New Zealand Local Customs

  • A French place in New Zealand - the same colours.
    A French place in New Zealand - the same...
    by Kakapo2
  • Local Customs
    by kiwi
  • vineyard
    by xaver

New Zealand Local Customs

  • Local People

    Christchurch Local Customs

    This old english method of having a bloke yelling the news pre newspaper days was trialled a few years ago as a tourism stunt - and it stuck. The Town Crier of Christchurch screams a few items of interest using a very random schedule. When he isn't doing the yelling thing he wanders about the Cathedral Square to chat with visitors and provide a few...

  • Maori

    Christchurch Local Customs

    When you are entering into Maori cultural exhibits, the visitors must be invited in to join the community before entering. Your group must select a chief or king for the group, and then that leader must meet with the leader of the Maori tribe. When presented with the opportunity to enter, the visiting leader must show that he and his people are not...

  • Wizard

    Christchurch Local Customs

    Speaking to the masses, though not so often these days, is the Christchurch Wizard aka Ian Brackenbury Channell. He has actually been deemed a "living work of art" and has been doing his thing in Christchurch since after his arrival in 1974. The Wizard was born in London in 1932 and took degrees in Sociology and Psychology at Leeds University...

  • Climate

    Christchurch Local Customs

    The South Island is cooler than the North Island by a few degrees but on the whole NZ is known for its clean air. Average temps in winter (July) 1C – 12C Average temps in summer (January) 12C – 21C Annual Mean Maximum 32C Annual Mean Minimum –4C

  • Useful Tips.......Emergency number

    Christchurch Local Customs

    The New Zealand dollar has depreciated in value over the last few years. It now lies around $1NZ=$0.49US good for all of you wanting to travel to NZ but bad for us kiwi's!! The notes were changed over 10 years ago to depict famous kiwi faces instead of the queen. She has been retained only on the $20 bill and on the back of the coins. There are...

  • Driving

    Christchurch Local Customs

    When you drive along the Summit Road please thank all the idiots of Christchurch for being able to park on such nice carparks along the road. Those carparks have been altered attractively because car hoons had used the old style ones for races and burnouts. Oh, and also thank me, please. As ratepayers we have paid for the new look. As you might...

  • NZ native birds

    We have a number of native birds that can be seen during your travels around NZ - beautiful and well worth looking out for.Names such as the Tui, Silvereye, Pukeko, Kea....and the kiwi which of course you will need to take opportunity of a centre that has them for tourists to see as they are night birds and not so easy to see out in the wild.

  • Maori Language

    We learnt Maori at school, many of our place names are Maori names...despite what some say the Maori culture and language has been kept alive and respected and even more so over the last 20 years more and more concerted systems are in place to keep the language alive amongst the peoples of NZ...and not just for people with Maori ancestry.Children...

  • Canoe Regatta

    Every March on the Saturday closest to St Patrick's Day, there is a cultural spectacle worth seeing if timing is right for you. You will see a very unique gathering of maori waka (wooden canoes), coming down the Waikato River to Turangawaewae Marae, which is the village home of the Maori King.The public are welcomed onto the Marae, and you get...

  • Bowls of coffee and giant scones

    Another local tradition in NZ is the size of a cup of coffee. When ordering a milk based coffee like Cappucino or Latte don't be surprised when it comes in a cup almost the size of a soup bowl. That's a great cup of coffee.While we are on the subject of morning tea - the scones are also huge especially the savoury ones!

  • How to order a beer

    After you have been in New Zealand for only a short while you will realise that, like all English speaking countries, they have their own version.My first night in NZ and I want a cider to go with my lamb. The waiter asks if I want a Handle or a 12!?First lesson - a Handle is a pint and served in a mug with a handle. A 12 is a 12 ounce glass

  • Tipping

    In New Zealand, it is NOT customary to tip. It is becoming increasingly common in restaurants to tip for exceptional service, or in other situations such as in hotels where staff have gone WAY above and beyond the normal standard of service, but as a general rule, its not normal to tip in NZ. You will find that many restaurants will have a jar by...

  • The Hongi

    In New Zealand we have the NZ Maori and NZ European (or also known as Pakeha). A traditional greeting here of the Maori is to press their nose against anothers nose which is known as a Hongi. It is often displayed at official ceremonies and when visitors arewelcomed onto a Marae (Maori Meeting place). When a person is greeted in thisfashion they...

  • New Zealand has two Languages

    New Zealand has two main Languages English and Maori. Both are used for everyday purposes and although not everyone in New Zealand is fluent in Maori they do know alot of words that they say without even thinking about it especially when reading names of cities such as Rotorua or townships such as Whakatane. Even Greeting a person by saying Kia...

  • Bras on fences?

    This is NOT a local custom, to hang your bra on the fence as you drive by. But strangely enough the collection of discarded bras is growing here.This fence is on the Crown Range Road, Cardrona, between Queenstown and Wanaka. I guess it's something people are just compelled to do when they see the array already hanging there.I have seen at Wanaka a...

