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Holidays in New Zealand

Understanding New Zealand

New Zealand has been called God's own country and the "Paradise of the Pacific" since the early 1800s Travellers generally agree New Zealand deserves this description

Lonely Planet named New Zealand the world's top travel destination two years in a row 2003/2004, and it was voted best long-haul travel destination in the 2004 Guardian and Observer’s People’s Choice award It has won the award in three out of the past four years At the 2005 Condé Nast Traveller Awards, readers voted New Zealand as the best holiday destination in the world


New Zealand consists of two main islands and many smaller ones in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 1600 km southeast of Australia With a population of four million in a country about the size of the United Kingdom, many areas are sparsely settled

Be sure to allow sufficient time to travel in New Zealand as distances are large, and roads wind along the coast and through mountain ranges, particularly on the South Island It is possible to tour for three or four weeks on each island, although you can certainly see highlights in far less time

Auckland, with a population of around 125 million people, is the largest city in Polynesia

Settlement and history

New Zealand was the last significant land mass to be inhabited by humans, both in terms of indigenous settlement and European colonization This, combined with geological youth and geographical isolation, has led to the development of a young, vigorous nation with a well-travelled, well-educated expatriate population of 1,000,000 1 in 4 born New Zealanders and 1 in 3 between ages 22 and 48 have left their place of Birth for more favourable locations

The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about 800 AD Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, in 1642, was the first European to see New Zealand after the Portuguese expedition led by Cristovao de Mendonça over a hundred years before in 1521-1524 However this is a disputed claim by historians and in 1642 Tasman mapped the country's coastline, and so forth it appeared on Dutch maps as "Nieuw Zeeland" from as early as 1645 British naval Captain James Cook rediscovered, circumnavigated and mapped the islands in 1769 A few people, mostly sealers, whalers, traders and missionaries, settled during the next 80 years and the islands were administered by the British colony in New South Wales

In 1840, with the assistance of missionaries, the Maori agreed to accept British sovereignty over the islands through the Treaty of Waitangi More intensive settlement began that same year A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872, coupled with political manoeuvring and the spread of European diseases, broke Maori resistance to land settlement, but left lasting grievances In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances, and this is a complicated process In 2005, the Maori Party was formed, in part in response to the Government's law on the Foreshore and Seabed but also to promote an independent Maori perspective at a political level

When the six British colonies federated to form Australia in 1901, New Zealand decided not to join the federation Instead, the British colony of New Zealand became a dominion in 1907 It was offered complete independence under the 1931 Statute of Westminster, although it did not adopt this until 1947 All remaining constitutional links with the United Kingdom were severed with the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act by both parliaments in 1986, though the British queen remains the Head of State with an appointed Governor-General as her representative in New Zealand However the Constitution of Australia permits New Zealand to join as another Australian state New Zealand supported the United Kingdom militarily in the Boer War of 1899–1902, as well as both World Wars It also participated in wars in Malaya, Korea and Vietnam under various military alliances, most notably the ANZUS treaty with Australia and the United States

New Zealand's population has strongly opposed the testing and use of nuclear weapons Nuclear armed warship visits meant that the Parliament enacted anti-nuclear legislation in the mid-1980s This led to the abandonment of New Zealand's commitment to the ANZUS defence alliance


A former British colony, it has a population mainly of European descent, with a sizeable indigenous Maori minority, a similarly sized Asian minority, and smaller minorities of various Polynesian and other groups

Time zones

New Zealand leads the world time wise 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time GMT+12 and 20 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time PST Daylight Saving GMT+13 begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April

NZST New Zealand Standard Time NZDT New Zealand Daylight Time


The national sport in New Zealand is rugby union Other popular sports include soccer, rugby league and netball in winter, and cricket in summer The Super 14 season, a regional competition incorporating regional teams from South Africa and Australia, runs from February to May, and the New Zealand domestic competition, the Air New Zealand Cup formally the National Provincial Championship runs later in the year The national team, the All Blacks, generally play matches at home during June through to September, mainly in the Tri Nations against South Africa and Australia


