10 Fun Facts About New Zealand That You May Not Have Heard Of

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Here are some fun facts about New Zealand for international students to surprise their friends and family with!



The clearest lake in the world is located here
The Blue lake, also known as Rotomairewhenua (the land of peaceful waters), is located in the Nelson Lakes National Park in the middle of the South Island and is considered by the local Māori iwi (tribe), Ngāti Apa, as tapu (sacred), which means no humans are allowed to enter the lake. In 2013, Danish photojournalist and environmentalist Klaus Thymann was granted special permission by local Māori, NIWA and the Department of Conservation to capture the clarity of the lake. He is the only person to ever legally scuba dive in the lake. While the lake is only 7 metres deep, the clarity of the water can exceed 80m, which is close to the theoretically calculated clarity of distilled water. To get to blue lake you must go on a multi-day walk in the backcountry, with a minimum two days to get there and two days to get back.


NZ’s bats are the only native land mammals in the country
The rest of NZ’s mammals were introduced by Māori and European settlers. NZ’s bats, or pekapeka, as they are known in Māori have three species; the long-tailed bat, the lesser short-tailed bat, and greater short-tailed bat. They first two species are thought to be endangered, and the greater short-tailed bat is believed to be extinct.


NZ is the third closest country to Antarctica

Chile and Argentina are the only two countries that are located closer. Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent and waters from the melting ice feed from the Southern Ocean into the Pacific. In 1957 Scott Base was established by Sir Edmund Hillary on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, which has since become New Zealand’s permanent station for scientific research on the continent. Since 1923 New Zealand has maintained a right of sovereignty over the Ross Dependency. The Ross Dependency includes the Ross Ice Shelf, the Balleny Islands, Scott Island and other adjacent islands. Because Antarctica is 98% ice, approximately 61 percent of all fresh water on the Earth is held in the Antarctic ice sheet.


In 1990 NZ became the first country in the modern world to appoint an Official National Wizard

The Wizard of New Zealand QSM (real name Ian Brackenbury Channell) has lived and appeared in Christchurch since 1974. He is 87 years old and has recently taken on an apprentice. The two discussed the Wizards life on this podcast with Ryan Ferris. There is also a Facebook page, which is dedicated to the wizards of New Zealand.
He has written a book, My Life as a Miracle and had multiple films made about him, The Wizard of New Zealand QSM and The Wizard and the Commodore – Chathams Islands/New Zealand.


Since 2010 NZ has been ranked in the top three of the least corrupt countries in the world list

Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index gave New Zealand a mark of 87/100, tied in first place with Denmark, when ranked with 180 other countries. The ranking is based on their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and businesspeople.


In 2006 NZ had women in all the prominent positions of power, the only time this has ever happened simultaneously anywhere in the world

The Queen, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice were all women.


NZ has the smallest dolphins in the world

The Māui dolphin is a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin, the smallest dolphin in the world. These critically endangered animals are only found off the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, while their relatives are found in the South Island. Both sets of dolphins are thought to live for 22 years.


New Zealand’s population just hit 5 million

That’s right, for the first time in history New Zealand has reached the five million people milestone! This is the fastest million in New Zealand’s history, taking 17 years to reach the mark after 4 million was hit in 2003.


It isn’t just the Kiwi that’s flightless

NZ is also home to the Kakapo, the world’s only flightless parrot and, like the Kiwi, it is also nocturnal. New Zealand’s lack of predators has seen birds develop in ways that would allow them to forage on the forest floor for insects. However, the introduction of pests and predators (i.e. stoats, cats) has meant that these birds are, like the Kiwi, endangered and under protection by NZ’s conservation workers. There are thought to be less than 200 living Kakapo today. They can be recognised by their distinctive moss-green-yellow colouring.


You are never more than 128km from the coast in NZ

You heard that right, the furthest inland point in New Zealand is 8km Northeast of the town of Cromwell in Central Otago, South Island.


Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.