New Zealand is an island nation and, along with Australia, is considered one of the antipodal countries (as they are on the opposite side of the Western hemisphere). It consists of the primary land masses, the North Island and South Island, and several smaller islands. The native population are the Māori, but European colonization began heavily in the 18th century. New Zealand was a colony of Great Britain until 1907, when it became a dominion.
Sheep farming, and the export of wool, is traditionally one of New Zealand's largest industries, but it has declined in recent decades.
The kiwi is indigenous to New Zealand and is the national bird, while kiwi fruit are also native. The country is also home to many marine mammals, including whales, and a wide variety of fish. Boomerang fish are not among them, despite the fact that Lew Zealand was named after the country.
Beyond Lew, the Muppets have been more directly involved with New Zealand, making a commercial in 2005 for CanTeen, an NZ non-profit. Jim Henson's Creature Shop built Rico, spokes character for Air New Zealand, in 2010.
- On the 1984 Dutch Sesamstraat album In Een Uur de Wereld Rond, Bert and Ernie imagine flying to New Zealand. Bert also reads a Zipje and Zopje book, Zipje en Zopje in Nieuw Zeeland (Zipje and Zopje in New Zealand).
- For Fraggle Rock, a few Postcards from Traveling Matt were filmed in New Zealand for international airings. In two segments, he interacted with the local silly creatures, specifically the Maori, and in both his face was painted in tribal patterns.
- In a Sesame Street cartoon insert by Buzzco Associates, Inc., Col. Travel (voiced by Jim Thurman) visits New Zealand. He focuses heavily on the sheep, while also discussing the kiwi (both fruit and bird). (EKA: Episode 2849)
- Farscape, filmed in Australia, often used New Zealand actors, including Jonathan Hardy (the voice of Rygel).
- The 2005 Creature Shop-effects film Mee-Shee: The Water Giant was filmed in New Zealand and used several local actors (including Joel Tobeck, Charles Mesure, and Rena Owen).
- In The Muppets on Muppets, Bobo says he likes to visit "that tiny peninsula off of Australia," but can't place the name. He rejects the interviewer's prompt of New Zealand but agrees it's one of those "New" things, finally concluding that it's New Orleans.