12 Interesting Facts about New Zealand
New Zealand is a country that arouses great interest, as it is often seen as an almost untouched paradise on the other side of the world. Covered with natural beauty and countless beaches, it has been the scene of many film productions and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
An exchange to Oceania is for sure a unique experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. So, we’ve prepared this post with 12 New Zealand trivia for you to be enchanted and put the country at the top of the list of exchange destinations! Come on?
1. First, good morning
The city of Gisborne is the first city to see the sun rise every day: the country’s latitude makes it to dawn there before other places in the world. Mount Hikurangi is a sacred mountain for Maoris, and the trip there to watch the sunrise is popular with tourists.
2. England + Maori
In New Zealand there are two official languages (in addition to Sign Language): English and Maori – the language of the native people there, which is also taught in primary schools in New Zealand. Therefore, you will always come across some terms and words in this language when visiting the islands.
The country’s colonization is of English origin, so Queen Elizabeth is also New Zealand’s head of state, and they have two anthems: “God Save the Queen” and “God Defend New Zealand”.
3. Appreciation of native culture
The Maori are the native people of New Zealand, originating in Polynesia. They have a very rich culture and are part of the New Zealand routine and represent around 15% of the population. You’ve probably heard about Maori tattoos, haven’t you? The origin is that same: tattoos are part of the culture of these people, and they display tattoos on their faces and bodies.
Maoris are cheerful and vibrant people, and it is possible to visit the villages, taste their food, listen to music and practice typical dances. In addition, the natives are very involved in tourism, mainly guiding tours to discover the vegetation and natural beauty of the country.
Corruption rates in New Zealand are quite low, having been considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world, alongside Denmark. The culture of separation of the administrative sector from the political sector is an important factor so that misuse of public money is not a recurrent practice.
Furthermore, public services are efficient and there is transparency involved in all processes; the population is seen as the ultimate customer, who needs to be served with quality and in an unbureaucratic and agile way.
5. One step ahead
Even being part of the last continent to be colonized in the world, New Zealand is a pioneer when it comes to breaking social paradigms. It was one of the first countries to give women rights, such as voting, as well as allow civil unions for homosexuals.
6. Boats, boats everywhere
Auckland is known as the “city of sails”. One in three of the families living in the city has their own boat – it’s like our cars.
The weather conditions make navigation perfect for any activity: individual sports, competitions or classic boat and yacht trips with the family.
7. More sheep than people
New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, with around 5 million inhabitants (a much smaller number than the city of São Paulo, for example). Therefore, it is quite common for the number of animals raised by livestock, such as sheep, to be greater than that of people. Livestock is a very strong activity and moves 40 million sheep and 10 million heads of cattle.
In contrast, some cities, such as Queenstown, receive 100 times more tourists than their population, so trips to these places are an immersion in diverse cultures from around the world.
8. Kiwi is not just fruit
Kiwi is a native bird and symbol of New Zealand. The animal has a long beak and a body covered with light plumage, which made the fruit take its name due to the similarity. The kiwi does not fly, so it ends up being easy prey and is currently at risk of extinction, despite several conservation programs. In addition to the bird, New Zealanders often call themselves kiwis.
9. Land of clean air
Air pollution in the country is also very low. The natural cover of vegetation (in practically 30% of the territory) contributes to making the air pleasant to breathe even in more urban and cosmopolitan areas.
10. Better quality of life
New Zealand has excellent quality of life indices, with some cities, such as Auckland, appearing on lists of the best places in the world to live. Infrastructure, economic freedom, efficient public transport system, very low crime and good educational institutions are the reasons that it becomes one of the most popular destination for international students and immigrants.
11. Lots of nature
New Zealand has a lot of natural vegetation and 1/3 of the country is protected by the National Park. There are several areas formed by volcanic rocks, and traveling along the long roads is a delight to behold.
Forests, lakes and beaches (few places are more than 120 km from the coast) design a paradise for those who enjoy contact with nature and extreme sports — even bungee jumping was invented by a New Zealander.
12. Movie Scene
Hollywood is always present in the New Zealand islands, mainly for productions that demand large outdoor shots, characteristics of medieval or fantastic films.
Films such as “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” were shot in the hills of Matamata and on Auckland’s Coromandel Peninsula. In Queenstown, several scenes from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” were shot. This also boosts tourism, which practically doubles when major productions set there are released.