Portal:New Zealand/Did you know

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The current week is Week 21.

Did you know by week

Week 1           view - talk - edit - history

Ice cream cone

...that Hokey pokey is New Zealand's second most popular ice cream flavour, after vanilla?

...that the settlement of Te Wairoa was buried by a volcanic eruption in 1886, and that its ruins are now a tourist attraction?

...that the grounds of NZ Prime Minister's official residence, Premier House, had what were probably the country's first tennis courts?

...that the North Island's northernmost and westernmost points are only 30 kilometres from each other?


Week 2           view - talk - edit - history

...that the coal-mine railway at Denniston, New Zealand fell a precipitous 510 metres over a track length of only 1.7 kilometres?

...that New Zealand was the first modern nation to give its women the right to vote.

...that Sir Edmund Hillary, a Kiwi (New Zealander), was a beekeeper in Auckland before he became the first man to reach the summit of Nepal's Mt. Everest; the highest peak on earth.

...that Tim Shadbolt, mayor of Waitakere and then Invercargill, said 'I don't care where, as long as I'm mayor' for a television advertisement.


Week 3           view - talk - edit - history

... that the Hocken Collections, one of the country's main historical archives, is housed in a former cheese factory?

... that Lloyd Geering was tried for heresy in 1967?

... that the main streets of Martinborough in the Wairarapa were deliberately laid out in the shape of a Union Jack?

... that the township of Whangamomona proclaimed itself a republic in 1989 when boundary changes moved it out of the Taranaki Region?


Week 4           view - talk - edit - history

...that New Zealand's longest road tunnel connects the city of Christchurch and the port of Lyttelton?

...that Mount Wellington have won New Zealand's premier soccer competition, the Chatham Cup, seven times - more than any other team?

...that the male and female of the extinct bird Huia had very differently-shaped beaks?

...that Wellington's famous blanket man Ben Hana worships the Egyptian sun god Ra?


Week 5           view - talk - edit - history

Tom Neale's autobiography

...that New Zealander Tom Neale lived for a total of sixteen years on the otherwise uninhabited atoll of Suwarrow?

...that the world's only two towns called Matamata - in New Zealand and Tunisia - were both sites of filming for major blockbuster movies?

...that whenever trade unionist Bill Andersen and conservative Prime Minister Rob Muldoon flew on the same domestic flight, unionist staff arranged for them to sit next to each other?

...that Te Whanga Lagoon, on Chatham Island, is large enough that it could contain all the other islands in the Chatham Islands chain?


Week 6           view - talk - edit - history

...that New Zealand palaeontologists refer to the last 330,000 years as the Haweran stage of the Wanganui epoch?

...that the North Island's Kaingaroa Forest is the largest plantation in the Southern Hemisphere?

...that Jacquemart Island in the Campbell Islands is New Zealand's southernmost island?

...that New Zealand native Mystacinidae bats spend much of their time on the ground and fold their wings into a leathery membrane when not in use?


Week 7           view - talk - edit - history

...that Wellington is the only city in New Zealand to have electric passenger trains?

...that with the change of electoral systems to MMP, New Zealand elections are less distorted?

...that New Zealand was a pioneer in using aerial topdressing to spread fertiliser over farmland?

...that large-scale Muslim migration to New Zealand began in the late 1980s with the migration of Fijian Indians after the first Fiji coups of 1987?


Week 8           view - talk - edit - history

...that New Zealand's first long-distance telephone service was between Dunedin and Milton?

...that Rangitata Island is the only place that State Highway 1 leaves New Zealand's two main islands?

...that Otago Girls' High School claims to be the oldest girls' high school in the Southern hemisphere?

...that the line "Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle" from Denis Glover's poem The Magpies is one of the most famous lines in New Zealand poetry?


Week 9           view - talk - edit - history

...that the sting of New Zealand's ongaonga or tree nettle can be fatal?

...that New Zealand's highest mountain is Aoraki/Mt Cook, at 3,754 metres?

...that while New Zealand rates number 5 on the list of total number of sheep produced, it has the highest number of sheep per-capita?

...that New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister was Richard Seddon?


