the underworld.
The Blue Lake boasts a visibility range of up to 260 feet (80 meters). While it’s not a lake you can swim in, it’s wonderful to gaze into its depths and is a great place to visit.
13. The Steepest Road in the World Is in Dunedin
Taumata holds a Guinness World Record for the longest named place in the world, but it’s not the only record that Kiwis hold. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the steepest road in the world is also located in New Zealand in the city of Dunedin. The road boasts a slope of 19 degrees and is known as Baldwin Street. Since it’s a residential street, it must be fascinating to see the houses on such a slope.
14. New Zealanders Love Star Wars
The Lord of the Rings may have been filmed there, but one of the most surprising New Zealand facts is how many people love Star Wars enough to identify their religion as “Jedi.” This campaign was extremely popular in 2001, where more than 50,000 enthusiastic New Zealanders entered “Jedi” as their religion in the 2001 Census. Funnily enough, this made “Jedi” the second most followed religion in New Zealand at the time.
15. The Word “Kiwi” Has Three Different Meanings
If you’re planning on visiting New Zealand, it’s important to know that kiwi isn’t just a fruit there. The word “kiwi” has three distinct meanings. In addition to the delicious kiwi fruit, kiwi also refers to a bird, the national symbol of New Zealand.
During World War I, soldiers from New Zealand were called “kiwis.” This nickname stuck, and today, all New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwis. While this is sometimes used internationally, it’s most often used as a self-reference among New Zealanders.
New Zealand Cool Facts – Amazing Facts About New Zealand! | Cool Facts
New Zealand has an interesting history, moving from wars to ultimately peace! Check them out in this video:
We hope our favorite New Zealand facts helped you see the country in a whole new light. While New Zealand isn’t the biggest country in the world, it’s certainly diverse when it comes to culture, geography, and even the number of official languages. In addition to glaciers and volcanoes, the country boasts natural reserves, stunning islands, and a rich Māori history and culture. As such, it’s one of our favourite places to date!
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!