New Zealand Has Some Top Achievements You Probably Didn’t Know About!
Despite its small size, New Zealand is pretty well-known around the world for its unbeatable rugby team, kiwi slang, breathtaking scenery and Lord of the Rings franchise, among other things (yes, we have heard that sheep joke). We’re pretty proud of our small but diverse nation and we reckon we’ve definitely earned our place in the ranks of best countries in the world. The list doesn’t stop there. Did you know about these amazing Kiwi achievements ?
We may be small, but we’re mighty in terms of success and achievements. With some world-class firsts making their way out of our small island nation, we think it’s time to show the world why size doesn’t always matter.
On top of the world
New Zealand may be geographically situated at the bottom of the world, having the Southernmost Capital city in the world, but it was one of our citizens that was the first to conquer the highest and toughest peak in the world. On the 29 May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary, along with his Nepalese companion Tenzing Norgay, who was a mere step behind, was the first climber confirmed to have ever reached the summit of the notoriously difficult Mount Everest.
His climb was a huge achievement, not only for mountaineers and climbers around the world but for New Zealand as well. This helped put New Zealand firmly on the map in terms of adventure and exploration. Indeed, Hillary went on to conquer multiple other peaks in the Himalayas. He became the first man to have stood at the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest. His achievements have spawned generations of explorers and enthusiasts and continue to inspire kiwis even today!
We like to jump off things
New Zealand has become the adventure capital of the world. Whether your thing is white water rafting, skydiving, hiking, exploring glaciers, or bungee jumping, New Zealand has you covered. Did you know that the first commercial public bungee jumping business was created by AJ Hackett, in Queenstown, NZ! In fact, his ventures into bungee jumping were so successful that AJ Hackett is credited with not only kickstarting the extreme sport of bungee jumping around the world but also with making New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry into what it is today.
AJ Hackett took his inspiration from the Vanuatu land diving ritual. Using some careful calculations, Hackett and a fellow adventure enthusiast Chris Sigglekow designed the first super-stretchy bungee cord in the mid-80’s. After a few adjustments and some seriously big stunts that resulted in him being arrested in France for an illegal jump off the Eiffel Tower in 1986, he catapulted the sport onto the international stage. hus, the adventure sport of bungee jumping was born.
This popular activity can be found around the world for the adventurous individual who wants a bit of a thrill. So, thanks yet again New Zealand!
Plastic surgery is another Kiwi invention
Plastic surgery seems like such an American thing, given how it’s plastered all over the American reality tv shows that have captured the world. Los Angeles has become one of the main centres for plastic surgery in the USA alongside South Korea. It’s arguably a billion dollar industry that is constantly on the rise. Not to mention, Thailand morphing into a plastic surgery lovers paradise. What many don’t know is that plastic surgery was originally pioneered by none other than Harrod Gillies – a Kiwi!
Harold Gillies is widely considered the father of modern plastic surgery. Gillies developed many plastic surgery techniques that he used to treat soldiers of WWI who had received extensive facial injuries during combat. New Zealand born and London based, Gillies was introduced to the early concept of skin grafts in France. Gillies then returned to London where he eventually established a facial injury hospital in London in 1917. More than 11,000 operations were performed on men (mostly soldiers) who had been injured in the fighting.
Gillies was also the first surgeon to carry out sex reassignment surgery from female to male in 1946 and male to female in 1951. He was ahead of his field and his techniques became the standard for the next 40 years.
Kiwi slang is an art form in itself
So, Kiwis are pretty famous for the way we talk. Foreigners love our accents, but unless you’re from New Zealand, some of our slang can be pretty darn confusing. Team that up with our quick way of speaking and our accent, and it’s not surprising that we’re met with blank stares when we ask where the closest dairy (corner store) is or who stole our jandals (flip-flops).
Some quick Kiwi slang
To get you up to date on some of our colloquialisms, here’s a quick list of our top Kiwi slang! Nail these and you’ll be talking like a Kiwi before you know it.
