There is much to learn about New Zealand’s way of life. The nation of New Zealand, known as Aotearoa or “The Land of the Long White Cloud” in Mori, has an abundance of long white clouds. These complement their long white beaches and long white mountains beautifully. From slang and sheep to hobbits and sandflies, we’ve compiled a list of the most essential information for any newcomer to New Zealand.
There are not many individuals.
If you do not enjoy the company of humans, New Zealand is ideal for you. In a country that is roughly 20,000 square kilometers larger than the United Kingdom, there are approximately 4.8 million people. In comparison, there are 66,5 million people living in the United Kingdom. In addition, more than 86% of New Zealanders reside in urban areas, making the countryside a relatively lonely place. For some, it means “lonely,” while for others, it’s a wonderful “people-free” existence.
However, there are numerous sheep
On the other hand, sheep prevent movement. They are scattered across the New Zealand landscape like fluffy white clouds, chomping grass and outnumbering their human masters significantly. Indeed, there are approximately six sheep for every New Zealander. The total number of these woolly creatures is close to 30 million, so in the event of a sheep uprising, the New Zealanders would have no chance; they would be bleated to death.
They have a very distinctive accent.
The New Zealand accent can be quite perplexing to foreigners. Within five words, a Kiwi can sound Australian, South African, and American. You should forget everything you’ve ever learned about vowel sounds if you move there. The letter I sounds more like the letter ‘uh,’ so ‘fish and chips’ becomes ‘fush and chups’ In contrast, a ‘e’ sounds more like a I which can lead to a great deal of confusion. ‘Bed’ sounds like ‘bid,’ ‘ten’ sounds like ‘tin,’ and ‘deck’… you get the picture.
And a few unique slang
Living in New Zealand does not require you to learn a new language, but knowing some Kiwi slang could be useful. There are numerous unusual words and phrases in circulation. The name “glad wrap” for cling film makes it sound much more enjoyable to use than it actually is. A cool box is called a “chilli bin,” a vacation home is called a “bach,” and the middle of nowhere is called the “wop wops.” If you’re ‘popping to the dairy,’ you’re heading to the local store (and not just for cheese and milk). Importantly, if someone says “yeah-nah,” they are not undecided; it is simply a very casual way of saying “no, thank you.”
Humans arrived late to the party.
You know when you find five dollars down the sofa’s back? Similar circumstances existed between our nation and New Zealand. The nation was the last part of the globe to be discovered by humans. Some East Polynesians went on a canoe expedition and discovered two enormous islands inhabited by defenseless birds. What a discovery! Archaeological evidence indicates that humans first arrived in New Zealand around 1200-1300. That occurred over 700 years ago, but in historical terms, it was absurdly late. These East Polynesians would eventually become the indigenous Mori people of New Zealand, who arrived approximately three hundred years before the arrival of Europeans.
Meet “ordinary” individuals
Mori did not always refer to themselves as Mori. They were members of various tribes (or iwi), including Ngpuhi and Ngti Porou. However, once Europeans (first the Dutch, then the British) arrived in New Zealand, the indigenous population needed a way to distinguish themselves from the white invaders. So they came up with the term “Mori,” which means “common.” Today, 14% of New Zealand’s population consists of ‘ordinary’ citizens, and Mori is one of the official languages of the country. There are many Mori place names in New Zealand, but ‘wh’ is pronounced with a ‘f’ sound, so Whakapapa is actually Fakapapa.
Barefoot is acceptable
Everyone knows that shoes are horrible foot prisons. They are expensive, stinky, and can cause blisters, and nobody enjoys having to decide which pair to wear. The solution for Kiwis is to not wear any. In New Zealand, it is perfectly normal for some residents to walk outside barefoot. People can be seen wandering the streets, supermarkets, and cafes completely barefoot and carefree. This has something to do with the relaxed nature of New Zealanders and the Mori belief that going barefoot brings one closer to nature. If you wander around barefoot and step in dog feces, don’t complain; you’re just deeply connected to nature. Embrace it (but wash it off before you go into a supermarket).