New Zealand has a temperate climate in the south island and sub-tropical climate in the North Island and the nature of the terrain, the prevailing winds and the length of the country lead to sharp regional contrasts Maximum daytime temperatures sometimes exceed 30°C and only fall below 0°C in the elevated inland regions Generally speaking, rainfall and humidity is higher in the west than the east of the country due to the north-south orientation of the mountain ranges and the prevailing westerly/north westerly winds

Part situated in the Roaring Forties, unsheltered areas of the country can get a bit breezy, especially in the centre, through Cook Strait and around Wellington The winds seem to be stronger around the equinoxes In the winter, southerly gales can be severe but they also bring snow to the ski-fields and are usually followed by calm clear days

Temperatures in °CJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
North Island232423201715141517182022
South Island222219171411111215171921

New Zealand is one of the most difficult countries in the world in which to forecast the weather Although the weather is changeable, there is certainly more sunshine and warm temperate temperatures to enjoy in summer It is not uncommon, especially on the South Island, to experience four seasons in one day

New Zealand is a small country surrounded by ocean A complicating, but often beneficial factor on the day to day weather, is the steep mountain range running down the spine of New Zealand orientated in a southwest-northeast direction These mountains often shelter eastern parts of the country from an onslaught of westerly winds and rain

The weather is mostly influenced by fast moving weather systems in the strong westerly winds, which are often referred to as the roaring forties, that predominate over southern parts of the country and seas to the south There tends to be a seven day cycle associated with these westerlies as a cold front sweeps over the country associated with a couple of days rain, somewhere over the country Often though these westerlies are disrupted by large high pressure systems or by storm systems

During the summer and early autumn months from about December to April, the westerlies tend to move south giving more settled weather Always be prepared for a change though Also, during this time, random weather systems from the tropics can make their presence felt, mainly over the North Island, with a period of warm wet windy weather

In the Winter, May to August, the weather tends to be more changeable Cold fronts often bring a period of rain to western areas followed by a cold wind from the south bringing snow to the mountains and sometimes to near sea level over eastern parts of the South Island When the weather turns cold and wet in the east, to the west of the mountains it will be fantastic At this time of the year it is not uncommon for high pressure systems and clear skies to park over the whole country for long periods bringing crisp frosty nights and mornings followed by cool sunny days

In spring, from August to November, the westerly winds are typically at their strongest – these are called the equinoctial westerlies It tends to rain more in western areas, and especially on the South Island, at this time, while in the east, warm dry winds can give great cycling weather Once again though, a cold front and its accompanying south winds can give you a taste of winter at any stage

The Metservice 2 has weather forecasts for five days in advance

Talking in New Zealand

English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages of New Zealand English is universal, and is written with Commonwealth British spelling

New Zealand English is one of the major varieties of English and is different enough from other forms to justify the publication of the Oxford New Zealand English dictionary

Word usage may also differ occasionally, in potentially embarrassing ways for the traveller Several words that Americans may consider offensive, or have euphemisms for, are considered acceptable usage For example: A New Zealand bathroom refers to a room containing a bath while the other facilities that an American might refer to as a bathroom or washroom are known as a toilet The American habit of "bleeping" swear words from broadcasts is considered quaint and rarely done in local programming The New Zealand broadcasting media are unusually tolerant of swear words when used in context

The New Zealand accent is somewhat nasalised with flattened vowel sounds and vowel shifting New Zealanders consider their accent to be markedly different from the Australian one and are often mildly offended when mistaken for or confused with Australians New Zealand terminology and slang are also different from Australian usage Americans find New Zealand accents easy to understand, so do Australians and British Some European dialects find it slightly harder and Asians may find it rather hard to understand; New Zealanders are quite happy however to repeat what they just said if necessary

Maori is actively spoken by a minority of both Maori and language learners Maori is available as a language to study in, instead of English, at many educational institutes The Maori language is spoken by some, but not all, Maori and a few non-Maori, especially in the far north and east of the North Island Many place names are in Maori and for the traveller some knowledge of Maori pronunciation is very useful

New Zealand Sign language was given status in 2005 as an official language of the country

See also: Maori phrasebook

Common expressions

Generally, New Zealand English expressions follows British English However, New Zealand English has also borrowed much from Maori and there are a number of other phrases that are not commonly encountered elsewhere or may confuse the visitor

