Last Updated on January 18, 2021 by worldoftravelswithkids
New Zealand is an amazing country and there are so many interesting facts about New Zealand. Though relatively small in size, this island country is so unique. From the native animals and birds to the rich Maori culture that is still vibrant today, there are many New Zealand fun facts to share.
Why Am I Sharing These Facts About New Zealand
I blame New Zealand for my love of travel; my first visit was when I was about 8 years old. We used to travel to the USA to visit my grandmother, and the flights would stop in New Zealand. There are even pictures of us walking around Rotorua looking very mid-80’s. Later in my teens, there are equally awkward pictures of us on a hill in Auckland. You didn’t take many photos in those days and the ones we did were cringe-worthy!
By the time I was in my twenties, I spent nearly a month tramping about New Zealand. That trip really ignited my passion for tourism and how the National Parks were presented to people. To this day that trip was so monumental in my personal passions and professional work in tourism interpretation. I can’t wait to take my kids to New Zealand, and I will give you a hint – I have been online looking at camper hire. So our family trip to New Zealand is coming soon!
One of my favourite places to visit in New Zealand was Queenstown which is known as the adventure capital of the world – and is also one of the most picturesque, with stunning views of the Remarkables mountain range. Get inspired with Things to do in Queenstown with Kids.
Interesting Facts About New Zealand History
Who Are The Native People Of New Zealand?
The Maori people are the native people of New Zealand. They arrived in canoes from Polynesia around 1320 and have inhabited the islands ever since.
Maori culture is rich and unique. There are many interesting facts about Maori people. Their culture evolved over several centuries of isolation on the islands and differs from other Polynesian cultures. They developed their own language, ceremonies, crafts, and cultural beliefs that are unique to the Maori people of New Zealand.
New Zealand Is A Country
That’s right. Despite being an island, New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific. However, it is part of the Commonwealth Of Nations.
The Commonwealth of Nations is comprised of 52 countries, most of them from the former British Empire. Because of this New Zealand is considered a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of England acting as the Sovereign. The Queen and the New Zealand House of Representatives make up their parliament. One fact about Auckland is that despite being New Zealand’s most populous city, it is not the capital. The capital of New Zealand is Wellington, located on the north island.
Interesting Facts About New Zealand Geography
The Land Of The Long White Cloud
The Maori name for New Zealand is “Aotearoa” which loosely translates to the land of the long white cloud.
The land of the long white cloud is said to have both a mythological and practical meaning. The description was said to help early Polynesians find the island when traveling across the sea because of the cloud formations that formed near the island. How New Zealand got its name is one interesting New Zealand kids fact.
New Zealand Is Made Up Of Two Islands
New Zealand, while one country, is comprised of two islands – the North and South Islands.
The North Island is the more populated of the two. It not only contains the capital of New Zealand, Wellington but also its most populated city, Auckland. Approximately 75% of New Zealand’s inhabitants live on the North Island.
The South Island, while less populated, is the larger of the two islands. It is considered the world’s 12 th largest island by size and is also considered to be the most beautiful of the two islands.
Unfortunately, one of New Zealand’s top geological stories in the news today is it’s shrinking glaciers. It is estimated the glaciers in New Zealand have shrunk nearly a third since the 1970s. These amazing glaciers could completely disappear before the end of the century.
The disappearing glaciers cause can be attributed to climate change, loss of habit, increasing water demand, and economic development.
New Zealand Has Amazing and Unique Natural Landscapes
Many of New Zealand’s interesting facts are about its landscape. New Zealand is a relatively geographically isolated country. It was also the last country of the Polynesian Countries to be explored. As such, more than 80% of flora and fauna in New Zealand are native to the country. There are several species of birds (like the Kiwi) and plants only found in New Zealand. New Zealand has a very fragile ecosystem that is fiercely protected by border and customs agents upon entry to the country.
Besides plants and animals, the natural landscape of New Zealand is stunning. From glaciers to hot springs, rugged mountains to sunny sandy beaches, New Zealand has it all.
New Zealand Famous Landmarks
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand. You can even take a tour of the Hobbiton movie set. Hobbiton was a very important and prominent place in the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
In fact, the director, writer, and producer of the films, Sir Peter Jackson, is a kiwi. He was born Pukera Bay just outside of Wellington.