  • Hongi is a form of greeting

    Hongi(pronounced hor-ngee) is pressing of the noses. You press your nose against the nose of the other person. This is the way Maori greet each other.The reason we hongi is acknowledge each other and where you come from and signifies the 'breath of life' when god blew life into Adam.

  • Paisajes / Landscapes

    En los paisajes de la Isla Norte no pueden faltar el "verde" ni las ovejas y las vacas In the landscapes of the North Island can not miss the 'green' , the sheep and the cows

  • Vallas / Fences

    Puede parecer raro hablar de vallas , pero nos impresionaron las vallas que veíamos en NZ acostumbrados a vallas de metro y medio máximo , aquí había algunas que medían más de cinco metros , hechas de árboles y que destacaban en los paisajes por su altura y por su verde oscuroHemos supuesto que son tan grandes para de alguna manera romper las...

  • Rugby

    New Zealand is famous for The All Blacks our national team. If they are playing while you are in NZ it is worth a trip to see them. This is a pic of The All Blacks playing the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park, Auckland.Want to know more about Rugby in New Zealand? Then check out this website:New Zealand Rugby

  • Tipping

    Employees in New Zealand do not depend on tips or gratuities as part of their income. Its purely at your discretion for good service. So if you get good service and want to tip, then it will be appreciated... not expected.

  • Marmite or Vegemite

    These food icons have been part of a great debate in New Zealand for many years - the question? Which is better, Marmite or Vegemite? For the traditionalist, Marmite is the kiwi icon with Vegemite its nasty Aussie cousin who has insinuated itself into the land of the long white cloud. Marmite has its origins in the UK although the product from over...

  • Fish and Chips

    You can get these gems in almost every town in NZ with a large variety of fish to select from. Originally shark flesh was used for the fish but due to high levels of mercury a few years ago this was changed to other varieties of fish. We have come a long way on NZ from the old shark and tatties to being able to pick your fish and have it battered...

  • Be prepared for entering and leaving NZ

    When you arrive make sure you have NO organic products with you. From food to dirt in your shoes. They will do a complete examination of your bags, clothing and you for any organic products. They are very concern about bugs, cross contamination and desease entering thier Island.

  • Be surprised when a Fire gets out of...

    I only feel sorry for the poor pigs. The 20 pigs that were burnt alive and the 50 pigs that had to be shot and slaughtered because they were so badly burnt.I hope no insurance pays the farmer for this loss.I do not name him - as the newspapers did - because I want to call him a bloody idiot, and I am not allowed to do this without giving him the...

  • Even the biggest Fool is a Student

    If you read or hear about students in the newspapers and on TV all the time you might get the impression that everybody in New Zealand is a high achiever or is getting a university degree. This is absolutely not the case. But still there are students everywhere. Funnily enough even the biggest fool is or has been a student - because they do not...

  • Waitangi Day and Other Public Holidays

    One thing I really like about New Zealand is their handling of holidays. When a public holiday coincides with a weekend they get an extra day off on the Friday before or the Monday after, and so can really enjoy a nice and long weekend :-)And there are a lot of holidays as NZ is still celebrating some English dates as the Queen's Birthday on the...

  • Kiwiana not only in festival-crazy...

    The town of Otorohanga claims to be the Kiwiana town of New Zealand. The third Great Kiwiana Festival took place at the Island Reserve on 3 March 2007. The small rural town is about 50kms south of Hamilton.At their annual festival they present marching girls, gumboots, sheepdogs and buzzy bees. Just everything that firms under the expression...

  • cut offs

    dont just spend your time knockin around with other backpackers if your there for a while, go to some little town and get to know the locals - theyre so friendly and will want to show you how great nz is [after a while you will "learn" that nz invented everything and are the best at all sports lol!] although you might not get the best impression...

  • Haka - Maori War Dance

    The Haka, originally a Maori War Dance, is an important part of New Zealand culture - I'm saying New Zealand because both Kiwis and Maori embrace and perform this dance nowadays. Every visitor should have seen it at least once in New Zealand.A good chance to see a fairly cheap performance (including the stick-game where sticks arethrown from one...

  • Petanque

    Petanque is quite a popular sport all over New Zealand. In all kinds of green parks in towns and cities you can see the beautifully trimmed lawns on the ground which are used for "bowling on grass" (petanque).The game probably originates in France (boules), and is also popular in Italy (boccia) whereit is played on sand. Of course, the sport - such...

  • Trains and Cars can share

    I don't know where to post this , maybe under warning. IN the South Island we were a little alarmed too see some of the one lane bridges also had railroad tracks on them . Hummm who goes first I wonder! Kidding aside , I'm thinking trains can't be too frequent. I'd hate to see those big lights coming my way!

  • We Don't Like Being Called Aussies

    No, we don't especially find it funny. You might, but we are a distinct country with a distinct culture and proud of it. We're NOT like the Aussies!