The weather is highly variable
New Zealand may be relatively close to the warm and sunny continent of Australia, but its climate is quite distinct. Not only are temperatures considerably more moderate than in Oz, but it is also possible to experience “four seasons in one day.” This expression was created by drama queens who enjoy exaggeration. What they really mean is that it can be sunny one moment and rainy the next, a phenomenon with which any British citizen should be familiar.
The two islands of New Zealand are surrounded by some of the most turbulent seas in the world, which can make things quite exciting. Due to the erratic Pacific Ocean, a day that begins warm and sunny may deteriorate by noon into a miserable blast of cold wind and rain. When exploring the wop wops, be sure to bring an umbrella.
There is a hole in their ozone layer.
We need the ozone layer to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays, so we decided to create a massive hole in it. Unfortunately, the Australians and New Zealanders are paying the price. The ozone layer is significantly thinner there, so whenever the sun shines there is a dangerous amount of UV radiation. Even if the sunlight in New Zealand does not feel particularly intense, you should still wear appropriate sun protection. On the hottest days, nothing less than a full suit of armor and a parasol is recommended.
Welcome to the “Unstable Isles”
New Zealand is a tectonically active hotspot. The Pacific Ring of Fire contains the majority of the world’s volcanoes and earthquakes, and New Zealand is located directly on top of it. This means that New Zealanders experience approximately 14,000 earthquakes annually, although only 100-150 of them are felt by normal humans. It is not surprising that the nation is known as the Shaky Isles. Volcanoes are a less frequent hazard, but when they occur, they are catastrophic. In the past 5,000 years, the world’s largest volcanic eruption occurred in New Zealand, leaving behind a massive crater that filled with water and became the beautiful Lake Taup. Mount Horrible is the name of one of the South Island’s now-dormant volcanoes. There has never been a more fitting name for a volcano.
There are breathtaking landscapes everywhere.
If there were a beauty contest for nations, New Zealand would likely win. It’s almost dangerously breathtaking. Approximately one-third of the country is comprised of national parks, which contribute to the country’s overall beauty. This means that it will not soon be converted into hotels and parking lots. If you like freakishly colourful hot mud pools, check out Wai-O-Tapu on the North Island, while the South Island is home to the world-famous Milford Sound fjord. Icy mountains, forests, vast lakes and white beaches; New Zealand’s got the lot.
Their lake is the clearest in the world.
What is the most important characteristic of a lake? Obviously, you cannot search for anything in a lake that lacks transparency. Blue Lake in New Zealand is the world’s clearest lake, according to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research… and they’re not even partial or anything. Blue Lake, located in South Island’s Nelson Lakes National Park, offers visibility of up to 80 meters. Almost identical to distilled water. Mori have always regarded this lake as sacred; therefore, you are not permitted to bathe in it. Perhaps this is why it has remained so clear.
You are always close to a beach.
In New Zealand, you are never more than 128 kilometers (about 80 miles) away from a beach at any given time. 80 miles may as well be 800 miles if you’re walking, but it only takes about an hour to drive in a car. This makes emergency trips to the beach very convenient. Just be wary of the sharks, which are similar to Australian sharks but pronounce their vowels differently.
Be on the lookout for hobbits
King Kong, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, and, of course, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises have all been filmed in New Zealand. Filmmakers simply cannot resist incorporating New Zealand scenery into their films. Tourism related to The Lord of the Rings has been (and continues to be) a massive economic boon for New Zealand, contributing over $200 million to its economy to date. People from all over the world visit the filming locations used by Peter Jackson, including the real-life village of Hobbiton and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (the one Frodo and Sam walked over to reach Sauron). There, being a nerd is permitted.
Watch out for sandflies
The armor mentioned earlier may be required once more. The characters in The Lord of the Rings never have to deal with sandflies, but these winged pests are a serious nuisance throughout New Zealand. Only three of the 19 sandfly species are human-biting, but these three species are widespread, especially on the South Island and West Coast.
