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Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category


It’s been quite a while since my last post. I’ve had a wonderful holiday. On Christmas Eve I went kite flying on the rolling hills. I spent Christmas with the family of some staff here. Then, the day after Christmas I bought a comfy chair for my room. The day after Christmas is called ‘Boxing Day’ and is like ‘Black Friday’ in the US. I saved $700 on my chair. That evening I went to a demolition car derby with some friends. Then on the 30th went to Wellington on a day trip. Then for New Years I went camping near New Plymouth on the west coast. Then I went up to Tauranga near the north coast for a birthday part for a family member of some friends. I’ve posted some pictures of these events on my flickr page. Click the title of this blog and then the more pictures link on the right. Or click here. To see an interactive map of the places I’ve been thus far in New Zealand, click here.

Or, just look at this picture:

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 10.49.17 PM

It’s been an amazing two weeks… Today I started planning for the school year. I hope to get 4 hours in each day until school starts to make sure I’m ready. I have a car now as well. And guess what? It’s a manual transmission! I never thought I’d ever do it, but I bought a manual, and I’m getting pretty good at it. 🙂

Now, on to the trivia!

1. Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

pile-of-new-zealand-money-keyimagery_29683_350x350

2. Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.

new-zealand-2006-circulating-coins

3. Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up. For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.

4. There is a national 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) that’s applicable to everything. However, the price you see on an item has the tax already included, so when it says $19.99 you give them a $20 dollar note and don’t even have to get the penny back to weigh you down.

5. Tipping is not expected in New Zealand, but is not unwelcome. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

6. The monetary unit is the New Zealand dollar which is equal to 100 New Zealand cents. Currently the New Zealand dollar has a lower value than the US dollar. Currently, one New Zealand dollar is 0.84 US dollars. The exchange rate fluctuates.

7. New Zealand is a plastic nation – almost all personal financial transactions are made with a card – credit or otherwise. Most shops offer EFTPOS and cash is seen less and less. It is possible that New Zealand was the first nation to offer this system of payment. The majority of taxis now allow you to pay without cash through this system.

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I know the last trivia post I did was only half finished, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I’ll get back to the history of New Zealand a bit later. I thought since I’ve just arrived in the country, the appropriate trivia topic would be geography. The little town where I’ll be living is in a pretty flat area as most of the country is not flat, so it will be pretty interesting to go and travel around to see the less flat areas when I get a chance.

  1. New Zealand was the last major landmass to be populated (with the exception of the polar regions).
  2. New Zealand is 1600 kilometres north to south with an area of 268,000 sq km (103,483 sq mi). It comprises two major islands: the North Island (115,000 sq km) and the South Island (151,000 sq km), and a number of small islands.
  3. This country is the size of Colorado or the UK and would fit into the Caspian or Baltic Seas.
  4. New Zealand has 6000 kilometers (3728 mi) of coast line and nowhere is more than 120km (175 mi)  from the coast.
  5. New Zealand is actually some 1,609 km (1000 miles) from Australia.
  6. In the US, you can take several roads to get out of just about any town, no matter how small. Here, every place has basically two ways to go if you are trying to get to the next city.
  7. Population: 4,115,771
  8. The city of New York has twice as many people as the whole of NZ.
  9. Total area: 268,680 sq km (103,737 sq mi)
  10. Frying Pan Lake, in the north island, is the world’s largest hot water spring.

    Frying Pan Lake

  11. Curio Bay in Southland has one of the world’s largest petrified forests.

    Curio Bay Petrified Forest partially submerged in Pacific

  12. Lake Taupo, the big lake in the middle of the North Island, is the worlds largest volcanic crater.

    Lake Taupo

  13. The only place in the world where two different sea levels can be seen at the same time is at French Pass, on the northern side of the south island.

    French Pass

  14.  Each year New Zealand has about 100 to 150 quakes that are big enough to be felt.
  15. If you live in Gisborne, you are living in the first city to see the light of a new day.

    Gisborne first to see dawn

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It’s that time again, for another installment of Trivia New Zealand! I will be breaking the topic of history into a few posts because there is quite a bit of information. regarding my Visa, my application arrived at the New Zealand Embassy this morning and I will hopefully hear back from them late next week.

