#1. The Waitomo caves in the King Country of New Zealand attract many thousands of tourists each year. Apart from the rock formations, what brings people to the caves?
Waitomo is not the only place in New Zealand where you can see glow-worms, the larvae of the fungus gnat Arachnocampa luminosa. Endemic to Aotearoa, they also live in many other caves, sheltered areas of forest and hidden grottoes, too. The larval stage lasts 6-12 months during which it spins a nest of silk and hangs as many as 70 sticky threads from it, each some 30-40 cm (12-15 inches) long and coated with a poisonous, sticky mucus. The luminescence of the larvae attracts insects which become entangled in the snares. Hungry larvae glow more brightly than those which have just eaten!
#2. Tirau a town in the Waikato region is famous for what kind of artwork?
Tirau is in the North Island of New Zealand, 50 kilometres southeast of Hamilton and when you enter the town you can see giant sheep, cows, kiwi and people, all fashioned from corrugated iron sheeting. These novelties have become so popular that they are now exported worldwide.
#3. Which famous woman, daughter of a king, led the opposition of Tainui Maori against the government's conscription policy, prior to World War I?
Princess Te Puea Herangi was born at Whatiwhatihoe on 9 November 1883 and chosen by her elders to be given special knowledge by her tribe, Tainui. Holding to King Tawhiao’s directive forbidding Waikato tribes to take up arms after making peace with the Crown in 1881, she stood firm with the men who did not wish to kill others. Nevertheless, the government, in a particularly petty act, forcibly conscripted only from Waikato.
#4. The world's only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross can be found at Taiaroa Head, a short drive from which New Zealand city?
The Royal Albatross measures around about 115 cm (45 in) from beak to tail, weighs 6.2-8.2 kg (14-18 lb) and has a wingspan of between 270-305 cm (106-120 in). A famous member of this species, ‘Grandma’ was the subject of a documentary by naturalist David Attenborough, and at 62 years of age Grandma was the oldest recorded albatross in the world. The current world record for oldest bird is now held by ‘Wisdom’, a 63 year-old Laysan Albatross from the Midway Atoll island in Hawaii.
#5. Which tree is known as the 'New Zealand Christmas Tree'?
Metrosideros excelsa is a hardy, coastal evergreen of the myrtle family and produces brilliant scarlet flowers in summer, around Christmas time. It can live for 1,000 years and survives even on rocky cliffs lashed by the sea and is beloved for its strength and beauty. Kahikatea is the white pine; Totara is a long-lived podocarp often growing to over 40m in height. Kauri, part of the ancient Araucariaceae family of conifers, can live to the grand old age of 4,000 years.
#6. New Zealanders are justly proud of their rugby team, the All Blacks, but who or what are the Black Caps?
The Black Caps only received that nickname in 1998, although the New Zealand national cricket team played their first Test match in 1930 against England, NZ becoming the fifth country to take up Test cricket. In 1955-56, they won their first Test against the West Indies at Eden Park in Auckland
#7. On 4th September 2010, the government declared a state of emergency in one of New Zealand's major cities, Christchurch, why?
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated the city centre and many of the suburbs also wrecked the 146 year old Christchurch Cathedral, made thousands of homes uninhabitable and caused widespread terror. The death toll stood at 185, 110 of them caused by the collapse of the Canterbury Television building and Pyne Gould Corporation. Aftershocks continued to cause damage and liquefaction of the ground has made rebuilding impossible in many areas. The city is still recovering.
#8. Although the Wright Brothers flew their aircraft in December 1903, a New Zealander had constructed and flown his own plane nine months before that. What was his name?
Richard Pearse, a poor farmer with few financial resources, flew his homemade plane on 31 March 1903. He had begun to fly in 1901, but his first plane, due to lack of engine power had to be redesigned to incorporate double-ended cylinders with two pistons each. Living in a remote rural area and at the end of the world, he had little access to the engineering expertise and equipment available to other flight pioneers. Before several witnesses, all of whom swore affidavits, (but no one official to document the flight) Pearse flew several hundred metres, achieving the first ever, sustained flight.
#9. Albert Einstein called him "A second Newton, the man who tunnelled into the very material of God". Who was this man who became known as, 'The Father of Nuclear Physics?'
Awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908, “for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances,” Ernest Rutherford came from a simple background. A farmer’s son born in Brightwater, New Zealand in 1871, he showed incredible brilliance from the first and his list of scientific achievements are truly breathtaking. Much of modern science is based on many of his findings.
#10. In which city will you find The Cardboard Cathedral?
The cathedral, opened in August 2013 was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. In A-frame style, it stands 24 metres (79 ft) high and incorporates 96 cardboard tubes of 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) set over 6 metre (20 ft) containers and is covered by poly-carbon roof. The tubes are reinforced and coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants with gaps between so light can filter through. It is a beautiful structure and well worth visiting, as is the Container City erected by Christchurch’s businesses so they could continue offering goods and services to residents, after the earthquake.
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