  • Bach pron "batch" - Holiday home; often by the beach and comprised of fairly basic accommodation In the South Island often called a crib
  • Bring a plate - see also; "Ladies a plate" means each attendant of the event should bring a plate of food to share with the other guests
  • BYO - Bring Your Own An addition to the name of a restaurant that may not have a liquor licence Means that it is perfectly okay to bring your own wine to enjoy with your food, but they often charge a small corkage fee
  • Clayton's - Describing something as a Clayton's means that the item lacks full functionality or is a poor imitation of the real thing From the name of the unsuccessful non-alcoholic whisky that was briefly marketed during the late 1970s/early 1980s under the catch phrase The drink you're having when you are not having a drink
  • Dairy - Convenience store; corner shop, one few outsiders understand though heavily used by locals and find problems when travelling overseas and are surprised when asking where the dairy is
  • Entry by gold or silver coin donation - The admission charge to an event, exhibit, gallery or museum is by making a payment of a coin in the appropriate metal, often in the donation box at the door The gold coins in NZ are the $1 and $2 coins, while silver are the 20c and 50c coins, and the 10c coin is copper See also "Koha" below
  • Half Pie - Usually a job or task not performed to satisfaction cf Maori Pai = good
  • Jandals - Flip-flops to most of the world; Thongs to you Australians
  • Kiwi - Slang for a New Zealander, named after an endangered flightless bird that lays the largest egg relative to body size and is the national emblem This is not a derogatory term and some New Zealanders will happily refer to themselves as a 'Kiwi'
  • Ladies a plate - At social functions, such as meetings, attendees are expected to bring a plate carrying ready-to-eat food Typically the food is home baking by a member of each attending family or couple, not necessarily a "lady"
  • Glidetime - Flexible working hours, often worked by public servants Under this system, workers can start and finish work at hours of their choosing between 7AM and 6PM, although they must work the core hours of 930AM to noon and 2PM to 330PM and average 40 hours per week Also the name of a comedy play about such workers
  • Social welfare - State operated organisations responsible for child protection services, income assistance and work placement for the unemployed
  • Beneficiary - A person of working age who is receiving state welfare assistance payments known as income support or a benefit
  • Superannuitants - Retired people in receipt of a state retirement pension known as New Zealand Superannuation - usually abbreviated to just "Super" This payment is paid to all citizens over 65 years old

Slang expressions

You may get a strange look if you use Kiwi slang in New Zealand, but it may be used inadvertently to in conversation If you don't understand just ask and most New Zealanders will explain

  • Bro - Short for brother but used by males to address other males
  • Bush - Forest Usually meaning a native forest as opposed to a pine forest
  • Choice! - Cool, great
  • Chur - Thanks or Choice
  • Cool bananas! - "It's good" Hardly used If it is, it's usually directly at young children
  • G'day - Short for Good day A greeting Also used by the Australians
  • Sweet as! - Cool, good thing, No problem Often abbreviated to just 'sweet'
  • mint - in tip top condition
  • chicks - girls
  • oi - hey
  • Lindi - Lindauer Brut popular wine in New Zealand
  • pash - french kiss

Maori words and expressions

  • Kia Ora - Hello, welcome, literally good health Often used as an utterance of agreement, especially during speaking at a hui
  • Haere Mai - A greeting to a person arriving, while Haere Ra is a salutation to one leaving
  • Hui - A meeting or gathering to discuss and debate issues in traditional Maori fashion
  • Iwi - A Maori tribe or people, sometimes known as a Waka canoe, as some iwi are named after the ocean going canoes that brought their ancestors to New Zealand
  • Koha - A Maori term for gifts or donations Often an exchange of gifts takes place Sometimes the admission signs say, "Entry Koha", meaning gold coin or what you feel like donating
  • Kai - Food Common with both Maori and European
  • Marae - A traditional Maori meeting or gathering place Also a community centre
  • Pakeha - The Maori word for New Zealanders of European decent, generally thought to have arisen from a Maori story about white creatures called 'pakepakeha' Some European New Zealanders do not refer to themselves as Pakeha, others see the name as part of their unique identity, whilst others find it offensive
  • Powhiri - A Maori ceremonial welcome Especially to a marae, but now also may take place at the start of a conference or similar large meeting in New Zealand
  • Whanau - A Maori extended family Kinfolk
  • Wharenui - literally big house, is the meeting house on a marae Used often in advertising to alliterate with friends such as 'friends and whanau'
  • Wharekai - literally food house, is the dining room and/or kitchen on a marae

