littleheaven: (New Zealand Middle Earth by Little Heave)
Today is Waitangi Day, our national day. So, from today's New Zealand Herald, here are some interesting facts about my little country... (my comments in brackets)

A New Zealander invented the tear-back velcro strip, the pop-lid on a self-sealing paint tin, the child-proof pill bottle and the crinkle in hair-pins so that they don't fall out. (A New Zealander also split the atom, thus inventing nuclear power, and a New Zealander was the first man to successfully ascend and descend Mt Everest, his quote upon reaching the summit - "We've knocked the bastard off!" LOL)

New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals per head than any other country.

In the early 1980s, New Zealand was home to more than 70 million sheep, but now has 40 million, or about 10 sheep to one person. This decline hasn't stopped New Zealand from bringing in 50 per cent of all international trade in sheepmeat.

The longest place name in the world still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu, a hill in Porangahau in the Hawkes Bay. The Maori name translates to "the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as Landeater, played his flute to his loved one."

The longest blackout in the world was on February 19, 1998, when the four main power cables supplying Auckland city broke down. The disruption, which lasted 66 days, affected 7500 business and residential customers and cost businesses an estimated $300 million. (I remember this one, it was pretty hairy driving through central Auckland with no traffic lights...)

No part of New Zealand is more than 128km from the sea.

In the scene of Star Trek: First Contact, when Picard shows Lilly she is orbiting Earth, Australia and Papa New Guinea are clearly visible but New Zealand is missing. (This tends to happen frequently on movie maps)

No capital city in the world is further south than Wellington.

Less than 5 per cent of the population of New Zealand is human - the rest are animals. This is one of the highest ratios of animals to humans in the world.

There are more Scottish pipe bands per head of population in New Zealand than in Scotland.

New Zealand has more book-shops per head of population than any other country; one for every 7500 people.

More fresh water flows up from cracks in the limestone at Waikoropupu, near Takaka, than from any other freshwater spring in the world - more than 2100 million litres every 24 hours.

More rainbow trout in the 2kg to 3kg category are caught annually in New Zealand than in the rest of the world put together.

New Zealand is home to the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphin, the rarest sea lion, the Hookers Sea Lion, the largest flightless parrot, the kakapo, the oldest reptile, the tuatara, the heaviest insect, a weta, the biggest earth-worms, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.

Well, I feel better off for knowing that! ;o)

February 2017

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