When bitten by a sandfly, the pain is instantaneous and severe, but fortunately it does not transmit any diseases. Simply, it will itch. A lot. They typically hunt in airborne swarms, so if you swat one away, its companions will seek revenge. The most effective way to defeat them is with wind and cold weather, making winter travel to New Zealand highly recommended.
Almost everyone dislikes possums.
You may believe that possums are relatively harmless, but in New Zealand, these rat-like animals are viewed as the progeny of the devil. In 1837, some individuals decided to import possums from Australia in an attempt to establish a fur industry; what a terrible mistake! Possums ran amok across the country, doing whatever the hell they pleased in the absence of any natural predators. They transmit bovine tuberculosis to cows, consume the eggs of kiwi and kea birds, and consume approximately 20,000 tonnes of vegetation every night.
Humans have done their best to control the possum population, but there are still approximately 30 million of them roaming New Zealand. If a Kiwi observes a possum while driving, they will typically speed up, not slow down.
Kea birds are endearing nuisances.
We mentioned that defenseless baby kea birds are preyed upon by possums, but adult kea birds can be just as obnoxious. Except it eats cars, not possums. The New Zealand alpine parrot adores attacking automobiles, ripping off windshield wipers and ripping rubber strips from window panes. If vehicles are not on the menu, they will tamper with almost any object left unattended and will steal food without hesitation.
This makes them extremely annoying, but they pose no significant risk to human life. Their curiosity and playfulness with people have actually made them quite endearing. Kea are one of the most intelligent bird species in the world, and in 2017 New Zealanders voted it their Bird of the Year. If a kea begins disassembling your vehicle, all you can do is smile and admire its inquisitiveness.
The kiwifruit is in fact Chinese.
The kiwifruit did not originate in New Zealand, despite its name. We have all been duped by a piece of marketing from approximately fifty years ago. This green furry fruit is native to China, hence its original name, the Chinese gooseberry. In 1904, a woman named Mary Fraser brought Chinese gooseberry seeds from China to New Zealand. By 1910, the first Chinese gooseberries were grown in New Zealand.
Once Americans began purchasing the fruit from New Zealand in the 1950s, US importers determined that the name ‘Chinese gooseberry’ was no longer appropriate. They tried the adorable-sounding’melonette’ before settling on ‘kiwi fruit,’ named after the native kiwi bird of New Zealand. And here we are today, still being sold this fruit-related fabrication.
Gender equality is extremely crucial there
In September 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world to implement women’s suffrage by granting women the right to vote. It would take nearly a decade for other nations to catch on (Australia in 1902). Kate Sheppard and her fellow suffragettes were largely responsible for New Zealand’s momentous decision, so you’ll see her face on every NZ$10 note (the back features a lovely blue duck). In addition, New Zealand is the only nation where women hold the top three positions of power; in 2006, the Prime Minister, Governor General, and Chief Justice were all women. Sisters are acting for their own benefit!
Everyone consumes L&P
This abbreviation may mean nothing to you, but to New Zealanders it stands for Lemon & Paeroa. It is a widely available soft drink in the United States, but almost nowhere else in the world (bar a few supermarkets in Australia). So, what does it consist of? Paeroa is the town of Paeroa’s carbonated mineral water, and lemon is a sour yellow fruit. Yes, it’s literally just lemonade. L&P no longer contains Paeroa-specific water; it is now owned and produced by Coca-Cola, who are gradually gaining control of all beverages ever made. If you are the designated driver on a night out in New Zealand, L&P is the beverage of choice.
Rugby is a massive sport
It is impossible to write an article about New Zealand without mentioning rugby. The New Zealanders are obsessed with muscular men kicking an oval-shaped ball around a field. In 1870, a New Zealander returned from a trip to England and taught the sport to all of his friends. Approximately 30 years later, the All Blacks were touring England and completely dominating the English at their own game. After more than a century, the All Blacks continue to dominate the sport, beginning each international match with the renowned ‘haka’ war dance. The fact that most opponents cannot find a way to defeat the All Blacks terrifies everyone beyond comprehension.
Topic: 21 Things You Should Know Before Moving to New Zealand
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