  • Wharepaku - literally Small house or more tongue in cheek "Explode House", - Toilet

What to see in New Zealand

Just like the movies

Many movies and television series have been filmed in New Zealand Some of the more notable examples are listed below:

  • Goodbye Pork Pie 1981 - road trip between Kaitaia in the far north to Invercargill in the deep south
  • River Queen 2006 - Wanganui
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy 2001–03 - numerous locations throughout the country
  • Whale Rider 2003 - the North Island's East Coast
  • The Last Samurai 2003 - Taranaki
  • Once Were Warriors 1994 - Auckland
  • The Piano 1993 - west coast of the Auckland region
  • Power Rangers television series since 2003- in and around Auckland
  • The Quiet Earth 1987 - Waikato University - Hamilton, Warkworth Transmitter Station
  • Xena television series - west Auckland region
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 - alpine grassland and glaciers around Flock Hill Station in the Southern Alps near Christchurch, and other places
  • King Kong 2005 - Wellington
  • The World's Fastest Indian 2005 - Invercargill

New Zealand scenery has long been a major tourist attraction, so spectacular it leaves many lost for words You need to see it to understand, just describing it is not enough Mind you, if you have seen some recent movies that were made in New Zealand, you probably have seen it and not realized Those spectacular scenery in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is of New Zealand landscapes

Selected highlights are:

  • Fiordland and Milford Sound - they built the road here, including a tunnel under the mountains, just for the tourists
  • Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and with the other Southern Lakes in easy reach
  • Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers - in the Westland region
  • Mount Cook - New Zealand's highest mountain, in the heart of the Southern Alps
  • The Canterbury plains
  • Mount Ruapehu and Lake Taupo - volcanoes with lakes in them
  • White Island, one of New Zealand's more active volcanoes
  • Bay of Islands, where the Waitangi treaty house can be found and the place where New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed The copies are now held by the Archives New Zealand in Wellington
  • Ninety Mile Beach
  • New Zealand Webcam 39


  • Nine days in New Zealand's North Island
  • Nine days in New Zealand's South Island
  • Two weeks in New Zealand's South Island
  • Eighteen Day Small Group Tour Covering Both Islands

What to do in New Zealand

Outdoor and adventure activities include:

  • Abseiling Waitomo
  • Aerial sightseeing helicopter and fixed-wing
  • Birdwatching
  • Black water rafting cave rafting
  • Boat Tours
  • Bungy Jump Queenstown, Auckland, Lake Taupo - the modern bungy jump was invented here by New Zealander AJ Hackett
  • Canoeing and kayaking on rivers and lakes
  • Canyoning
  • Caving Waitomo, Nelson, South Island West Coast, Te Anau
  • Climbing
  • Diving
  • Fishing - trout some of the finest trout-fishing in the world, salmon, marlin, broadbill, sharks and many other salt-water species
  • Fly by wire invented here
  • Four-wheel driving
  • Gliding - Omarama is one of the best places in the world for gliding
  • Golf - New Zealand has over 400 registered golf courses, from local clubs to internationally renowned resorts, offering uncrowded golfing & superb scenery
  • Hang-gliding
  • Heli-hiking at Fox Glacier
  • Hiking - New Zealand has a number of national parks and other wilderness and forested areas, much of which is managed by the Department of Conservation 40 The activity known in other countries as hiking, trekking or bushwalking is known as tramping in New Zealand and is a very popular activity for visitors and locals
  • Horse trekking
  • Hot-air ballooning
  • Hunting - several species of deer, wild pig wild boar, tahr, chamois, goat, wallabies they are protected in Australia but a pest here, game birds
  • Ice-climbing
  • Jetskiing
  • Kite surfing
  • Luge on concrete not ice Auckland, Queenstown, Rotorua
  • Mountaineering - this was the training ground for Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first two people to climb Mt Everest
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums
  • Nature tours
  • Paragliding/Parapenting
  • Quad biking
  • Rafting
  • Rap jumping
  • River jetboating - the Hamilton jet was invented by New Zealander William Hamilton
  • Rockclimbing
  • Rugby - the national game Major tournaments include Super 14 and Air NZ Cup New Zealand is hosting the next Rugby World Cup in Sep - Oct 2011 41
  • Sailing - New Zealand has produced many world-champion yachties and is the only country apart from the US to have won and successfully defended yachting's ultimate prize, the America's Cup
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling, especially down to the sunken Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay, not far from Kerikeri
  • Sea kayaking Abel Tasman Marine Reserve
  • Shark cage diving Kaikoura
  • Skiing and snowboarding including heli-skiing Queenstown
  • Skydiving
  • Surfing
  • Swimming with dolphins Kaikoura, Bay of Islands
  • Swimming with seals
  • Whale watching Kaikoura
  • White water rafting Fox Glacier
  • White water sledging / dam dropping
  • Windsurfing
  • Zorbing invented here Agrodome in Rotorua
  • Zoos