“Yeah, nah” – Thanks but no thanks. Or, something we’d rather not do. “Can you help me clean the pool?”, “Yeah, nah I’d rather not aye”
“Sus” – When someone or something looks a bit suspect. “That ride looks a bit sus. Are you sure it’s safe?”
“She’ll be right” – Something will (probably) be okay. “Did you burn the food?” “Nah, she’ll be right”
“Jandals” – Flip flops/sandals! “Did you steal my jandals again, oi?” Also, note, any Kiwi worth their salt will not call jandals ‘thongs’. It just isn’t done in NZ.
“Chilly bin” – A food cooler or cooler bin. “Where’s the chilly bin? I want a drink!”
“Scull” – Used to encourage someone to drink their drink faster! “Scull, scull, scull!” is a chant you’ll hear often at a party.
“Togs” – Swimwear, bikinis, swimmers, bathing costumes, “togs” covers them all! “Oi, grab your togs and meet us at the swimming hole.”
“Squizz” – This means taking a look! “Hey, can I have a quick squizz at what you put for question 5 before the teacher comes back?”
This list barely scratches the surface of Kiwi slang. If you want a more comprehensive guide take a look here! We think it’s safe to say that Kiwi slang is pretty unique.
Our politics are pretty damn awesome
Did we happen to mention that New Zealand was the first self-governing nation in the world to give women the right to vote? Yea, this is something we’re all pretty proud of. All the way back in 1893, New Zealand made history and began to close the equality gap just a little bit. In fact, New Zealand has another world first in world politics. New Zealand is the only country in the world where all of the highest government positions have been held simultaneously by woman! In 2006, the positions of the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice and the Queen were all female!
And let’s not get started on Jacinda Ardern! She’s a force to be reckoned with,, and she’s taking the political world by storm. We happen to adore her, and the fact that she’s not afraid to stand up to larger nations, sticking to what she believes is best for New Zealand and the world. Pushing the importance of climate change and the need for action now, Jacinda is doing everything she can to preserve the beautiful country we live in, and winning hearts while she does it.
The fact that she can do all of this while being a new mother at the same time? Absolute boss woman. She’s proving to the world that you can be a world leader, a woman and a parent all at the same time and absolutely nail it. No need for another NZ election, we’ll keep Jacinda Ardern forever please.
Sport is in our blood
It wouldn’t be an article about New Zealand if we didn’t at least mention rugby! We may be a small country, and even tinier when you consider that our population sits at a meagre 4.5 million or so. But oh man do we dominate in rugby union! It isn’t just a game or a hobby for us. Rugby is in our blood and has been for generations. We’re born and bred into it from the time we can barely carry a rugby ball, through school and all the way into the world class leagues. Rugby is a religion in New Zealand and we aren’t ashamed to admit it.
The All Blacks are one of our pride and joys and good luck to anyone who tries to argue that their home team is better. We will shout you down (Kiwi slang for argue) about that, loudly if need be. We’re passionate, supportive and always keen to watch our boys in black show the world their athletic superiority and prowess.
New Zealand is small but mighty
We may be small in stature, but we’re big on wow factor! What we lack in size, we make up for in enthusiasm, kindness, openness and uniqueness. We love to show the world that we can not only keep up but hold our own when it comes to amazing contributions and just bloody awesome things in general.
We’re proud of our crazy weather, beautiful landscapes, amazing citizens, forward-thinking policies and more than capable leaders. Despite being regularly forgotten on world maps we have no fear that the world will ever forget about New Zealand. Our people and nation make a mark that cannot be missed. There are many celebrities and famous thinkers who are from New Zealand who have proven that you don’t have to be from a massive country to make a big impact. Don’t believe us? Go ask Russell Crowe, Sam Neill, Karl Urban, Lucy Lawless, Peter Jackson or Lorde!
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