Week 10           view - talk - edit - history

...that the Cardrona Bra Fence was an unusual South Island tourist attraction?

Lawyer's Head, New Zealand.

...That Lawyer's Head headland in Dunedin (pictured) is named for its likeness to the profile of a man in a traditional legal wig?

...that the wild population of New Zealand's endangered Kaka Beak has plummeted to under one sixth of the number found 10 years ago?

...that the U.S. base at the South Pole follows New Zealand time?


Week 11           view - talk - edit - history

Stamp for early Pigeon-Gram service.

...that a pigeon post service ran from Newton to Great Barrier Island from 1896 to 1908. This may have been the world's first regular airmail service.

...that New Zealand fighter ace Keith Caldwell criticised the Royal Flying Corps' leading ace - and his superior officer - for shooting two German aircrew who had crash landed behind British lines.

...that the New Zealand Storm-petrel was believed extinct from 1850 until it was sighted again in 2003?

...that New Zealand's biggest second-hand book sale (pictured) is that held annually at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin?


Week 12           view - talk - edit - history

A petrified log embedded in rocks at Curio Bay.

...that Curio Bay in the Catlins is the site of a petrified forest, buried by a volcano some 160 million years ago?

...that Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, New Zealander Alan Deere was shot down or crashed nine times?

...that English law was deemed to have taken effect in New Zealand on 14 January 1840, the date that New South Wales Governor George Gipps proclaimed his jurisdiction over New Zealand. New Zealand became a colony in its own right in 1841.

...that the mineral motukoreaite is named after one of Auckland's volcanoes, Browns Island (Motukorea in Māori), where it was first found?


Week 13           view - talk - edit - history

...that fighting chief Hongi Hika also helped write the first Maori-English dictionary?

...that New Zealander Geoff Fisken was the highest scoring Commonwealth ace against the Japanese, or that his Curtiss P-40 Wairarapa Wildcat is being restored?

...that New Zealand has a greater density of liverworts than any other country, due to its cool, wet and temperate climate?

...that Samuel Marsden is believed to have introduced sheep to New Zealand?


Week 14           view - talk - edit - history

...that Pākehā Māori missionary Thomas Kendall was sacked for gun running?

...that Edgar James Kain - known to all as "Cobber" - was the first RAF Ace of World War II ?

...that the All Blacks lost two test matches on the same day in 1949?

...that quartz miners at Bullendale and Reefton in the 1880s were the first users of electricity in New Zealand?


Week 15           view - talk - edit - history

...that megaherbs on the uninhabited New Zealand sub-antarctic islands almost became extinct by overbrowsing by livestock introduced to support shipwrecked sailors?

...that one of the Powelliphanta sp. is found only on a five hectare area northeast of Westport, New Zealand?

...that Mauisaurus was the largest plesiosaur to roam New Zealand waters and that it gets its name from the Māori demigod Māui?

...that it was during the Ngāti Whātua victory at the battle of Te Kai a te Karoro, or Seagull's Feast, that Ngā Puhi became the first Māori iwi to use muskets in combat?


Week 16           view - talk - edit - history

...that rugby union footballer Farah Palmer captained the Black Ferns to three consecutive Women's Rugby World Cup titles?

...that David Lange said of Robert Muldoon's actions during the New Zealand constitutional crisis, 1984: "This Prime Minister outgoing, beaten, has, in the course of one television interview tried to do more damage to the New Zealand economy than any statement ever made"?

...that the Nelson cave spider is New Zealand's largest, and only legally protected, spider?

...that the Beehive's round shape causes pie-slice shaped offices?


Week 17           view - talk - edit - history

...that singer Brooke Fraser is the daughter of former All Black Bernie Fraser?

...that New Zealand rugby union player Mark Hammett won four Super 12 titles with the Crusaders between 1996 and 2003 before being appointed as their assistant coach for 2007?

...that New Zealand rugby union player Billy Stead co-authored The Complete Rugby Footballer while on tour with the All Blacks?

...the New Zealand is the largest part of the sunken continent of Zealandia remaining above sea level, followed by New Caledonia?