Buying stuff in New Zealand

One thing of note is that the smallest coin is 10c, since New Zealand reduced the size of its silver cent coins in 2006, and eliminated the 5c piece The 10c piece is a coppery colour similar to a US or UK penny The 20c piece is silver with a Maori carving depicted, as is the 50c piece with captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour The gold $1 features a kiwi, whilst the $2 features a heron Banknotes come in $5 orange with Sir Edmund Hillary, $10 blue with Kate Sheppard, $20 green with Queen Elizabeth II, $50 purple with Sir Apirana Ngata, and $100 red with Lord Rutherford of Nelson

On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and before 1:00pm on Anzac Day 25 April, all but a few essential businesses must be closed While many traders flout this regulation, the matter has for many years been being reviewed by the government If you are in New Zealand on one of these days, ensure you have all your needs met prior to the date

Electronic banking/purchasing

New Zealanders are amongst the highest users of electronic banking services in the world Automatic teller machines ATMs, locally known as 'the hole in the wall', are available in just about every town, even those without a bank Most shops have Eftpos Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale terminals for debit and credit cards, so most purchases can be made electronically Credit cards are not accepted by some merchants with Eftpos, especially smaller food retailers such as dairies, takeaways and cafes that do not serve alcohol Also smaller retailers may often set a minimum purchase of around $10 when obtaining cash, if they agree to provide cash Banks offer a wide range of telephone and Internet banking services If you are going to be in New Zealand for a while it may be convenient to open a New Zealand bank account and set up a local debit card, to avoid carrying a lot of cash around

Price negotiation

Because of strong advertising laws, the displayed price is normally the purchase price for most goods sold in New Zealand The principle The price stated is the price you pay is strongly ingrained in New Zealand culture

Most retailers will not negotiate on price, though some have a formal policy of matching the competition and will match or even discount their prices for you if you can find a better price for the exact same product elsewhere However, this seems to be changing as there are stories about people finding appliance and electronics stores very willing to negotiate on price in order to get business, especially if you're looking at high-end items or have a shopping list of multiple high-priced items Some places you have to ask for a discount, while others have salespeople that offer discounts on pricey goods as soon as they approach you

Taxes and fees

Unless it says otherwise the price includes GST Goods and Services Tax, or sales tax of 125% 15% from 1 October 2010 Some shops, especially in tourist destinations, will ship purchases overseas, as export goods which are not subject to GST Ask about this service before making your purchase Goods purchased and taken with you will be subject to GST You can claim GST back on items to the value of more than $700 at the time of your departure as if you were exporting them You must have the items and receipts with you You should allow extra time air-side of the airport to process this transaction

On public holidays, some establishments such as cafes may charge a holiday surcharge in the region of 15%, supposedly to cover the cost of employing staff who are working on the holiday This is a recent development because current holiday legislation requires workers who work on public holidays to be paid at one-and-a-half times their normal wage and be given a equal time off in lieu as a minimum The legality of this surcharge is questionable if not advertised openly or notified at the time of placing an order and should be challenged


