Ready to learn some interesting facts about New Zealand?
Whether you’re planning a trip to New Zealand or just interested in learning more about the “Land of the Long White Cloud,” these New Zealand facts and trivia are sure to be just what you’re looking for.
Here’s our roundup of the most interesting New Zealand facts:
1. New Zealand is the first country to welcome each new day. The people of the Chatham Islands, a New Zealand territory, are the first ones to reach midnight every day. New Zealand itself is 12 hours in advance of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and you would think that’s as far as you can get. But, the Chatham Islands are even further east, so they came up with their own time zone. The Chatham Standard Time Zone is used exclusively in the Chatham Islands, and it is 12 hours and 45 minutes ahead of UTC (UTC+12:45)! It’s one of the few places on Earth with an odd-minute deviation from UTC.
2. New Zealand is referred to as Aotearoa. Aotearoa comes from the Māori language, an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by indigenous New Zealanders (also known as the Māori people). In the Māori language, Aotearoa likely means “land of the long white cloud,” which has become a nickname for New Zealand. Technically, Aotearoa was only meant to reference the North Island, but it now refers to the country as a whole.
Related Read: Seven Reasons to Visit New Zealand During Springtime
3. New Zealand is an island country. Since I mentioned the North Island, one of the most important New Zealand facts to know is that it’s completely made up of hundreds of islands. There are two big islands which make up the bulk of New Zealand’s area, the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui in the Māori language) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu in the Māori language), collectively called “the Mainland.” Then, there are around 600 small islands spread near and far from the mainland throughout Oceania and the Pacific region.
4. Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world. New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, is located on the southern tip of the North Island. However, it’s not the largest city in New Zealand, population-wise; that title goes to Auckland.
5. Wellington is the windiest city in the world. New Zealand’s capital city also happens to be the world’s windiest city by average wind speed, which is an average of 16.6 mph (26.7 km/h)!
6. Bats are the only mammal native to New Zealand. “There are no native land mammals in New Zealand except bats,” according to Jim Becker, a biologist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in a statement to WIRED.
Related Read: A Beginner’s Introduction to New Zealand Travel
Well, that’s all our New Zealand facts for now, and we hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other facts about New Zealand we ought to include on our list? Let us know in the comments below, and thank you for reading!