  • Maori Challenge

    The "wero" or challenge is the enactment of a fearsome warrior who approaches to determine whether you come in peace. He will fix his eyes upon you while he performs a series of what seems like, threatening gestures with the mighty "taiaha" spear before he then places a cutting from a tree in front of you. He then withdraws a few steps fixing his...

  • Poi Dance

    The Maori poi dance is performed by women who rhythmically twirl poi balls at the ends of long flaxen strings. The poi balls traditionally are decorated with taniko designs in geometrical shapes and sometimes adorned with feathers or long white dog's hair. It is a skill of dexterity and is said that in the old days only women of high rank knew how...

  • Kauri Trees

    The giant kauri, among the largest trees in the world, is now restricted to relatively small forest pockets in Northland and on the Coromandel Peninsula. NZ's most famous tree was named after the Maori god of the forests, Tane Mahuta stands over 51 metres high, has a girth of over 13 metres, and is believed to be over 2000 years old. It is found in...

  • Maori stick dance

    The Stick games or Tï Räkau consist of the rhythmic throwing and catching of 3 foot long sticks from person to person. This originally started as a way of training young warriors to catch enemies' spears in battle. The players stood or knelt down in a circle and when the pace of throwing increased with the increased in tempo those who dropped their...

  • Maori Terms

    Aroha - loveHaka - a traditional Maori dance with various words and actions. Hangi - Maori underground cooking pit and the meal cooked in it.Kai - Food Kia Ora - Hi or helloKumara - A Sweet potatoMarae - Sacred grounds around a meeting houseMoko - Traditional tattoo of the MaoriPakeha - (Person) Non-Maori of European extractionPuku - stomachPunga -...

  • Tiki

    The Tiki features the human form: it’s associated with fertility. The tilted head represents thinking and the hand rests on the stomach to represent contentment. The form is supposed to bring goodluck and goodwill.

  • Pohutikawa Tree

    Pohutikawa Tree is New Zealand's most well known native tree. The tree blossoms around Christmas time and therefore is known as New Zealand's Christmas Tree. The trees are usually found near the coastline in the North Island and the top of the South Island.

  • Paua

    Paua (or abalone) is a highly-prized shellfish harvested by skin-divers off New Zealand's rocky southern coasts. The shell, when polished, has unique aqua colours and flowing patterns and is used in jewellery and also in ornamental form in may items.

  • The Kowhai

    The Kowhai tree can be seen blooming through New Zealand during the spring months and the yellow flower is New Zealand’s national flower. The Maori’s in the early years used the hard wood of the tree for building and also made poultices and ointments from it. The tree when flowering, is also a favourite of the Tui bird which feeds of the nectar.

  • The Basics

    Electricity : Throughout New Zealand is supplied at 230 volts, 50 hertz. Hotels and motels provide 110 volt 20 watt sockets for electric razors only. Most power sockets in use in New Zealand accept three-flat pin plugs or similar adaptors. 2 pins are angled.Water : New Zealand cities and towns have very good water supplies. Tap water is very safe...

  • The Haka - Ka Mate

    More then any other aspect of Maori culture, the Haka is an expression of passion and vigour and is the worldwide identity of our Maori race and New Zealand as a country.The most famous New Zealand Haka is “Ka Mate” because of its association with the New Zealand All Blacks and many other sporting teams who perform it. According to Patricia Burns...

  • Know your Rugby

    The first game of Rugby played in NZ was a match between Nelson College and Nelson football (Soccer) club, played on 14 May 1870. The game had been introduced by Charles John Monro on his return from England and he he suggested that the local football club try out the rugby rules. It was obviously popular!!In 1871 Rugby became organised in...

  • New Zealand Flag

    Our flag shows New Zealand's roots having the Union Jack of Great Britain included. This hasn't changed since the creation of New Zealand and gaining its eventual full independance in 1947.The blue background and 4 red stars with 5 points of the Southern Cross show it to be different from our neighbour (Australia) who have an extra couple of stars...


New Zealand Hotels

See all 2413 Hotels in New Zealand

Top New Zealand Hotels

Christchurch Hotels
1251 Reviews - 2676 Photos
Auckland Hotels
1099 Reviews - 2456 Photos
Queenstown Hotels
647 Reviews - 1714 Photos
Napier Hotels
187 Reviews - 484 Photos
Gisborne Hotels
42 Reviews - 89 Photos
Waiheke Island Hotels
63 Reviews - 157 Photos
Rotorua Hotels
488 Reviews - 1232 Photos
Wellington Hotels
606 Reviews - 1335 Photos
Timaru Hotels
55 Reviews - 145 Photos
Palmerston North Hotels
34 Reviews - 94 Photos
Paihia Hotels
124 Reviews - 295 Photos
Glenorchy Hotels
48 Reviews - 129 Photos
Greymouth Hotels
38 Reviews - 87 Photos
Nelson Hotels
98 Reviews - 194 Photos
Dunedin Hotels
342 Reviews - 819 Photos

Instant Answers: New Zealand

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

32 travelers online now


New Zealand Local Customs

Reviews and photos of New Zealand local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for New Zealand sightseeing.
Map of New Zealand