In lodgings, restaurants, and bars the prices charged include the services provided and tips are not expected, though the practice is becoming more common, especially bars, cafes, and restaurants that cater for tourists However, do not be surprised or offended if you receive bemused looks or if your tip is initially refused or questioned as tipping is still a relatively new phenomenon and it is also a form of courtesy in New Zealand culture to first decline such a gesture before accepting it For some New Zealanders' their unfamiliarity with tipping can make them ill-at-ease with it when travelling in countries where it is practised It can be viewed very negatively by New Zealanders as being made to 'pay twice', or as a form of bribery Staff in some establishments may risk their job in accepting a tip, although this is relatively uncommon In the major cities, tipping tends to be embraced by workers, especially over the summer when students wait tables for part-time work Tipjars may be placed on counters, but these are for loose change and although it is appreciated, you are not expected to place coins in them It is common practice and polite to donate your spare change from the meal to what ever charity has a collection jar on the counter, and this acts as the standard substitute for tipping

Food and eating in New Zealand

New Zealand has a wide range of eating places, from fast food outlets to stylish restaurants Many petrol stations have a convenience store with sandwiches or food such as pies that can be microwaved on-site International fast food chains include KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut and Subway On the North Island, try BurgerFuel, a New Zealand chain which makes freshly cooked burgers served with kumara chips and dipping sauce There are also many independent, owner-operated takeaways outlets selling one or more of burgers, pizzas, fried chicken, Chinese or other Asian fast food or fish and chips At least a burger bar and/or fish and chip shop can be found in almost any small town or block of suburban shops The humble fish and chip shop is the archetypical New Zealand fast food outlet The menu consists of battered fish portions deep fried in oil together with chunky cut potato chips as well as a range of other meats, seafood, pineapple rings and even chocolate bars, all wrapped in newsprint paper-today it is unprinted but traditionally it was yesterday's newspaper, until someone decided it was unhealthy A good meal can often be had for under $5, a bad one for the same price


New Zealand's cultural majority, mainly British, do not have a definitive and recognisably distinct cuisine that differs markedly from the traditional British cuisine However there are a number of small differences

  • Roast kumara - the sweet potato Ipomoea batatas roasted in the same manner as potatoes and often served instead of or alongside May also be deep fried like potato chips and known as kumara chips - nice served with sour cream but rarely done well as kumara cooks at a different temperature than potatoes, so it needs a skilled chef for the dish to be done perfectly
  • Pavlova, or pav, a cake of whipped egg whites baked to have a crusty meringue-like outside but soft in the middle, topped with whipped cream and decorated with sliced fruit The dessert is also common in Australia, and there is debate between the two countries as to where it was first invented
  • ANZAC biscuits - Plain hard biscuits made primarily from oatmeal bound with golden syrup Originally made for and by ANZAC troops during the First World War Also found in Australia
  • Pies - New Zealanders eat large numbers of non-flakey-pastry meat pies containing things like beef, lamb, pork, potato, kumara, vegetables, and cheese Some companies now market ranges of "gourmet" pies and there is an annual competition for the best pie in a variety of catagories
  • Kiwifruit - A plum-sized green fleshed fruit, with fine black seeds in the flesh, originating from China, selectively bred in New Zealand, and first known to the home gardener as the Chinese Gooseberry Now commercially farmed, with production centred on Te Puke but in many orcharding areas Slices often served on pavlova Known by its full name of kiwifruit and never shortened to kiwi in New Zealand, as kiwis are endangered birds or New Zealanders
  • Whitebait - The translucent sprat or fingerlings of native freshwater fish species that migrate from spawning in the sea each year After being caught in coastal river mouth set or hand nets during November/December, this highly sought after delicacy is rushed to all ends of the country Served in a fried pattie made from an egg based batter May be seasonally available from a local fish and chip shop Is served without gutting or deheading

