New Zealand is located in the south-western Pacific Ocean and features two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as other smaller ones.
New Zealand was first discovered by Europeans in 1642 when Dutch sailor Abel Tasman arrived. He left New Zealand after several of his crew were killed by Maoris, and it was not until 1769 that English Captain James Cook arrived and mapped the land.
The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington while the largest city is Auckland. Other major cities include Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin.
New Zealand has an estimated population of just over 4.5 million in 2015.
New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
The Māori name for New Zealand, Aoetaroa, means ‘land of the long white cloud’.
Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.
New Zealand was the first major nation to have universal suffrage. In 1893 it became legal for all male and female citizens of New Zealand to vote.
Queen Elizabeth II is officially Queen of New Zealand. She is represented in New Zealand by a Governor General, who ratifies all laws put before him or her by the elected parliament
of New Zealand.
New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official (and of equal standing) national Anthems. The first is God Save the Queen (the English National Anthem) and the other is God Defend New Zealand. The other two countries with two anthems are Denmark and Canada which both have a Royal Anthem and a State anthem.
Lake Mathes is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It’s famous for it’s beautiful reflections.
In 2008, TripAdvisor named Milford Sound the world’s top travel destination, based on an international survey.
The kea, a bird native to New Zealand, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows.
Moa birds were native to New Zealand, but are now extinct. They were 3.6 meters (12 feet) tall and weighed about 230 kg (about 500 pounds).
There are no land snakes, native or introduced, in New Zealand.
New Zealand is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
New Zealand has a strong hold on the international trade in sheep meat. There are presently around 9 sheep to every 1 human in New Zealand (the population of New Zealand is 4,5 million).
Only 5% of New Zealand’s population is human- the rest are animals.
Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupkaiwhenuakitanatahu (85 letters), is the longest place name found in any English speaking country.
New Zealand is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark), according to the Corruptions Perception Index.
Organised commercial bungee jumping first began in New Zealand.
Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, is the world’s steepest street. The road has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section, a 38 per cent grade.
Rugby is the most popular spectator sport in New Zealand but a variety of sports such as football (soccer), cricket, netball, golf and others are popular among participants.
“Lord of the Rings” was filmed entirely in New Zealand.
In the Lord of the Rings films, the beer drunk on camera was a custom NZ brew called ‘Sobering Thought.’
New Zealand is the only country with the right to put Hobbit-related images on its currency.
In the scene of Star Trek: First Contact, where we see Earth from space, Australia and Papua New Guinea are clearly visible but New Zealand is missing.