"New" Zealand

You’ve got your old Mexico, you’ve got your New Mexico. You’ve got your old Jersey, you’ve got your New Jersey.
So what’s up with “New” Zealand? Where’s old Zealand?

The Netherlands.

It’s an island off the coast of Denmark.

New Zealand was discovered by the Dutch sailor Abel Tasman (the namesake of Tasmania). Why he chose to name it after a Danish island, I’m not sure.

Nope, APB is right. It is a province in The Netherlands, called ‘Zeeland’, which translates to sea-land. Combining those gives you Zealand.

According to brittanica.com, ZeAland is off the coast of Denmark. ZeEland, as APB says, is in the Netherlands. I got the right spelling, but the wrong origin for New Zealand’s name.

Don’t tell the Danes as they believe that Zealand is the heartland of their country, where the majority of the population lives and the capital can be found.

A footnote: On the voyage during which he found NZ, Tasman sailed completely around Australia without seeing it once. How he missed it, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t say a whole lot for my ancestors. Well, the Dutch did a bunch of other clever things. Just ask Coldfire.

How did Mr. Tasman miss it? That’s an easy guess. He was probably sloshed. Some of us remember that Coldfire was once elected “most likely to post while intoxicated.”

I think the original Polynesian name for NZ is a lot cooled: ‘Aotearota’.

Tasman did get around a little on his two voyages to the southern ocean although not too much is known of his second adventure. This is an interesting page detailing why he didn’t find Australia on the first voyage (he had clear instructions as to where to sail: left a bit, down a bit, go right, etc.).

Or, alternatively, they were too busy watching a live sex show and hand rolling to notice when they passed by Australia.