New Zealand: Officially the World’s best country!
We mentioned earlier this week how New Zealand has been labelled the world’s best country by The Telegraph in its annual Travel Awards.
The decision to award the title to New Zealand came after more than 90,000 people voted for their favourite travel companies and destinations in the awards.
The Telegraph claims its awards represent the results of the widest-ranging travel survey of its kind ever undertaken – which makes the award all the more prestigious.
It isn’t, however, surprising. At least, not to us. We’ve long known just what a wonderful place the land of the long white cloud is and it’s lovely to see that recognised by such a reputable organ as the Telegraph.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key said the result was “a great accolade” and with people surely now rushing to book New Zealand holidays, many people have been looking to explain just why New Zealand has been deemed the best country in the world.
Following the award New Zealand has been celebrating, and Kiwi news agency Stuff has come up with a list of ten reasons which it thinks explains the award – some daft, some serious!
1 Kiwis are pioneers
New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893, marking it out as a progressive nation.
Since then it’s continued in the same vein and was the first country to introduce an eight hour working day.
2 Its wildlife is diverse – but not deadly
Aotorea isn’t home to snakes, crocodiles, scorpions, lions, bears or any other deadly animals – although there may be a few sharks lurking around it.
Nonetheless, stay on dry land and you’ll be safe.
3 The friendliest nation on earth
Famously friendly, New Zealanders have been voted among the most welcoming people on earth many times.
Spend time travelling the country and you’ll struggle to pass a stop-go sign at road works without waving to the man with the stop and go sign.
4 The best chocolate milk in the world
In the USA, and even the UK nowadays, Black Friday sales have caused riots.
But the only shopping based disturbance you’re ever likely to see in New Zealand will be when news gets out of a shop which has had a delivery of Lewis Road Creamery’s chocolate milk.
The stuff sells out immediately when put on the shelves of any shop and people will queue out the door of supermarkets to buy it. With people re-selling it on the Kiwi equivalent to eBay, some stores have even introduced controls to stop people bulk buying!
5 Richie McCaw
Stuff claimed that being home to Richie McCaw makes it one of the best countries in the world.
It may be a ridiculous claim, but being the home of arguably the best rugby player in the world can’t be a bad thing.
6 You’re never more than an hour from the sea
New Zealand is a great place to be if you’re a beach lover, as you’re never more than 128km from the sea no matter where you are in the country.
So even if you’re atop the Southern Alps you can be at a beach in double quick time.
And as a bonus, any drive to the beach is likely to see you get a stunning view of some amazing scenery.
7 New Zealand is nuclear free
New Zealand’s attitude towards war is summed up by the irony of the logo for its air force – which is a kiwi, a flightless bird.
Stuff says New Zealand’s reputation as a laid back place, with no nuclear weapons, and a non-aggressive attitude to world politics, makes it one of the world’s best countries.
8 It’s home to Hobbits
If you’re a JRR Tolkien fan and like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings then New Zealand is the place to visit.
Many of the scenes in Peter Jackson’s big screen adaptations of the books were shot on New Zealand and you can enjoy the stunning scenes in the flesh by visiting.
9 It has a national wizard
New Zealand is one of very few countries to have a national wizard, after then Prime Minister, Mike Moore, appointed one in 1990.
Ian Brackenbury Channell was given the honour after serving a long apprenticeship as the Wizard of Christchurch. What other country would have a head wizard? The only country we can think of that might have one is Wales, which has an official council of Druids.
Stuff’s final reason is actually lots of little reasons grouped under one heading.
The term Kiwiana is one which describes more or less any item which is unique to New Zealand or originated in the country, so it covers pineapple lumps (chocolate covered pineapple sweets), Jandals (the kiwi word for flip-flops) pavolva and more.