Say What? Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the name of a hill in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island. It is the longest single word name of a place in the world. Can you pronounce it? Neither can we. But of course, we had to include this as one tongue-twisting facts about New Zealand for kids.
New Zealand Fun Facts About People & Culture
What Is The Haka
Traditionally the Haka was a war dance performed on the battlefield by the Maori people. However, it was also a ceremonial dance performed by both males and females in a group.
It is usually performed by a group of people together and is characterized by stomping, sharp movements, and rhythmical shouting.
Today the Haka is performed for many different reasons. It can be to honor a distinguished guest, at a wedding, at a funeral, and is also performed by the All Blacks before games as a challenge to their opponents.
Who Are The All Blacks?
The All Blacks are the famous New Zealand National Rugby Union team. Rugby is by far the most popular sport in New Zealand and the All Blacks are loved by the people of New Zealand.
They have won 3 Rugby World Cups and continue to be a force in the Rugby world.
There Are More Sheep In New Zealand Than People!
We know this sounds like a crazy New Zealand fun fact, but it is true. It is estimated that there are about 30 million sheep in New Zealand. This is in comparison to New Zealand’s human population of 4.4 million people.
Who Is New Zealand’s Prime Minister
New Zealand currently has an awesome Prime Minister by the name of Jacinda Ardern. At 40 years old she is among one of the youngest world leaders. Jacinda Ardern is a female but not the first female leader of New Zealand. She is actually the third!
Among her many platforms are LGBTQ+ rights, making New Zealand more liveable, women’s issues, and mental health!
Interest Facts About New Zealand Animals
New Zealand Is Snake Free
Yep, one of the most interesting facts about New Zealand is that it is a snake-free country. You would think that makes New Zealand entirely unique but there are several other island countries like Ireland, Greenland, and Iceland that are free from snakes as well.
If venomous creepy crawlers aren’t your cup of tea, then New Zealand might be the perfect place for you. Besides snakes, there are no lethally poisonous snakes, insects, or animals on either island. This is quite the opposite of Australia and definitely makes the list of facts about NZ.
What About Mammals
Interestingly, New Zealand has one native mammal. Yes, that is right, one – bats. Of course, this was before any settlers arrived. Nowadays there are many mammals like cats and dogs that live in New Zealand but they are not native to the island.
Several Native New Zealand Birds Are Flightless
A flightless bird you wonder? Yes, there are several species of flightless birds that are native to New Zealand including the famous Kiwi, the Takahe, and the Kakapo.
Why is this? Well, because there were no native land predators to eat them. As we learned above, New Zealand only had one native mammal and that was a bat. With no natural predators, these birds never needed to fly to escape harm and thrived on the island.
Food – New Zealand Fun Facts
Butter And Cheese… Oh My
The top export of New Zealand is dairy products like butter. It is estimated that the dairy farmers in New Zealand produce about 100 kg of butter and 65 kg of cheese each year for every person that lives in New Zealand. With a population of 4.4 million, you can do the math. That is A LOT of butter and cheese!
New Zealand Loves Marmite
New Zealanders prefer Marmite which is the cousin to the Australian Vegemite. While both Marmite and Vegemite are bold and salty in flavor, Marmite tends to be slightly milder.
The Christchurch earthquake of 2011 caused a Marmite shortage. It damaged the only Marmite producing plant in the country. Nicknamed “Marmageddon” the yeasty spread was spotted selling on-line for over $800. Now that is a top New Zealand facts for kids!
No, it is not a whimsical bread that fairies bake and eat. Rather it is sliced white bread, slathered in butter, and covered with sprinkles.
This popular kid dish is unique to Australia and New Zealand. Although is recent years “fairy bread fever” has spread to other parts of the world like the United States.
The Verdict – Interesting Facts About New Zealand For Kids
There are so many interesting facts about New Zealand that it would be truly difficult to list them all in one post. From New Zealand’s rich history and culture to its stunning landscape, New Zealand facts for kids are easy to list.
What are some other fun facts about New Zealand? Maybe you have visited New Zealand on a fun family vacation, maybe you live there? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to learn more New Zealand interesting facts? Check out our recommended books about New Zealand for kids below.
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