The Maori also have a distinctive cuisine…

  • The hangi or earth oven is the traditional way that Maori cook food for large gatherings Meat, vegetables and sometimes puddings are slowly steam-cooked for several hours in a covered pit that has previously been lined with stones and had a hot wood fire burn down in it
  • Kaimoana literally: sea food - particularly shellfish gathered from inter-tidal rocks and beaches as well as crayfish rock lobster and inshore fish caught on a line or with nets Species such as paua blackfoot abalone and toheroa have been overfished and gathering restrictions are strictly enforced, while green mussels are commercially grown and sold live, or processed, in supermarkets WARNING While it is almost extremely common to see people collecting shellfish, crustaceans and other kaimoana, there are a number of rules one must be aware of often these are posted on signs at the approaches to the collecting area If in doubt, check with a local Rules may be seasonal or all-year catch limits set by the Ministry of Fisheries, or they may be that certain areas are reserved solely for tangata whenua, or a combination Also at times areas may have a prohibition against them for health reasons

Drinking in New Zealand

New Zealanders have a reputation for enjoying their beer Although there are now only three major breweries, there are many regional brands, each with their own distinctive taste and staunch supporters

Take care when and where you indulge in public New Zealand has recently introduced liquor ban areas--that means alcoholic drinks cannot be consumed or even carried in some streets, such as city centres and popular beaches, at certain times of the day or night Police can instruct you to empty bottles and arrest you if you do not comply

The New Zealand wine industry has developed into a significant export industry New Zealand is now known as one of the top producers of Sauvignon Blanc The Hawkes Bay region is well known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and more recently Viognier varieties Marlborough is the largest wine producing region and famous for its Sauvignon Blanc Waipara in North Canterbury specialises in Riesling and Pinot gris Further south in Central Otago, Pinot Noir is produced in the most concentrated of styles Many vineyards now offer winery tours, wine tasting and sales from the vineyard

The minimum legal purchase age for alcohol in New Zealand is 18, and can only be supplied to under-18s via a parent or legal guardian It is universal policy for bars and retailers to ask for photo identification from any patron who looks under the age of 25, and the only forms of identification accepted are a valid New Zealand or overseas passport, a valid New Zealand driver licence, or a valid Hospitality Association of New Zealand HANZ 18+ card

Coffeehouses are a daytime venue in many of the larger cities and tourist destinations The cafe culture is notable in downtown Wellington, where many office workers have their tea breaks Most coffee styles, cappuccino, latte, espresso/short black, long black, flat white, vienna etc, are usually available Cappuccinos are probably the most popular and are usually served with a choice of cinnamon or chocolate powder sprinkled on top Its usual to request which one you want Fluffies are a small frothed milk for children, sprinkled with chocolate powder

Bottled water, both flavoured and unflavoured, available in most shops Not that there is anything wrong with the tap water, it is just that some town supplies are drawn from river water and chlorinated Most town supplies are fluoridated If you do not want to pour your money down the drain, fill your own water bottle from the tap, unless you find it is too heavily chlorinated for your taste

Tap water in New Zealand is regarded as some of the cleanest in the world; it is safe to drink from in all cities, most come from artesian wells or freshwater reservoirs - however, some are from rivers which can be chlorinated to be made safe but do not taste very nice Some of the water in Auckland comes from the Waikato river, a long river that has its source in Lake Taupo in the centre of the North Island But by the time it reaches Auckland, it has been treated so that the quality is no worse than that of the Thames in London or the Hudson in New York Auckland water is also drawn from run-off reservoirs in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges Tap water in places such as Christchurch and Hastings is not chlorinated at all as it is drawn from the pure artesian aquifers of the Canterbury and Heretaunga plains

L & P or Lemon & Paeroa is a sweet carbonated lemonade style drink said to be "world famous in New Zealand" It is a sold in a brown plastic bottle with a yellow label similar to the traditional brown glass bottles it used to be sold in Generally one for the kids or parties as it mixes quite well with whisky It is now manufactured in Auckland by Coca-Cola

Accommodation in New Zealand

New Zealand offers a wide range of accommodation

International quality hotels can be found in the major cities And New Zealanders seem to have perfected the art of the top-end homestay Hosted luxury lodges are the top-end equivalent of the bed-and-breakfast market and New Zealand has upwards of 40 internationally recognised lodges Per capita, that's probably the highest in the world They tend to be situated away from cities, though some are right in the heart of the major centres, and can be difficult to get to At the very top-end, helicopter transfers and private jets help the luxury traveller move between the lodges they've chosen for their visit

