Biggest of the big

The biggest tree in the world , by volume, is the General Sherman tree. This tree is a Giant Sequoia tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum) located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park.

The tree has an estimated bole volume of 1,487 cubic metres (52,513 cu ft), and an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years.

Grizzly Giant; a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park.

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A long as its black.

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the big cats found in Africa, the Middle East  and some parts of Asia.

The South American, equivalent is the Jaguar (Panthera onca), slightly heavier build than the Leopard.

Both the Leopard and the Jaguar have melanistic  (black pigmented) individuals, both called black panthers.

Thus a black panther can be a black leopard or a black jaguar.

Leopard (Panthera pardus).

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What of the bow?

What of the bow?

The bow was made in England:

 Of true wood, of yew-wood,

The wood of English bows;

 So men who are free

Love the old yew-tree

And the land where the yew-tree grows.


The English (or Welsh) longbow gained renown as a formidable weapon of war in spite of the fact that the majority of archers were not in any formal or standing army.

The success of the long bow is partly due to a number of laws that at various times:

  • Made it a crime for any man to not own a bow and arrows
  • Required bow practice on any holiday (eg Sunday)
  • Restricted sport (eg football) not involving bow and arrow
  • Made it an offense to not supply any son older than 7 years old with a bow and arrows and teaching them to use it.
Not an English Longbow.

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Largest Egg.

The largest eggs in the world are those of the ostrich. An ostrich egg is the equivalent of around 20-24 chicken eggs.

The largest egg relative to the body size of the bird that lays it is that of the kiwi. The kiwi’s egg is six times the expected size for an egg of a bird of that size. Because of the size of the egg, a clutch consists of a single egg.


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About a mouth full

There are some pretty short names, and then there are some pretty long names.

The longest official single word place name is “Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu”.

It is the name of a hill on the North Island of New Zealand and in Maori.

Notice Board at the living village in Rotorua.

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If they can we can.

The inspiration for bungee jumping comes from an ancient ritual practiced on Pentecost Island of Vanuatu in the Pacific. Jumpers (originally only woman, now only men) jump of high platforms with forrest vines tied to their ankles.

In the 1970s a group of thrill seekers attached to Oxford University; the  Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club made a number of experimental jumps.

The Dangerous Sports Club’s efforts inspired New Zealanders AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch and they started to develop new bungy cords with the assistance of scientists from the University of Auckland.

Hackett became the first commercial opperator and promoted the bungy jump (the NZ spelling) by making a number of jumps in Europe in the 1980s including a Jump in the Eiffel tower (for which he got arrested).

Since then millions around the world experiences the thrill rushing towards the ground at free fall speeds.

Bungy in Taupo

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Look how much I’ve got.

There are more native plant species on table mountain than in the whole of the United Kingdom.

Table mountain is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom or Floristic Region.  It is the smallest of the six such natural areas in the world, and the only one contained within the borders of a single country.

Eight pockets of lands combined forms a World Heritage Site , a serial site called the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas. This site comprises around 0.5% of the surface area of the African continent, but is home to nearly 20% of its flora.

Table Mountain.

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One (wo)man one vote.

In 1893, New Zealand became the first modern country to introduce universal suffrage (both men and women can vote). The most prominent member of the woman’s’ suffrage movement was Kate Sheppard.

To commemorate 121 years of universal suffrage, pedestrian  crossings around parliament sports a walking image depicting Kate Sheppard rather than the traditional walking man.



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I have a bad feeling …

The location for the Dimholt road (leading to the Paths of the Dead) in the Lord of the Rings movie; the return of the king, was the Putangirua Pinnacles in the Wairarapa.

The pinnacles is an example of Badlands, a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rock have been extensively eroded by wind and water.

Badlands apparently got its name from the fact that is was difficult to cross, i.e. bad land to travel across.

Putangirua Pinnacles
Putangirua Pinnacles

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Railroad men.

Did you know; the first model trains running on extendable tracks were manufactured by German toymaker Märklin in 1891 (who at the time mainly manufactured doll house accessories.)

Needless to say, the target market for model trains is substantially larger than that for doll house accessories.

Its not a toy its a hobby.

N scale model railway



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