Despite boasting a population and GDP comparable to many large American companies they somehow manage to field a remarkable number of fairly competitive teams in International sport, and support them with all the zealotry one would expect given that most of the citizens have a relative or two on the team.
Somewhere near 80% of the plants and animals found in New Zealand are found nowhere else in the world.
New Zealand is a continental shelf of its own known as Zealandia that is 93% submerged under the pacific ocean.
There are almost nine times as many sheep as humans in New Zealand.
Important to note for travelers
New Zealanders Drive on the left and use the Dollar although more and more it is becoming a cashless nation relying primarily on credit and debit cards.
Although the signage and place names are generally written in some kind of Maori/English hybrid, essentially no one speaks Maori.
Kiwis, although named after and adorable local bird, are fairly hostile toward being called Aussies. Both at home and abroad.
Things that should not be missed
Piracy in Paihia
I spent most of my time working on publishing this trilogy in the tiny hamlet of Waipu, staying at the Clansman (Which to North Americans has a totally different connotation than to kiwis). The owners are absolutely wonderful people who treated me like a member of the family and tolerated my inebriated sarcasm quite admirably. The rest of the north island is a maze of needlessly winding roads, one lane bridges with blind approaches, and a resolute dedication to not making sense, however it is unbelievably gorgeous and worth the risk and frustration to drive around.
Probably the most odd thing about New Zealand is that they still have video rental stores and VHS available, I blame this weird throwback to the early 90’s on the fact that they rank among the absolute worst countries in the world for internet access. The internet is incredibly slow, unreliable, and often has bandwidth caps so low as to render the first two problems meaningless.