So, here are some historical points about the youngest country on earth:

  1. The indigenous people of New Zealand are called the Māori people and are of Polynesian decent. Today they make up about 15% of the total population of 4 million.
  2. Recent work in archaeology, language studies, and anthropology has broadened understanding of Māori settlement by canoe, pointing to a history of about 700 years beginning in 1300 where peoples arrived from the Cook Islands. However,  some believe New Zealand was settled around 800 AD.
  3. Māori cultural creation myths are similar to those of Egyptians where there is separation of two parent beings known as the earth and the sky in order for there to be room for light. In Genesis 1:6-8 the Bible discusses a separation of the waters with a space in between. Māori myth discusses how woman is shaped from elements of the earth. This is also similar to the Biblical account where instead man is formed from the earth and woman is formed from Adam’s rib. Personally I believe the reason why many creation myths have parallels to the Bible is because of the truth and originality found in the Biblical passages.
  4. A legend of origin says that Maui was fishing in his canoe which became the South Island where his anchor stone was the small island at the bottom of the country. He threw his grandmothers jawbone into the sea as a hook and pulled out a giant fish which remains as the North Island.
  5. In many Māori traditions Kupe was the first Polynesian to discover New Zealand. He chased a great octopus across the ocean in his canoe, and finally killed it at Cook straight between the two islands. He then went on to explore the islands.
  6. There was speculation that a terra australis incognita (unknown southern land) existed, but European settlers in the Pacific remained well north of New Zealand before the mid 1600’s
  7. In 1642, Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand on a Dutch business voyage to find a southern route to Chile. He left after several of his crew were killed by the Māori. Plans were made to return again in 1643 but the Dutch never followed up on those plans.
  8. The British Captain Cook sighted New Zealand in 1769 and was first to map the entire coastline and to debunk the theory of an undiscovered great continent in the South seas.
  9. These and other explorers all met with violence in New Zealand. This convinced many Europeans that New Zealand was a dangerous place. From the 1790s onward though, sealing and whaling gangs forged practical commercial interactions with the Māori.

Until next time, Have a wonderful Sabbath and new week!

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So, I realize that I initially said I was going to post about once a month. However, this may change to more frequent posts, especially during my first couple of months in the country. I hope this does not make you feel overwhelmed or bored.

I’ve been thinking of ways to implement an educational aspect into my blog, as most people don’t know very much about New Zealand. Thus the ‘Trivia New Zealand’ title. Each Trivia installment will cover a different topic. Obviously, I will eventually run out of topics and the trivia will have to end, so I’d like to spread these out over a bit of time. I have several ideas for topics, but please do comment and ask for something in particular if you want! I love new ideas.

So, today’s trivia topic is: Weather! Enjoy…

  1. In New Zealand, summer is December – February
  2. Winter is June – August
  3. The average maximum temperature is 20-30 ºC/ 68-86 ºF
  4. The average minimum temperature is 10-15-ºC/ 50-60º F.
  5. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, summer and winter temperatures in most NZ locations differ by less than 10 ºC.
  6. New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly. The locals joke about having four seasons in one day.
  7. Wellington, the country’s capital, gets more wind that the ‘windy city’ of Chicago!
  8. New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution. This and the country’s proximity to the ozone hole over Antarctica makes UV rays very strong.
  9. New Zealand receives over 2000 hours of sunshine a year
  10. New Zealand gets more rainfall during the winter in the north, and more rainfall during the summer in the south.
  11. On Average, New Zealand receives about 24-63 inches of rain annually, with some mountainous coastal areas receiving around 400 inches per year!
  12. All this rain makes New Zealand an ideal place for farming and agriculture.
  13. Snow can appear from June – October with most falling in the mountains. Some inland areas in the south receive heavier snow as well.
  14. Snow rarely falls in the coastal areas, with the exception of the South Island’s east coast. See Dunedin on the map.
  15. New Zealand has every climate in the world. The following pictures give a taste to the diverse climates found there. Click each picture to enlarge.

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