Aotearoa, or more commonly known as New Zealand, is a little but not so little country right at the bottom of the globe. Often missed out on maps, this country is for sure one that you do not want to be sleeping on. It is home to peaceful idyllic settings but also has some necessary busy city life stuff going on, and is the proud holder of many titles such as “The first country to allow women to vote in (1893)”. Aside from all that, there are a gazillion other mind-boggling facts about New Zealand that I figured you should know about. Without further ado, brace yourself for a very extraordinary journey of enlightenment!
That, my friends, is the longest place name found in any English-speaking country. The 85 letters long word is the Maori name for a hill in Hawke’s Bay. Basically it translates to “The place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”. How insane and whimsical is that?
2. There are more animals than humans
New Zealand is essentially 5% human and 95% animals. In addition to that, there are 9 sheep for every 1 person in the country. This means that it has the highest animal to human ratio in the world. Just take a minute to pause and let that fact sink into you. More animals than humans? Now is that baffling or what? The next time humanity disappoints you, you know where to go.
3. The world’s steepest street can be found there
With a gradient of 38 degrees, Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the steepest residential street in the world. Every year, a fitness event called the Baldwin Street Gutbuster is held there which involves athletes running up and down the street. It attracts a few hundred competitors every year and so far the race record is 1:56. A few other unpleasant incidents have happened on the street as well however. Two people thought it would be fun to travel down the street in a wheelie bin, but unfortunately one died and the other suffered from serious brain injuries.
4. New Zealand is the pioneer in bungy jumping
Organised commercial bungy jumping first began in New Zealand. Back in 1988, AJ Hackett opened the first ever commercial bungy jump on the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. He got inspired by the cultural “bungy” jumps performed in Vanuatu with just tree vines attached to people’s feet as a harness. Now there are many other bung jumps that can be enjoyed across the world, thanks to New Zealand.
5. First ever weather forecast in Elvish
Being home to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, it is no surprise that New Zealand was the first to broadcast the first ever weather forecast in Elvish back in 2012. You can watch it here:
So there you have it, piefaces! 5 bizarre facts about New Zealand that should give you all the right reasons to pick New Zealand as your next travel destination!