Zealand Interesting Facts
Some interesting New Zealand facts we have discovered:
- Native Maori Polynesians came to New Zealand in about
850 AD. In 1642, New Zealand was discovered by the Dutchman Abel
Tasman (also the Tasman Sea and Tasmania in Australia) calling it ultimately
Zeeland. Much later, Captain James Cook explored New Zealand (now the
Anglicized name) in the
1770s by mapping the coastline. It wasn't until the 1840s that
European settlers, primarily from England (since it was a British colony),
arrived in numbers.
- Nearly four million people now live in NZ, 70% of them
on the North Island primarily in Auckland and Wellington. The total
size is a little over 100,000 square miles, but if you stretched NZ along
the West US coast, it would extend from Los Angeles to Seattle.
- New Zealanders are called Kiwis after the Kiwi bird, an
endangered flightless bird that is out only at night eating worms and
grubs. We have not seen any in the wild.
- Imported species are a problem, just as they are in the
Galapagos, only more so. The worst is the Australian possum which was
introduced to start a fur trade. There are now 70 - 90 million of the
little cute, fuzzy animals, eating their way through forests and destroying
bird eggs. You see a lot of them squashed on the road, but the steel
belted radial is their only predator!
- They drive on the left side (wrong side to us!) of the
road and have great two lane roads throughout the whole country. RVs
are called CamperVans and are small by American standards, which is good for
getting around. Nobody pulls a car behind a RV.
- The New Zealand dollar is worth about 45 cents (US)
and, right now, that is a very good deal for us traveling there. Once
your money is exchanged, things are about 25% cheaper than in the US.
- Toilet design is very clever. There are
usually two buttons for flushing: one for a full flush and another one
for a half flush.
Typically, there is no tipping for meals or services. And ATMs are
everywhere, plus they have NO
- Weights are measured in kilograms and distances are in
kilometers. Stephanie is working hard on conversion factors!
- Our favorite phrase that Kiwis use is, "No
worries." It fits the country well. Additionally, they
describe anything that is positive by labeling it 'lovely.' We
learned, however, that Australians use exactly the same phrases - perhaps
all English Colonies do!