New Zealand is a quirky little nation and we are very proud of our slightly weird and wonderful ways. Do you want to know a couple of fun facts about New Zealand to show off to your mates? Read on dear friends and be amused.
1. OUR CAPITAL CITY
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and is home to more than 1/4 of New Zealand's population. Funnily enough, though, it is Wellington that is our official capital city. Wellington has been the capital since the 1800s, when our parliament buildings were moved to a more central location, the middle of New Zealand!
2. THE STEEPEST STREET
Ever thought 'I wonder where the steepest residential street in the world is?' Me too. Often. Well, I can tell you it is, in fact, Baldwin Street in Dunedin, with a gradient of 1 in 2.86. Every year, Dunedin holds a Jaffa Race where people can take part in rolling a Jaffa Lolly (round sweet) down the hill. Check it out, you will not be disappointed!
3. AHEAD OF THE TIMES
What about New Zealand's politics? In 1893, we were the first country to give women the right to vote! A lady named Kate Sheppard (displayed on our $10NZD note) led the signing of documents presented to parliament which saw New Zealand lead the way in woman's suffrage movements.
4. THE OFFICIAL WIZARD
On the subject of politics, in 1982, New Zealand appointed an official 'Wizard of Christchurch'. Yep, that we know of, New Zealand is still the only country to have a government-appointed wizard. His duties include casting out evil spirits, cheering up the population and to put us on top of the world, both physically and metaphysically. For those disbelievers out there, he was invited to Tamworth in Western Australia to do a rain dance to break a drought, and it worked! If that is not magic, I don't know what is.
5. MIDDLE EARTH
Let's move on over to cinema and Lord of the Rings. Need we say more? What better reason to visit New Zealand than to check out Rotorua the place where a worldwide cinema phenomenon was born! The films were shot over 275 days, using 350 purpose-built sets in more than 150 locations all over New Zealand. You can visit Bilbo and Frodo's Hobbit house in Bag End.
6. SMALL BUT MIGHTY
New Zealand and the United Kingdom are very similar in land mass size. The UK, however, has roughly 63 million people living there compared to New Zealand's 4.5 million population. And there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. The land mass is small but Kiwi hearts are mighty.
7. AHEAD OF THE WORLD
New Zealand is the first country in the world to see a new day. Our East Cape is situated just under 500km from the international dateline, meaning we are living in the future!
8. AWARD WINNING
The Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park has been given the official stamp of the clearest water in the world. And we are home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites which we are super proud of!
9. LONGEST PLACE NAME
I would personally go to New Zeland just to say that I visited the town with the longest place name in the world. Want to take a guess? No? Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Yes, that is a word.
10. BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
And if we could just take a moment longer on the bragging front, we're proud to announce that New Zealand was voted the worlds best country by Wanderlust magazine in 2007 and 2008. We don't know what's happened since then, but we still think it's the best...