It might only have a population of under 5 million people and be a long-haul plane ride away from pretty much everywhere except Australia and Antarctica, but there’s no denying that New Zealanders are a very inventive people. Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re a relatively isolated couple of islands or their pioneering spirit in action, but they definitely punch above their weight when it comes to inventing, and embracing, novel leisure ideas.
Undoubtedly, one of their most famous of these has been bungee jumping. It was invented by a Kiwi entrepreneur called AJ Hackett who had allegedly been inspired by the stories of daring leaps made on Pentecost Island. There, the rather more hardy inhabitants use vines instead of the more forgiving elastic bands trusted by the hundreds of thousands of daredevil tourists who take the plunge each year.
Zorbing is a more sedate kind of invention altogether, as well as being a perennial favorite activity as part of bachelor parties and the like. For those who have never seen it before, it involves climbing inside a giant plastic ball with a cushioned interior and then propelling yourself down a slope, turning head over heels all the way. Its inventors were brothers Andre and David Akers from Rotorua, a town in a particularly hilly part of the North Island – and that’s probably why they came up with such a gravity-reliant activity.
A very different force that’s also in very good supply in New Zealand – the wind – is the literal driving force behind the Blokart which was invented by Paul Beckett. Beckett had seen sand-yachts in action and thought that the principle would be perfect for a smaller, more practical kind of vehicle. Starting by making miniature toy models, gradually the prototype grew in dimensions until the optimum size was created. The finished article is big enough to carry an adult on a range of surfaces including asphalt, sand and even ice but compact enough to be packed away and transported in a suitcase.
Of course, none of these inventions would get very far without adventurous New Zealanders being ready to adopt them. Luckily, they’re as inquisitive as they are inventive. For further evidence of this, you only have to look at other contemporary leisure activities that they’ve quickly latched onto. Prime examples are the online casinos that have become exceedingly popular in the country. This has led to a proliferation of sites and this great article from bonus.net.nz on no deposit bonus casinos gives a good idea of the number available as well as the incentives that they offer to new players. So, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve caught on the way that they have.
As an island nation, it’s also unsurprising that there have been some amazing maritime inventions too, with Alan Gibbs’ Aquada leading the way. It’s the ultimate convertible – an open-topped car that becomes a powerful speedboat at the touch of a button.
But there are countless more examples of New Zealand ingenuity on top of these and, as the world becomes an even smaller place, no doubt we can expect to see many more emerging from “The Land of the Long White Cloud”.