UPDATED April 8, 2024

BY Michael Coo

IN Trans-Oceania

no comments

UPDATED April 8, 2024

BY Michael Coo

IN Trans-Oceania

no comments

A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Fun Facts About New Zealand & The Trans-Oceania Cycling Tour


New Zealand is a long way from anywhere else and that distance has created a singular identity, one that is full of fascinating surprises and captivating anomalies. Previously known as God Zone, Māoriland, The Shaky Isles and Pig Island, this country will certainly delight and amuse the riders on the Trans-Oceania Cycling Tour.

Here are 13 fun facts about New Zealand.

1. Just A Baby

Original flag, Waitangi Treaty Grounds

New Zealand was the last country settled by humans. The Māori were the first to arrive around 1300 AD, followed by Europeans in the 17th century. The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, established British law in the country while at the same time recognizing Māori ownership of their lands and properties.

2. Deep South

Wellington is the southernmost capital on the planet. New Zealand also has the most southerly railway station, pub and vineyard in the world.

3. Ahead Of Its Time

The Beehive, NZ Parliament Building

In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to grant women the right to vote and the country has three official languages: English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language. Over 150,000 New Zealanders can hold everyday conversations in Māori and the language has become increasingly popular in recent years. The country legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and New Zealand was the first country with women in the top three positions simultaneously – from 2001 to 2006, Helen Clark was Prime Minister, Dame Silvia Cartwright was Governor-General and Sian Elias was Chief Justice. New Zealand is also home to the first transgender Member of Parliament.

4. New Zealand Is Green.

The country is known for its efforts in conservation and environmental protection, including being nuclear-free and having numerous initiatives to protect native species and ecosystems. About one-third of New Zealand is protected national parkland and marine reserves and about 80% of the flora is endemic, including the iconic silver fern.

>>Related Post: 10 Fun Facts: Australia & The Trans-Oceania Cycling Expedition

 5. Wild Wildlife


New Zealand is home to: the world’s smallest dolphin species, the Hector’s dolphin; the largest flightless parrot, the kakapo; a giant carnivorous snail, Powelliphanta; more species of penguins than any other country; the heaviest insect in the world, the Giant Weta (heavier than a sparrow and looks like a giant cockroach); the Waitomo Glow worm Caves, the world’s only glow worm cave and the Kea which has a well-deserved reputation for dragging windscreen wipers off of cars. There are, unlike their Aussie neighbours, no snakes and bats are the only native land mammals in the country, the rest having been introduced by Maoris and Europeans. And although now extinct, giant Moa birds were native to New Zealand – they were 3.6 meters tall and weighed a whopping 230kg.

6. Abra Cadabra

The country was the first in the world to appoint an official national wizard. Ian Brackenbury Channell was named the Wizard of New Zealand in 1990. Just magical!

7. Inventions

Although actually invented in Vanuatu, bungee jumping really came into its own in the late 1980s in New Zealand. Other Kiwi inventions include the self-sealing lid, the postage stamp vending machine, the bobby pin, the electric fence and the jet boat.

8. Hobbits

Hobbiton, New Zealand

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies were filmed entirely in New Zealand largely due to its stunning landscapes and as a result it is the only country in the world that has permission to put hobbits on its legal tender!

9. Rugby

The national sport. The New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks, is one of the most feared and successful international rugby teams in history.

10. Kiwis

Kiwi has three different meanings in the country. A dry Kiwi is a person who was born in New Zealand, a Kiwi bird is a bird that is also used as a national symbol and there is the delicious Kiwi fruit. Originally, Kiwi was just the name for the flightless bird but then also became the name for the fruit when some marketing experts realized its original name – Chinese gooseberry – wasn’t a good selling point. Ironically, the logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is indeed the Kiwi, a flightless bird!

11. Baa, Baa. Moo, Moo

A substantial portion of New Zealand’s economy is centred around agriculture, particularly dairy farming which produces a large part of the world’s dairy products. Every year, the country produces around 100 kgs of butter and 65 kgs of cheese per person. Oh, and sheep. For every person living in New Zealand there are at least 10 sheep. No surprise then that it is the world’s 2nd largest producer of wool.

12. The longest town name in the world

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Wow, quite a mouthful. This is the name of a town in New Zealand. Translated from Māori, it goes something like this – “The place where Tamatea, the man on the big knees who slipped, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land eater, he played the flute to his loved one.

13. Aotearoa

The Māori name for New Zealand commonly translates to ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud.’ The sky in New Zealand is often covered in long, white clouds and, interestingly, the country is also the shape of a long cloud when seen from space. Coincidence or what?



Pedaling across southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and both islands of New Zealand the multitude of experiences will be hard to fathom: pleasant wine...


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