I have been embracing a kiwi lifestyle in New Zealand for over three months now. My boyfriend Dave and I arrived here on the 21st September 2016; we are currently travelling and working round the North Island, moving down to the South Island at the end of February. A side the fact that New Zealand is the most beautiful Country I have visited, I have learned a few things about how New Zealanders live and act.
For a Country which feels quite different from my own, before I knew it I was improving my kiwi slang vocabulary and living like a local. It is surprising how quickly you can feel comfortable in a Country which is literally over the other side of the world from home.
Here is what I have noticed about living in New Zealand so far:
1- Kiwi’s walk barefoot
I know I just said I feel like a local, but I don’t fancy embracing this lifestyle. New Zealanders walk barefoot everywhere: in supermarkets, shopping malls, down the street, in the park, everywhere. Just imagine seeing someone walk barefoot in central London, it would not happen in a million years.
2- Kiwi slang vocabulary
Every Country uses slang words and phrases to represent their Countries and identities and I love the local kiwi vocabulary. It took us a few weeks to notice how frequently Kiwi’s say “Sweet As”, “Aye”, “Choice” and “Bro”. Believe me, you’ll catch on to these phrases quite easily, it’s hard not to.
3- New Zealanders are incredibly welcoming and friendly
I mention this point with precaution, because I have visited other Countries where people have been very welcoming and friendly towards me. But it’s true what you hear; New Zealanders are just very warm and pleasant people.
4- Getting the bill/cheque in a restaurant
This was a strange one for Dave and I. When you eat out in a restaurant, your waiter/waitress does not bring the cheque/bill over to the table for you to pay. You simply pay at the cash register before leaving. We noticed this quite early in our travels and luckily we noticed other customers just going up to pay, so we followed their lead.
• A side note from this is New Zealand doesn’t have a tipping culture. They would consider leaving money behind on the table as an accident as opposed to a tip for them.
5- The weather has mood swings
If you wake up in the morning and see a beautiful clear blue sky, just be prepared by the time you are dressed and ready for the day it could be raining. By the time you drive to your destination the rain has stopped, and it is now just cloudy. And by the time you arrive back home, the sun has re-appeared. Be prepared for mood swings and pack for all weather conditions.
6- The towns are unbelievably difficult to pronounce
A few examples for you to try and pronounce: good luck!
– Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamatea- turipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Seriously? Where would you even begin?
– Timaru- pronounced tee-mah-roo
– Tauranga- pronounced toe-rung-a
– Kaikoura- pronounced kai-co-rah
7- Day-to-day Words
We have noticed how daily items and words we say back home in the UK have different names out here in New Zealand.
– Bach- known as a Holiday Home
– Jandals- Flip flops
– Capsicums- Peppers
– Kumara- Sweet Potato
– Patty- Beef burger
– Dairy store- known as a convenient store
– Glad wrap- cling film
8- Coffee is life
Growing up in England means you grow up drinking and loving good old English breakfast tea, however New Zealand has a thriving café and coffee culture. I worked in a café in Tauranga and the amount of Flat White’s I sold was borderline addiction for local kiwis.
9- Do you like sheep?
It’s true what you hear. There are sheep everywhere in New Zealand; sometimes I feel I see more sheep than people. Seriously!
10- New Zealand is expensive
New Zealand is a very expensive Country to live in and to visit, because everything is imported to this tiny little island, things are high priced. But think of it this way, the national minimum wage is higher here so this is relevant to the lifestyle you can lead.
11- Home to Middle Earth
From the moment I stepped off the plane in Auckland, I just felt as if I was welcomed into Middle Earth and although there is not a huge impact of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in Auckland, you understand the importance of this film culture within New Zealand. Peter Jackson is an inspiring hero here in New Zealand.
12- Picture Perfect Memories
New Zealand is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and fascinating Countries I have visited. Home to mountains, waterfalls, hikes, beaches, cities, Middle Earth, adrenaline activities, home to the haka, nature, wineries, wildlife, glaciers, and adorable nocturnal kiwi birds.
What’s not to love?
I’ll let you know if I notice anything else about New Zealand as I continue my travels down to the South Island and I think I will. Every New Zealander I have met has told me the South Island is so divided from the North Island that people consider them to be two different Countries, I’m intrigued.
P.S- All photos are my own, enjoy!