A new month means a new Country! We’re back at it again - the third stop on our Country of the Month virtual tour is none other than New Zealand!
|via Flickr by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center|
Are you looking for a country that can offer you mountains, beaches, volcanoes, rain forests and adventure? Look no further! New Zealand offers all of that and so much more. To get us going we’ve put together a list of fun, interesting and random facts – let’s get started:
1. Over 1/3 of New Zealand is made up of protected parkland and marine reserves.
2. New Zealand was the last major landmass (with the exception of the polar regions) to be populated.
3. New Zealand was the first major nation to have universal suffrage – as of 1893 it was legal for all male and female citizens of New Zealand to vote.
4. As of 2006, New Zealand has three official languages: English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language.
5. Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand, but approximately 1/3 of the country’s 4.5 million inhabitants live in Auckland.
6. Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world, and is also known as “the city of sails” because there are more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world!
|via Flickr by Steve|
7. The term “Kiwi” can refer to New Zealand’s national (flightless) bird, the kiwi fruit, and also for native New Zealanders!
8. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest, was a Kiwi. His face is on the New Zealand $5 bill.
9. Other well-known Kiwis include: Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Keith Urban and Peter Jackson (this list is hotly debated between Aussies and Kiwis but safe to say these guys were all born in New Zealand).
|via Flickr by Sheila Thomson|
10. Speaking of director Peter Jackson, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand. Film sites included Matamata, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Mackenzie Country, Southern Lakes and Fiordland.
11. New Zealand has no snakes, killer jellyfish, or any other deadly creepy crawlies! You can sleep soundly knowing that they only have two or three poisonous spiders and they’re very, very rare.
12. Before settlers arrived, there was only one native mammal living here – a bat the size of your thumb! Most native New Zealand animals are birds and many of them are flightless because there were no large land predators to endanger them. This changed when European settlers arrived and brought with them invasive species like possums, stoats and rabbits.
|via Flickr by chris.murphy|
13. There are over 30 million sheep in New Zealand. They outnumber humans 7 to 1!
14. New Zealand is one of the top five dairy exporters in the world – every year they produce 100kg of butter and 65kg of cheese for each citizen!
15. New Zealand is part of the Pacific Rim of Fire. Situated in the middle of North Island, Mount Ruapehu is the most active volcano on the mainland.
|via Flickr by zwennie|
Stay tuned for more on the beautiful country and fascinating culture of New Zealand!
Did we miss something? Drop us a comment!