Week 18           view - talk - edit - history

...that the Wanganui Branch railway folded due to competition from trams in New Zealand?

...that all 250 of the endangered Black Robin of the Chatham Islands are descended from one female known as "Old Blue"?

...that Minnie Dean is the only woman ever to have been executed in New Zealand?

...that Whare Ra was an esoteric society based in Havelock North with links to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn?


Week 19           view - talk - edit - history

...there are more Māori people of Ngā Puhi descent than there are of any other iwi?

...that there are three different rivers in New Zealand called Waiau River?

...that many of New Zealand's cricket pitches use soil from Kakanui, near Oamaru?

...that cricketer Lee Germon captained the New Zealand cricket team in his very first international?


Week 20           view - talk - edit - history

...that the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame was inaugurated as part of the New Zealand sesquicentenary celebrations in 1990?

...that the Melbourne, Australia, suburb of Seddon was named after New Zealand premier Richard Seddon?

... that the political policies of the McGillicuddy Serious Party including replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with Bonnie Prince Geoffie the Reluctant?

...that the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, which came into force on 1 January 2006, eliminates 90% of all tariffs between New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile?


Week 21           view - talk - edit - history


Week 22           view - talk - edit - history

... that Georgina Beyer was the world's first openly transsexual Member of Parliament?

... that Tongariro National Park was the fourth National Park established in the world?

... that Reefton was the first town in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to receive electricity?

... that the University of Auckland is New Zealand's largest university?


Week 23           view - talk - edit - history

... that the word "taboo" derives from the Polynesian word tapu?

... that the Resource Management Act 1991 was the first statutory planning regime in New Zealand to incorporate the principle of sustainability?

... that Nándor Tánczos was New Zealand's first and only Rastafarian Member of Parliament?

... that Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tail Tale was New Zealand's first feature-length animated film?


Week 24           view - talk - edit - history

... that the wood rose, a parasitic plant with no green leaves, is primarily pollinated by the native New Zealand Lesser Short-tailed bat?

... that Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the longest placename in the world?

... that the native Parapara tree catches birds in its sticky seeds?

... that Houhora Mountain was the first part of New Zealand that the early explorer Kupe saw, but he thought it was a whale, according to Māori legend?


Week 25           view - talk - edit - history

Housetruck under construction

...that housetruckers in New Zealand live in old trucks and school buses (pictured) that have been converted into mobile homes?

... that the name of Whangaroa Harbour comes from the Māori lament "Whaingaroa" or "what a long wait" of a woman whose warrior husband had left for a foray to the south?

... that a feature of the New Zealand forest is the presence of many plants, like kauri, taraire, mangeao, Three Kings vine and pukanui, from genera that otherwise only occur in the tropics and subtropics?

...that researchers believe the monotypic New Zealand genus Oreostylidium represents an extreme example of floral paedomorphosis and should be transferred back to the related Australian genus Stylidium?


Week 26           view - talk - edit - history

...that the main threat to Pisonia brunoniana (pictured) in New Zealand is cutting by people trying to prevent small songbirds from getting trapped by its very sticky seeds?

... that the Kaipara Harbour was named after a hāngi on the Pouto Peninsula, at which the para fern (Ptisana salicina) was served?

... that the Agricultural emissions research levy is commonly described as a "fart tax"?

...that cricketer Dick Motz took one wicket in his last Test match in August 1969, becoming the first New Zealand bowler to take 100 Test wickets?


Week 27           view - talk - edit - history


... that tuatara are unusual in having a pronounced parietal eye and dentition in which two rows of teeth in the upper jaw overlap one row on the lower jaw?

... that beer consumption in 2004 in New Zealand was 16th highest in the world at 77 litres per capita?

...that Pectinaria australis, a marine ice cream cone worm of New Zealand, builds a delicate tube home from sand grains only one grain thick?

...that New Zealand rugby player Andy Dalton suffered an injury which kept him from captaining the All Blacks side which went on to win the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup?


Week 28           view - talk - edit - history

... that multinational GlaxoSmithKline was founded in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand in 1904, under the slogan "Glaxo builds bonny babies"?

