Things to know about New Zealand are numerous. The Maori people gave New Zealand the name Aotearoa, which means “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” and the Maori were right; there are a lot of long white clouds in the sky.
Facts About New Zealand
These complement the area’s long, white beaches and white peaks nicely. From kiwi lingo to sheep herding to hobbits and sandflies, we’ve compiled a list of essential information and facts about New Zealand that each visitor to New Zealand should have.
Not Many People in New Zealand
If you don’t enjoy being around other people very much, New Zealand is the place for you. About 4.8 million people live in a country that is roughly 20,000 square kilometers larger than the United Kingdom. Compare that to the 66.5 million individuals that call the United Kingdom home.
Even more so, the countryside is usually somewhat deserted because more than 86% of Kiwis reside in cities. That may imply sadness for some, but freedom from social interaction for others.
Countless Sheep Populate This Area
But sheep won’t let you move one inch. They chew the grass and outnumber their human masters significantly in New Zealand, where they can be seen strewn about like white clouds.
Yes, there are around six sheep for every human in New Zealand. Nearly 30 million of these woolly creatures live in New Zealand, so if there were ever a sheep rebellion, the Kiwis wouldn’t stand a chance.
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Some Common Slangs
Although fluency in a foreign language is not required, it can be useful to pick up a few phrases in the local Kiwi vernacular. There are a lot of weird terms being used. By changing the name of cling film to “glad wrap,” marketers have made the mundane task of using the product sound like a lot of fun.
Cool boxes are known as “chili bins,” vacation homes are called “bachs,” sandals are called “jandals,” and the middle of nothing is called “the wop wops.” To “pop to the dairy” means to quickly visit your neighborhood grocery store (the term has nothing to do with dairy products).
Importantly, if someone responds to your question with a casual “yeah-nah,” they are not hesitating to make a decision; rather, they are simply declining your offer.
We, Humans, Arrived Very Late
How about when you discover a five-dollar bill stuffed into the cushion of your couch? We had a similar experience in New Zealand. That country was the last place on Earth for humans to find. We believed we had settled every area, but then some East Polynesians went on a canoe journey and discovered two large islands teeming with helpless bird species.
I can’t believe my good fortune! Based on excavated artifacts, it appears that New Zealand wasn’t inhabited by humans until the year 1300. That’s very late in historical terms, even if it’s been over 700 years. East Polynesians who settled New Zealand roughly 300 years before Europeans arrived are today commonly referred to as Maori.
Hang out With the Regulars
Historically, Maoris did not always identify themselves as Maori. Ngpuhi and Ngti Porou were just two of the many iwi to which they belonged. The indigenous population of New Zealand had to find a means to set itself apart from the Europeans (first the Dutch, then the British) who had arrived on the island.
Mori was coined to describe the common people of the islands. In modern-day New Zealand, Maori makes up 14% of the population and is recognized as an official language. There are many Mori place names in New Zealand; for example, Whakapapa is more correctly pronounced as Fakapapa.
Yes, You can Get Along Without Shoes
Shoes are universally detested as dreadful shackles for one’s feet. No one enjoys the hassle of choosing between several potential pairs, especially because they are expensive, stinky, and may cause blisters. The answer for Kiwis is simple: they don’t bother.
There are some people in New Zealand who will leave the house barefoot. Some people are so carefree that they walk throughout town, the grocery, and the cafe without even socks.
Despite New Zealand’s proximity to the warm and sunny continent of Australia, the climate of the South Pacific island is notably distinct. The “four seasons in one-day” phenomenon is possible, and the temperatures are generally more moderate than in Oz.
Exaggerators and “drama queens” are responsible for this expression. To clarify, they mean the weather can change rapidly from sunny to wet, something any Brit should be used to.
They Have a Breach in Their Ozone Layer
Unfortunately, we blew a huge hole in the ozone layer just when we needed it most to protect us from the sun’s dangerous rays. Those down under (Australians and Kiwis) are the ones bearing the brunt of this.
Since the ozone barrier is far thinner above the area in question, the sun’s harmful UV rays can easily penetrate it anytime it decides to show its face. Many people don’t know these facts about New Zealand.
A Seashore is Never Far Away From You
A beach is never more than 80 miles (or 128 kilometers) away in New Zealand. Eighty miles is a long way if you’re walking, but a car can cover that distance in under two hours.
Due to this, impromptu trips to the beach are a breeze. You should be wary of the sharks, which sound a lot like Australian sharks but pronounce their vowels differently. Check out these best beaches in Auckland, New Zealand.
Take Care, There are Sandflies Around!
In spite of their absence from Middle-earth, sandflies remain a major annoyance in New Zealand. Although only three of the country’s nineteen sandfly species are known to cause human bites, these three are surprisingly widespread, notably in the South Island and along the West Coast.
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Adorable Kea Birds
We mentioned how possums prey on helpless baby kea birds, but adult kea birds can be just as nasty. Not possums, however; automobiles are its preferred meal.
The New Zealand alpine parrot is notorious for destroying windshield wipers and rubber window seals during car attacks. If cars are off the menu, they’ll play with anything of interest that they can get their hands on, and they’ll certainly steal from the pantry if they have to.
New Zealand’s Kiwifruit has its Origins in China
The kiwifruit is not native to New Zealand, despite the country’s name. Every one of us has fallen for a marketing ploy for the last half-century. The Chinese introduced this fuzzy green fruit to the rest of the world, and it quickly became popular.
The first Chinese gooseberries were grown in New Zealand in 1910, thanks to some seeds that a woman named Mary Fraser brought over from China in 1904.
Gender Equality is a Top Priority
When it comes to women’s suffrage, New Zealand was the first country to set the ball rolling when it granted women the right to vote in September 1893. It took almost a decade for any other nation to catch on (Australia in 1902).
Every New Zealand ten-dollar bill features Kate Sheppard, a suffragette whose tireless advocacy was instrumental in New Zealand’s landmark decision (the bill’s reverse features a cute little blue duck). In 2006, New Zealand was the only country in the world to have women serve as Prime Minister, Governor General, and Chief Justice. For the first time, sisters are taking action only for themselves.
The Popularity of Rugby is Skyrocketing
One of the greatest facts about New Zealand is that, No piece on New Zealand would be complete without a mention of the country’s national pastime, rugby. Big, burly guys chasing after an oval-shaped ball are a national obsession in New Zealand. A
fter returning from a trip to England in 1870, one New Zealander taught the game to his pals back home.
The All Blacks didn’t even exist until almost 30 years later, at which point they toured England and completely dominated the English.
The All Blacks have dominated rugby for over a century, and they still conduct their famed war dance, the haka, before every international game. Because of this, I’m sure everyone’s scared to death of playing against the All Blacks.