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16 quirky facts about New Zealand

by 1st Contact | May 09, 2014
  • Planning a trip to New Zealand or considering making it your home? Check out some of these quirky facts about Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.
    1. Modern bungee jumping originated in New Zealand in 1988, with the world’s first commercial jump a 43-metre leap off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown.
    2. In 1996, a man broke into a New Zealand radio station, held the manager hostage, and demanded that he play “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the frog non-stop. He was arrested and charged with kidnapping.
    3. In the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.”
    4. Chatham Islands in New Zealand is the first place in the world to see the sunrise every day.
    5. New Zealand is home to the world’s biggest flightless parrot, oldest reptile, biggest earthworms, and smallest bats.
    6. There are no snakes whatsoever to be found in New Zealand.
    7. On January 18, 1909, brewers in New Zealand decided to abolish barmaids and ban women from purchasing alcohol in bars.
    8. Today, New Zealand is a liberal nation, especially when compared to the rest of the world. Same-sex Civil Unions are legal, as is prostitution, soliciting, and brothel keeping. The driving age is 15, the consensual age for sex is 16. The legal drinking age is 18, although minors accompanied by their parents are allowed to consume alcohol in a restaurant.
    9. In 1893, New Zealand also became the first country to give votes to women.
    10. New Zealand was the first country to have its three top positions of power held simultaneously by women: The Prime Minister (Helen Clark), the Governor General (Dame Silvia Cartwright), and the Chief Justice (Sian Elias
    11. The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand.
    12. New Zealand is the only country with the right to put The Hobbit film-related images on its money.
    13. There are no nuclear power plants in the country.
    14. There are more golf courses in New Zealand per capita than in any other country in the world. New Zealand’s car ownership rate is also amongst the highest in the world.
    15. New Zealand’s famous 'Ninety-Mile Beach' is, in fact, only 55 miles long.
    16. New Zealand (as we know it) is the largest exposed part of a 93% submerged continent known as Zealandia.

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