Two chocolate fish

... that the chocolate fish is a "species" indigenous to New Zealand?

... that the Six o'clock swill was not abolished in New Zealand until 1967?

...that the Coenocorypha snipes once ranged from New Caledonia and Fiji to New Zealand but are now restricted to New Zealand's outlying islands?

... that Ira Goldstein, an advertisement campaign character for the ASB Bank in New Zealand, supposedly drives a metallic-brown 1979 Princess 2000 HL?


Week 29           view - talk - edit - history

... that rangiora or bushman's friend, a small, bushy tree or tall shrub which has leaves with a furry underside, has been referred to as "Bushman's toilet paper"?

... that the Split Enz song Six Months in a Leaky Boat was "discouraged from airplay" in Britain during the Falklands war by the BBC for reasons of morale?

...that New Zealand historian John Dunmore published a cookbook composed from 18th-century ship's logs, including recipes for stewed rat and albatross?

...that New Zealand Test cricketer Martin Donnelly also played rugby union for England?


Week 30           view - talk - edit - history

... that during the construction of Fairfield Bridge (pictured) a burial cave was found with the heads of several dead Māori people?

... that the Hatepe eruption was the most recent eruption of Lake Taupo, which ejected some 120 cubic kilometres of material, can be reliably dated to 186 CE by meteorological phenomena described by Fan Ye in China and by Herodian in Rome?

... that the Pink and White Terraces (Otukapuarangi in Māori) were considered a natural wonder until they were destroyed by a violent volcanic eruption in 1886?

... that the snow grasses can be several centuries old?


Week 31           view - talk - edit - history

Te Mana

... that at up to 1.4 metres long the North Auckland worm (Spenceriella gigantea) is the longest in New Zealand?

... that HMNZS Te Mana (F111) (pictured) was the first New Zealand warship to visit a Russian port?

...that Garry Mallett, the former President of ACT New Zealand, is an owner-operator of a branch of a Les Mills International fitness studio?

... that New Zealand rower Rob Hamill has also stood as a political candidate, and his brother was a victim of the Khmer Rouge?


Week 32           view - talk - edit - history

... that William Miles Maskell (pictured) was a New Zealandic farmer and entomologist who advocated biological pest control?

... that Barzillai Quaife has been described both as "New Zealand's first public anti-racist" and "Australia's first philosopher"?


Week 33           view - talk - edit - history

... that wildlife biologist Olaus Murie (pictured with his wife) was the first American Fulbright Scholar to study in New Zealand?

... that the obscure mealybug, a pest of vineyards in New Zealand and California, is believed to have been introduced from Australia or South America?


Week 34           view - talk - edit - history

... that a Mere (held by a Māori woman in picture), which was made from jade, could be used to split a man's head open?

...that Johann Myburgh, a South African cricketer playing in New Zealand, broke Graeme Pollock's mark for the fastest first-class double century?

...that Black Grace, an internationally-touring New Zealand contemporary-dance company, melds Maori and Pacific Islander indigenous dance with modern dance and hip hop?


Week 35           view - talk - edit - history

...that the shot tower of the Colonial Ammunition Company is the only surviving tower of its kind in New Zealand?

...that New Zealand cricketer and Test match captain Merv Wallace has been called "the most under-rated cricketer to have worn the silver fern"?


Week 36           view - talk - edit - history

...that the Māori name for the New Zealand Agency for International Development is Nga Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhiti, which means 'the paddles that bring growth from afar'?

...that Te Kopuru once had the largest sawmill in New Zealand?


Week 37           view - talk - edit - history

...that in 1909, New Zealand gifted a new battlecruiser (pictured) to Britain?

...that 7% of electricity in New Zealand is generated by geothermal power?


Week 38           view - talk - edit - history

...that William Bambridge, the father of England Football international Charles Bambridge was a member of the Te Waimate mission, New Zealand who became official photographer to Queen Victoria?

...that the New Zealand Railways Department's experimental RM class Westinghouse railcar was the first railcar to enter revenue service in New Zealand?


