Kiwi Culture Explained 5 - 8 Crazy Facts about Kiwis and New Zealand

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Here are some extraordinary facts about Aotearoa that you might not have known before reading this!


Sign Language?!

English and Te Reo Māori are the main languages, however Sign Language is the third official language of New Zealand (the New Zealand Sign Language Act came into effect in 2006). Sign Language has been taught in New Zealand since the 19th century, when deaf British settlers arrived in the country, bringing sign language with them. At big events today, English or Te Reo Māori are usually spoken or subtitled and a sign language interpreter accompanies the main speaker onstage. You can learn more about NZSL by checking out the NZ Sign Language Dictionary.  

Flightless birds?!
The kakapo is the world’s only flightless parrot, the kiwi bird (New Zealand’s national icon) is flightless, so too are the takahe and weka. The now extinct moa was also a giant flightless bird. Many NZ birds evolved to be flightless due to lack of predators and a thriving ecosystem before humans arrived. Unfortunately, due to the introduction of predators and destruction of habitats, many of these flightless birds are endangered today.


How is a nation of 4.5 million people, all the way at the bottom of the world so dominant in a sport like rugby? It’s because it’s our national obsession! Since the late 1800’s our country has played the sport (played by millions of people in over 120 countries worldwide) and the world-famous All Blacks played their first Test match against Australia in 1903. To learn more about our rugby and to figure out how to play it, we recommend the world rugby website, which explains all aspects of the game in multiple languages.


No nuclear power?!
That’s right, New Zealand is completely nuclear free. That’s part of the reason why our air is so fresh, and our skies are so clear. In 2017 NZ celebrated 30 years of being nuclear free, after then Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from entering NZ waters in 1984. Instead of nuclear, New Zealand’s power sources come from coal, oil, natural gas, wood, solar, geothermal, hydro and wind sources.


City of sails?!
Auckland has the largest number of boats per capita than any other city in the world. That’s right, if you’d ever wondered why it was called the ‘city of sails’ there is a key reason that it is called that, besides being the place where the America’s Cup is sometimes held. Auckland held the America’s Cup in 1995 and 2000, and is looking forward to hosting the America’s Cup again in 2021.


Golf course heaven?!
New Zealand has second-highest amount of golf courses per capita of population in the world, second only to Scotland. With many our courses boasting an incredible backdrop, NZ can lay claim to some of most spectacular looking courses in the world.


No tipping?!
That’s right, if you’re from the United States you might be surprised that we don’t have a tipping culture. Tipping isn’t expected and is just an added extra that we give if we think someone has given us extraordinary service as customers.


A never-wound clock?!

The Beverley Clock has been running since 1864 and was invented by Arthur Beverley. It is in the foyer of the Department of Physics at the University of Otago. The clock runs on variations in atmospheric pressure and by daily temperature variations, so it never needs winding and is the closest anyone will ever see to a perpetual motion machine.


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.