10 Weird Facts about New Zealand

Does NZ have more unusual facts per person than any other country? Here are 10 of them.

Archey's Frog
Archey’s Frog. Image by David M. Green

1. New Zealand’s Rare and Unusual Frog

New Zealand is the home of the Archey’s frog. This frog is unusual, because it doesn’t pass through a tadpole stage. The eggs are laid on land among moist vegetation and hatch as froglets with tails. Their dutiful father carries the froglets around on his back. Sadly, Archey’s frog is now very rare; it is a critically endangered species.

2. Burger Mania

New Zealand is second only to the USA for the number of McDonalds Restaurants per head of population.

3. More Italian than Italy?

You’d think that mozzarella cheese for the worldwide chain of Pizza Huts would obviously come from Italy, wouldn’t you? Sorry, you’ll need to think again – it comes from Taranaki, New Zealand.

4. Bats in your Belfry

New Zealand’s has no natural four-legged mammals. Bats are its only indigenous land mammals. The first Maori settlers and the animals they brought with them were the first non-flying mammals ever to reach the islands of New Zealand – this happened about 735 years ago.

Pupu Springs
The clear waters of Pupu Springs. Image by Oyvind1979.

5. Enough Drinking Water for a Whole Country – From One Spring!

The Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay are record breakers.

They push out more fresh water than any other springs in the world, producing one to two billion litres of water a day.

If required, the springs could provide enough drinking water to supply the entire population of New Zealand.

As if that wasn’t enough, the spring waters are the clearest natural water in the world outside of Antarctica. You can see an average of 63 metres when you look down through the water.

6. Caves with Stars

Tourists flock underground to visit the unforgettable Waitomo Caves in New Zealand’s Waikato region to see the glowworms (fireflies). The Waitomo River runs underground through the caves, which natural light cannot reach. Tourists take boat trips along the river, where there are so many of these tiny insects high above that it creates a night-sky effect, with groups of glowworms looking like stars.

7. The World’s Smallest Dolphin

Hector’s Dolphin is the smallest dolphin in the world, and it is found only in the waters around New Zealand. Adult dolphins average about 1.4 metres in length, so they are smaller than most adult humans. They prefer shallow water and so don’t usually stray far out into the sea.

8. Protection from Oddball Names

No, please don't call me that!
Please, please don’t call me THAT!

You want to give your kid an oddball name?

You’re best to do it somewhere other than New Zealand.

New Zealand’s courts have disallowed parents who tried to give their children names as diverse as: General, Keenan Got Lucy, Mr, Cinderella Beauty Blossom, Lucifer, Yeah Detroit and Fat Boy.

9. Protection from Oddball Names – Not!

Although courts have cracked down on some screwball names, there’s always a chance your weird choice might sneak through. Courts have allowed the distinctly unusual: Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay, Messiah and Violence.

One nine-year old hated the name her parents had been allowed to give her so much, that she became a legal ward of court in order to change it. And so it came to pass that Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii was allowed to change her name.

She’d always hated how it didn’t rhyme properly, so she now answers to Talula Does The Hula Like A Zulu! (Just kidding – we’re keeping her real new name a secret!)

10. Home of the World’s First Commercial Bungy Jump – Hanging by a Thread

Bungy jumpers leap from vertigo-inducing heights with only a length of rubber tied to their ankles saving them from certain death.

The world’s first commercial bungy (or bungee) jump took place in Queenstown, NZ in 1988.

Operated by AJ Hackett, who has since added jumps in France, Germany, Macau, Malaysia, Bali, and Australia to his repertoire, the first jump was a 43 metre leap from Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge.

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