Every nation has its eccentric side, but New Zealand is undoubtedly one that loves it! There are many strange things about New Zealand that you don’t really need to know but are nevertheless interesting to know, from the odd town names to the national wizard.
You will experience many funny and bizarre situations when traveling across Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, but we can’t help but give you a few hints in our list of odd facts about New Zealand! Discover some fantastic icebreakers and dazzle your fellow travellers with your encyclopedic knowledge of New Zealand.
Take a seat and read through these odd facts about New Zealand while you enjoy a cup of tea, a German schnitzel, or whatever else you think is fitting.
1. There is a Big Obsession for Big Things
It’s not as shady as it sounds, but New Zealand communities love to make a statement by putting up massive sculptures that advertise what they are known for. Giant kiwifruits, kiwi birds, soft drink bottles, and even a doughnut are all to be found in Te Puke, Otorohanga, Paeroa, and Springfield, respectively. These enormous sculptures are so numerous that we created a whole list just for them.
2. A Railway Line Passes Through an Airport Landing Strip
Even though there is plenty of room for public transportation in New Zealand, they nonetheless chose to build a railway line directly through an airport. Gisborne Airport is directly in the path of the railway line between Palmerston North and Gisborne. In fact, this very railway route hosts a few tourist steam train excursions each month.
3. The National Park Boundaries are All Too Obvious
In Taranaki, dairy farmers have interpreted the Egmont National Park boundary far too literally; from the air, the terrain practically resembles a perfect circle. The circle formed by the national park boundaries extends up to 9.5 kilometers (6 miles) from the summit of Mount Taranaki. Though you may experience some really lush native forest on a number of walks in the area thanks to this dark vegetation.
4. It’s Encouraged to Run Over Possums
Possums may be charming and cuddly, but in New Zealand they are regarded as a problem. Possums, an Australian protected species, were imported to New Zealand in 1987 for the fur trade. Since then, their population in New Zealand has exploded to the point where they are munching through 20,000 tonnes of foliage per night and decimating the local bird species’s eco-system.
5. You Can Watch Rockets Launch into Space
Rocket launches are not typically associated with New Zealand, however as of 2017, Mahia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay has emerged as the location to go if you want to witness one firsthand.
6. It has the world’s longest place name.
New Zealand: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
Your entire family would detest the location name Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu if they were to send you birthday cards. The longest place name in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records belongs to the 85-letter town in Hawke’s Bay.
7. Additional Funny Place Names
Some of the English place names, such as Shag Point and Hooker Valley, were given without any apparent guilt. Some Maori place names have an unsavory connotation to English speakers. For instance, Whakapapa is pronounced “faka-papa” in the ski area.
8. Visit Southland to see everything’s southernmost point.
We understand that the Southland is quite freaking far south! Invercargill and Stewart Island are part of the Southland area, which is proud to be home to some of the world’s most southernly located industry and landmarks. and frequent reminders will be given to you. It begins with learning that Invercargill is the southernmost city in the globe and concludes on Stewart Island, where a plaque marks the location of New Zealand’s southernmost woolshed.
9. The New Zealand Badminton Team Once Had the Nickname “Black Cocks”
… But as you can expect, for the majority, they were coming on a little too strong. The cheesy PR effort was intended to draw attention and sponsors, but after roughly a year, the Black Cocks were forced to change their moniker.
10. New Zealand has an official wizard.
The official Wizard of New Zealand was named in 1990 by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell. The pointy-hatted, beard-sporting wizard has a background in entertainment and politics in Christchurch, but he is frequently spotted with a young apprentice at important Canterbury events all year round.