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Flavour of New Zealand

NZ popular culture 1960 onward

Funky nz statistics

Excerpts from Strange Facts & True about New Zealand should be seen as having validity as of its publishing date of 1981.

Popular Year

During 1971 there were more marriages solemnized than in any other year; 27,199 couples were married. 1

Longest Placename

In the southern Hawke’s Bay district of the North Island, about 14 km from Porangahau, is a hill 300 m high which bears the longest placename now in use in the world. The unofficial version has 85 letters; Taumatawhakatangihangakaoauauotamatea (turipukakapikimaungahoronuku) pokaiwhenuakitanatahu and means: “the brow of the hill where Tamatea, the man with the big knees who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as Traveler, played on his flute to his loved one”. The official version does not include the letters in parenthesis, and thus has only 57 letters. For obvious reasons, the name is usually shortened to Taumata. 1

Coal Shoveling

Robert Taylor of Greymouth broke the world record for filling a 508kg hopper with coal on 5 January 1980. His time, set at Westport, was 37 secs. 1

Earliest Wapiti

Wapiti, or Canadian deer (Cervus canadensis) were first introduced to New Zealand by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. These wapiti multiplied and spread over a wide area. Nowhere else in the southern hemisphere do wapiti live in the wild state. Moreover, this New Zealand herd interbreeds with red deer to produce a unique hybrid, which is surprisingly fertile. 1

1  Strange Facts & True about New Zealand by Patricia Chapman