The island was named after the Dutch province of Zeeland. It was founded in 1642 by a Dutch explorer. It has another name "Aotearoa" which is a Maori word that translates to "Land of the Long White Cloud". The Maori people are native to New Zealand they make up about 14% of the people living there. 22% of the rest of the people living there were born overseas. New Zealand has two official languages, English and Te Reo Maori.
New Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is approximately 268,000 Sq km or (103.4748 sq mi) in size with a coast line around 15,135 km or (9404.4529 mi) long. This island includes such terrain as spectacular Alpine mountains, sub tropical rain forests and some of the most beautiful and scenic beaches you would ever want to see. Let's not forget about the vineyards and the geysers.
New Zealand exports over half of the world's sheep meat and is also one of the world's top five largest exporters of dairy products. They have the best possible sources of lamb and beef, yet it is "Fish and chips" that is considered the national dish of New Zealand.
New Zealand has won the most Olympic Gold Medals for its size and population against all of the other participating countries. With this kind of athletes it is no surprise that Bungee Jumping was invented here.
The capital of New Zealand is Wellington but the largest and most cosmopolitan city is Auckland. In my opinion the most beautiful scenery is on the Tutukaka Coast. Whangarei is the major city in the subtropical North of New Zealand and has the most beautiful beaches, parks and gardens. It is just 25 km east of here where you will find the most amazing and Unique Gifts from New Zealand.
Bone necklaces and pendants are carved by the Maori carvers who also carve the most exquisite and Unique Maori Tiki masks, Bookends, Spears and Wall Hangings. The Maori are famous for their bone carvings of "fish hook" pendants with tattoo designs These amazing pendants would make an ideal gift for that special someone.
The term Kiwi is used to describe either the National Bird or a native of New Zealand. The Kiwi bird is only found here. It is a flightless bird about the size of a domestic fowl. Its plumage looks like coarse, bristly, hair-like feathers. They have no tail and very small wings. They have a long slender bill with its nostrils on the lower end. It has an excellent sense of smell. Although it is the National bird of New Zealand they are rarely seen.
There are no snakes in New Zealand and with the exception of two bat species (long tail bat and short tail bat) there are no animals native to the country. All other animals including deer, goats, weasels, rabbits and the Australian opossum have all been imported into the country. There is only one poison spider known as Katipo.
The most unique animal in New Zealand is a reptile. It is lizard like in appearance (although not a lizard) and it predates the dinosaurs. It is called the Tuatara. It has a single row of teeth in the lower jaw and a double row of teeth in the upper jaw. It's mating and reproduction is a story all to itself and I will explore that in another article. It is on the endangered species list exacerbated by the introduction of rats and mustelids onto the island. Tuataras are now protected in the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about New Zealand. I look forward to keeping you informed with other little known facts about the land down under. Please visit my website to view pictures of the many different rarities discussed here.