25 Interesting Facts about New Zealand

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1Nigel Richards

Nigel Richards

In 2015, a man named Nigel Richards from New Zealand memorized every French word in the French scrabble dictionary and won the French Scrabble Championship. He still doesn't speak any French.

2. In 1984, the New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon got drunk and decided to spontaneously call a general election, which he lost.

3. A former New Zealand politician named Joseph Hatch established a company in 1878 which killed 2 million penguins and extracted oil from them.

4. A New Zealand politician named Jerningham Wakefield was such a notorious drunk that his friends would lock him in Parliament overnight to keep him sober enough to vote the next day. However, this failed in 1872 when his political enemies began lowering bottles of whiskey down the chimney.

5. “Coffin Clubs” are groups of old people in New Zealand who are banding together to make their own funeral caskets. They say that it helps combat loneliness and is a cost-effective way of having a coffin. They also make baby coffins and donate them to local hospitals.

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New Zealand's native Māori make up only 15% of the population, but over 50% of the imprisoned population.

7. In 2003, a New Zealand engineer named Bruce Simpson designed a $5,000 cruise missile using off the shelf parts sourced from the Internet. Despite being entirely legal, his project was shut down by the government.

8. The New Zealand badminton team were called the "Black Cocks" however The International Badminton Federation (IBF) found the name hard to swallow and made them change it.

9. The Parliament of New Zealand keeps an official list of "unparliamentary language", that is, insults/obscenities its members have used through the years that were not considered appropriate, such as "His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides."

10. There is a mountain named Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu in New Zealand. Its name translates to "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who traveled about, played his nose flute to his loved one."

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11James Ward

James Ward

New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient James Ward, won it for actions during a raid over Germany on 7 July 1941. When his aircraft was set on fire, Ward crawled out onto the wing, several thousand feet in the air, and smothered the flames out. The bomber made it back

12. New Zealand is a small piece of the 8th continent Zealandia. It is known as a drowned continent.

13. Disappointment Island is an uninhabited island in New Zealand. In 1868, a steel tanker crashed on the island which killed 68 people, leaving the 15 survivors waiting 18 months to be rescued. In 1907, another ship ended up crashing there and 12 men drowned.

14. A shark at a New Zealand aquarium was discovered to be pregnant when another shark attacked her and 4 baby sharks emerged from the open wound. Staff were surprised and found 4 more babies in her. If she’d given birth at night, then her babies would have been eaten alive by other sharks.

15. On a small field outside of the town of Cromwell in the South Island of New Zealand is a beetle called the Cromwell Chafer (Prodontria lewisi). The beetle is found nowhere else on the planet. The entire species can be found on an 81-hectare nature reserve.

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16Rivers and lakes

Rivers and lakes

In Auckland, New Zealand, 62% of the rivers and lakes are graded as poor by the Ministry for the Environment for swimming, and 0% of the rivers and lakes are graded as good.

17. The Dawn Raids in Auckland, New Zealand back in the mid-'70s to early 1980s involved special police squads conducting raids on the homes and workplaces of overstayers throughout New Zealand usually at dawn. Overstayers and their families were often prosecuted.

18. The world's steepest street is Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand. At its maximum slope, it measures 19° or 35%.

19. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake caused a shortage of Marmite sandwich spread in New Zealand for more than a year. The crisis was named "Marmageddon."

20. Gisborne Airport in New Zealand is one of the very few airports in the world that has an active railway line intersecting the runway.



On the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.”

22. New Zealand's first tank was the Bob Semple tank. It used corrugated iron armor on a tractor base, with 6 machine guns as armament. After public ridicule, Bob Semple stood by his design, saying "I don’t see anyone else coming up with any better ideas."

23. As of 2017, Whanganui River, New Zealand's third-largest river is legally a person.

24. New Zealand was the last Navy in the world to stop the traditional midday rum ration.

25. There is a national park named Egmont National Park in New Zealand that is an almost perfect circle, with a radius of 6 miles, surrounding a dormant stratovolcano.

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