Want to know more about New Zealand? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about New Zealand that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these New Zealand facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

1. There are 6 sheep for every person in NZ

It used to be 20 sheep for every person, but recent statistics show that there are now around 30 million sheep, which is approximately 6 sheep for every person in New Zealand.

2. There’s a glowing cave

This is not a man-made cave where they’ve put glowsticks on the wall, but instead a natural phenomenon.

The glowing caves in Waitomo are inhabited by glowworms known as Arachnocampa luminosa. In recent years, it has become a popular tourist attraction where boat rides take people through the glowworm caves. 

Glowworm cave New Zealand

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Polynesians settled in New Zealand in the 14th century

Before the 1300s, the islands of New Zealand were uninhabited by people. Polynesians settlers came here in the 14th century, and their descendants still reside here.

They are known as the Maori people. 

4. Many scenes in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogy was filmed here

Few people have missed the trilogy Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien with characters such as Frodo Baggins, Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn and many more. Even much of the Hobbit trilogy has been filmed in New Zealand.

Tourists can visit the movie set of Hobbiton as well as other natural filming locations. In 2012, even a weather report in the Elvish language was broadcasted to the public. 

Hobbiton

Photo: Shutterstock

5. The Maori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa

The translation of Aotearoa is the land of the long white cloud.

6. First modern country to allow women’s voting rights

Women obtained voting rights already in 1893, which made it the first country in the world to do so. 

7. Baldwin Street is the world’s steepest street

With a decline of 38 degrees, Baldwin Street is without a doubt the steepest residential street in the world. Imagine having to walk up and down here every morning! 

Baldwin Street

Photo: Shutterstock

8. New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world

Together with Denmark, New Zealand can pride itself by being the least corrupt country in the world. 

9. The clearest lake in the world is Nelson’s Blue Lake

If it hasn’t rained for a while, and the sun is shining, the visibility goes as deep as 70-80 meters underwater. 

Blue Lake

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand

So, you probably knew that Elizabeth II is the Queen of Great Britain, but she’s also the Queen of New Zealand, Canada, Australia as well as 12 other sovereign states.

That’s also the reason why NZ has two national anthems, where one being “God Save the Queen”. 

11. Bats are the only native land mammals in the country.

The lesser short-tailed bat is endemic, and was, in fact, the only mammal on the islands before the Maori and Europeans came here. They are relatively small in size 

12. New Zealand bans all advertising on TV on Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and ANZAC Day

Watching TV on Christmas or other holidays? Don’t worry, there will be no annoying commercials!

13. The Native Kea Bird is a Car-wrecker

The Kea bird is known for causing havoc to rental cars and local vehicles. They are known for eating the strips of rubber from windows and pulling windscreen wipers of the cars. 

They are even known to work in teams in order to get the job done as quickly as possible. Make sure to get your rental car insured if you plan on driving in areas with Kea bird populations. 

Kea bird

Photo: Shutterstock

14. It is illegal to name your baby Lucifer, Christ or Messiah

However, it is perfectly fine to name your baby “Number 16 Bus Shelter” according to a court’s decision. Definitely one of the most odd facts about New Zealand.

15. The Tuatara is an endemic reptile that pre-dates the dinosaurs

This reptile looks like a lizard, but the Tuatara even pre-dates some dinosaurs. It has 3 eyes, even though one is “hidden” and it’s endemic to New Zealand.

The Tuatara is often referred to as a living fossil since its species dates back to some 200 million years ago. 

Tuatara

Photo: Shutterstock

Bonus fact

Only 5% of New Zealanders are humans, the rest are animals. 

5 x Fun Facts about New Zealand

  • Most of New Zealand’s population of 4.5 million is of European descent
  • The locals are often called “kiwis”
  • The Ninety-Mile Beach is only 50 miles long
  • No matter where you are in New Zealand, you’ll never be more than 128 km from the seaside
  • Home to the place with the longest name in the world, Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which is a hill in Hawkes Bay
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x New Zealand Facts for Kids

  • There are no venomous or dangerous animals
  • New Zealand is home to the flightless Kiwi bird
  • There are no snakes on land
  • Rugby is the national sport
  • The first person who conquered Mount Everest was a New Zealander – Sir Edmund Hillary
Kiwi bird

Photo: Shutterstock

General Facts about New Zealand

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about New Zealand that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 4,935,630
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Life expectancy: 81,61 years
  • Highest Mountain: Aoraki Mount Cook (3724 meters)
  • Land area: 268,021 km (3,705,407 square miles)
  • Largest Lake: Lake Taupo
  • National Day: 6th February (Waitangi Day)
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Monarch: Elizabeth II
  • Prime minister: Jacinda Ardern
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar ($) (NZD)
  • Official language: English, Te Reo Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language
  • Religion: Christianity, but a large number of citizens aren’t religious
  • Official Website: www.govt.nz
  • Member of Nato: No
  • National song: “God Defend New Zealand”
  • Time zone: UTC+12 (NZST) and UTC+13 (NZDT)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +64
  • Country Code: NZ

The Biggest Cities in New Zealand

If you’re looking for facts about New Zealand, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest cities in New Zealand ranked after population.

Auckland Wellington
Christchurch Dunedin
Nelson Tauranga
Hamilton Queenstown
Napier/Hastings Palmerston North

Flag of New Zealand

The flag has two prominent symbols, which is The Union Jack (Union Flag) and The Southern Cross (Crux). For several decades though, there have been debates on whether the flag should change or not. 

new zealand flag

Map of New Zealand

Below you can see the country’s territory marked in yellow. 

New Zealand Map

Photo: Shutterstock

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How many of these New Zealand Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!