For everything you know about New Zealand, chances are that you still have more to learn about this Oceanian country—because there’s a lot to know really. For who would love to explore, or relocate there, here are 10 interesting facts for a start.
- First country to give women voting rights
This is one of the country’s most honorable facts: New Zealand was the first country to grant women the right to vote in 1893. This was due, in no small part, to Kate Sheppard, an iconic figure in the women’s suffrage movement.
Her efforts in gathering 30,000 signatures to the country’s Parliament led to universal suffrage—for which her image still adorns New Zealand’s $10 note. Also, NZ was the first country to have its top three positions held by women: Helen Clark (Prime Minister); Dame Silvia Cartwright (Governor General); and Sian Elias (Chief Justice).
- Conquered Everest and discovered the proton
Two citizens of New Zealand were the first to conquer Mount Everest and first to discover the proton: Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Ernest Rutherford. Interestingly, they are often mistaken for Britons.
- Volcano country
New Zealand is slightly precariously placed on what’s known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. Only a few of them are still active, including the iconic Mt Ruapehu otherwise known as Mt Doom from The Lord of the Rings.
On top of this, the biggest city in the country, Auckland, sits on a large volcanic field of approximately 53 volcanoes. You need not worry though as the last eruption there was about 500 years ago, and it is unlikely to happen again.
Clearest waters in the world
People often talk about New Zealand’s pristine scenery and clear waters and they’re not just being nice. It’s true!
The Blue Lake, in the Nelson Lakes National Park, currently holds the record for having the clearest waters in the world. Remarkably, it has a visibility range of up to 80 meters. Its Maori name is ‘Rotomairewhenua,’ which means Lake of Peaceful Lands. We don’t have any clear water in Nigeria, do we?
- First country to see the sunrise
This fact has been disputed a lot, so it’s mildly controversial as it is argued that Samoa is technically the first country to welcome the new day. However, thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the North Island city of Gisborne on the East Coast is the first to see the actual sunrise!
It’s a great place to visit, particularly on New Year’s Eve if you’re a party animal, because it is a sight to behold.
- Town with longest name in the world
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. No, I didn’t just punch my keyboard to see what I can come up with. This is the name of a town on the east coast of New Zealand and its translation from Maori vaguely means, “The place where Tamatea, the man on the big knees who slipped, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land eater, he played the flute to his loved one.” I cannot be the only one who wants to visit this town just to hear the natives pronounce it.
- Read the full story in Nigeria Abroad