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New Zealand Facts

New Zealand Facts

New Zealand passport and map

Here are some interesting facts about New Zealand for kids and families. Find out about New Zealand’s population, major cities, islands and more. 

Name

New Zealand is name after the Dutch province called Zeeland which means country by the sea. The Māori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa which means “land of the long white cloud”.

Language

New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori (Te reo Māori), and New Zealand Sign Language.

English is the most widely spoken language in New Zealand, with over 95% of the population using it in their everyday lives. Most New Zealeanders are either a native English speaker or proficiently as a second language.

Te reo Māori was the first official language of New Zealand. Approximatley 4% of the population speak Te Reo Māori. The Māori language is considered a national taonga (treasure) and is undergoing a revival.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand has been an official language since 2006.

Many other languages are used by New Zealand’s ethnic communities.  

Population

New Zealand’s population is estimated at 5.1 million at 30 December according to Stats NZ.  87% of the population is urban.

New Zealand’s population is only 0.06% of the total world population and is one of the least densley populated countries in the world.

Geography and Size

New Zealand is a country in the Southern hemisphere located in the region called Oceania. New Zealand’s total land area is 263, 310km2 (which equals 101,665 square miles) and is roughly the same size as the United Kingdom.  

New Zealand has three main islands, the North Island | Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island |Te Waipounamu and Steward Island | Rakiura Island. New Zealand is surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean and the Cook Straight separates the North and South Islands.

New Zealand was origianlly part of the super-continent called Gondwana which broke away form Australia and the Antartica about 85 million years ago.

 

Largest City

Auckland  (Tamaki Makaurau) is the largest city of New Zealand with a population of 1.6 million. Auckland’s nickname is The City of Sails and has two harbours, 50 islands, 48 volcanoes, hundreds of beaches, 35 regional parks and rainforests. Auckland’s temperature ranges from an average of 24 degrees celcius in summer to 16 degrees celcius in winter.  Auckland is ranked as the the world’s 3rd most liveable city according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survery 2020.

Skytower School Holiday Programme.

Capital

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand with a population of 200,000 people making it’s the 3rd largest city in New Zealand after Auckland and Christchurch. 

Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world and is located at the bottom of the North Island.

cable-car-lookout-to-city-wellington

Warmest months

The warmest months are February and January in summer in New Zealand.

Coldest months

The coldest months are in July and August in winter in New Zealand.

Currency

The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). The exchange rate at Feb 2021 was NZD $1 = 0.60 EUR, 0.73 USD, 0.52 GBP  0.93 AUD, 0.92 CAD, 0.97 SGD, 4.72 CNY and 76.79 JPY.

New Zealand currency

Time Zone

New Zealand is the first place on earth to receive the first ray of light each day. It specifically shines on the small town of Rangitukia a small settlement just south of the East Cape in the North Island.

Unemployment

New Zealand’s unemployment rate at the end of 2020 was 4.9% according to Stats NZ.

National Anthem

New Zealand has two national anthems. “God Defend New Zealand” is commonly used for national occasions such as sports events and it is sung in English and Maori. The traditional anthem ” God Save the Queen” is used only on regal and viceregal occasions.

National Flag

New Zealand’s national flag is on a royal blue background with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and four red starts with white borders to the right which represents the Southern Cross constellation. 

The Union Jack recognises New Zealand’s historical origins as a British colony and dominion. The stars of the Southern Cross represent New Zealand’s location in the South Pacific Ocean. The royal blue background is derived from the ensign of the Blue Squadron of the Royal Navy.

New Zealand Flag

National Symbols

New Zealand’s national symbols include the silver fern and the flightless native kiwi bird. The term “kiwi” is also a nickname for New Zealanders.

Kiwi on Map of NZ

National holiday

New Zealand’s national holiday is Waitangi Day on 6 February each year which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 by the Maori chiefs and Great Britain. The Treaty of Waitangi is recognised as the founding document of New Zealand.

New Zealand has other national public holidays including New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Waitangi Day Header

Government

New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth. New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in 1893.

New Zealand is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark) according to the Corruptions Perception Index.

Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Famous New Zealanders

Baron Ernest Rutherford was the first person int he world to split the atom in 1919.

Sir Edmund Hiliary was the first person to climb Mount Everist in 1953.

The first Rugby World Cup in 1987 was won by the New Zealand All Blacks.

Peter Jackson is a notable New Zealand film make who made made King Kong and the Lord of the Rings triology.

New Zealand's Top Exports and Trading Partners

New Zealand’s Top exports are: dairy, meat, travel, fruits, nuts and wood.

New Zealand’s top three trading partners are China, Australia and the European Union. 

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