Week 39           view - talk - edit - history

...that after the New Zealand Railways Department's RM class Thomas Transmission railcar was written off in 1925, the railcar's body was used as a private dwelling?

...that the Kaimai Tunnel running through the Kaimai Ranges is the longest rail tunnel in New Zealand?


Week 40           view - talk - edit - history

...that the SS Tararua sank off the Catlins in 1881, in New Zealand's worst civilian shipping disaster?

...that John William Hansen, a member of International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct Commission, is a New Zealand High Court justice?


Week 41           view - talk - edit - history

...that netball in New Zealand is the most popular women's sport in the country, led by its high-profile national team, the Silver Ferns?

...that New Zealand rugby union footballer Ali Williams did not start playing the game until he was 17 years old, but had earned three international caps before he was 22?


Week 42           view - talk - edit - history

...that botanist Thomas Frederic Cheeseman (pictured) had a wide range of interests including Māori ethnology?

...that there was once an estuarine valley with a rich abundance of New Zealand flounders near Waipatiki Beach, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, but it became a stream system after an earthquake in 1931?

...that Frank Rennie joined the New Zealand Army at age 16, to prove to himself 20 months in hospital hadn't crippled him, and went on to become Colonel?


Week 43           view - talk - edit - history

...that the Pompallier Mission is New Zealand's oldest industrial building and printed some of the earliest texts in Māori?

...that after HMNZS Canterbury was decommissioned by the Royal New Zealand Navy, the frigate was sold to a trust for a symbolic NZ$1 and then scuttled in the Bay of Islands by a former crewmember?


Week 44           view - talk - edit - history

Dargaville gum-digger statue

...that nineteenth century New Zealand gum-diggers retrieved 5,000 tons of kauri resin a year for the varnish trade, and that the gum was Auckland's main export?

...that New Zealand rugby union footballer Jimmy Hunter's 44 tries on the 1905 All Blacks tour is a record that is unlikely to ever to be surpassed?


Week 45           view - talk - edit - history

...that Rev William Cotton (pictured), vicar of Frodsham, Cheshire, introduced the skills of beekeeping to New Zealand in the 1840s?

...that the New Zealand Journal of Forestry was first published in 1925 with a title in Māori?


Week 46           view - talk - edit - history

...that the New Zealand land gastropod Schizoglossa novoseelandica (pictured) is predatory and also cannibalistic?

...that Outhwaite Park in Auckland is named after early settlers, the Outhwaite family?

...that The Most Reverend Whakahuihui Vercoe was the first Bishop of Aotearoa to be elected by its Maori congregation, the first Maori to become Archbishop of New Zealand, and the first Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit?


Week 47           view - talk - edit - history

Anglican Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland

...that around two thirds of New Zealanders claim adherence to a religion, but not the leaders of both main political parties?

...that Albert F. A. L. Jones, awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1987 for his services to astronomy, is an amateur astronomer in New Zealand?


Week 48           view - talk - edit - history

...that Willie Apiata of the Special Air Service of New Zealand was the first ever recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand?

...that Seacliff Lunatic Asylum (pictured) was plagued by landslips, a fatal fire in a locked psychiatric ward and allegations of abuse before reverting to a forest reserve?


Week 49           view - talk - edit - history

Patrick Marshall

... that New Zealand geologist Patrick Marshall (pictured) was the first who used the term "andesite line"?

...that the New Zealand Railways Department dumped tank locomotives of the WB class in the Mokihinui River to protect against erosion beside the route of the Seddonville Branch line?

...that New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart uses an obsolete camera and photographic paper that no longer exists?


Week 50           view - talk - edit - history


Week 51           view - talk - edit - history


Week 52           view - talk - edit - history

Haast eagle attacking moa

...that the extinct Haast eagle was the world’s largest bird of prey of the last five million years?

...that New Zealand’s annual science fiction awards are named after former prime minister Sir Julius Vogel?

...the Mahuika crater off New Zealand’s North Island is the result of a bolide impact, and could have resulted in a tsunami during the 15th century?

..that Tony Wilding, New Zealand’s only Wimbledon men’s tennis champion, was killed during World War I?