Motels of a variety of standards from luxury to just adequate can be found on the approaches to most towns

There is a wide range of backpackers accommodation around the country, including a network of Youth Hostels that are members of the Youth Hostels Association 62 in 2004, and a network of Nomads Hostels 42

Bed and Breakfasts are popular with visiting Brits and Swiss as well as homestays, farmstays and similar lodgings - some of which are in the most unlikely places

For uniquely New Zealand accommodation, there are Maori homestays and tourist-catering marae stays

There are a number of commercial camping grounds around the country, as well as camping sites within all of the national parks One way that many tourists travel around New Zealand is in a self-contained campervan, a motorised caravan or large minibus, that can be driven by anyone who holds an ordinary car driver's licence

If you are travelling into the backcountry, the Department of Conservation has many backcountry huts that can be used under a permit system

Free camping is also available in many places Unless there is a "no camping" sign it is common to find a tent or hammock pitched for the night in many picnic areas or in a grove of trees off the road Cycle tourists especially will rarely need to pay for camping, only for showers and laundry Multi-day camping in these areas is often frowned upon, and in conservation areas camping outside designated areas may attract a fine

New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world after the UK to develop a dense WWOOF 43 network WWOOF is a world wide network where travellers "WWOOFers" stay as volunteers on farms and receive food and accommodation in exchange for half a days help for each night they stay The Nelson Tasman region in the South Island is particularly rich in WWoOFing possibilities

Couchsurfing is popular in New Zealand with most major centres sporting active forums and groups as well as having hosts all around the nation 44

Working in New Zealand

To work in New Zealand you need to be a citizen or current permanent resident of either New Zealand or Australia, or else have a work permit or appropriate visa If you are intending to work in New Zealand you should obtain a work permit along with any tourist visas you might apply for

You will also need to have a New Zealand bank account, as most employers pay using electronic banking rather than in cash; an Inland Revenue Tax Number, as witholding tax or income tax will be deducted from your wages by your employer; and a tax declaration form, as tax will be deducted at the no declaration rate of 45% unless you have a tax code More information about New Zealand's tax system, including appropriate forms, can be obtained from Inland Revenue 45

The process of applying for an IRD number is between 8-10 working days You will need to fill in the IRD number application form, and provide a photocopy of a passport or New Zealand birth certificate It is possible to apply for the IRD number, then call the department around a week later to request the number by phone, however this will depend on the workload of the processing centres at the time Calling the IRD requires several forms of ID, it is ideal to be able to provide your passport number and full address when requested

New Zealand operates a simplified tax system that tends to collect more tax than people need to pay because employers pay their worker's tax when they pay their workers The obligation is then on the worker to claim overpaid tax back, rather than declaring their income and paying any extra tax Be careful though, if you choose to work in New Zealand and you stay more than 183 days in any 12-month period, your worldwide income could be taxed New Zealand has double taxation agreements with several countries to stop tax being paid twice A safe rule of thumb is to pay all tax demands and Not seek claims for redress on any matter

Being a foreigner means that your New Zealand income is subject to local income tax at the fullest levels Although many people believe that they can collect all their tax back when they leave the country, this is not true It may be the case that filing an income tax return may result in a small refund if working for only part of the year; however, this is not likely the case Tax in all its forms in New Zealand amounts to around half of a worker's income

Short term

New Zealand is currently 2007 experiencing a period of full employment as it experiences a higher than average migration churn when compared to other OECD countries Therefore many positions can not be filled and a number of employers are having difficulties finding workers, particularly short term workers and businesses often cite this as a restriction on further growth A good starting point for interested job-seekers is: 46

Seasonal work such as fruit picking and other agricultural work is sometimes available for tourists such as backpackers formally but always available illegally More information about legal seasonal fruit picking work can be found at Pick NZ 47

New Zealand has a number of reciprocal Working Holiday Schemes, which allow people between 18 and 30 to travel and work in New Zealand for up to one year and vice versa At present young citizens of a number of countries from Europe, South America, North America and Asia can apply These schemes are enormously popular and in many instances participants can apply to stay in New Zealand longer once they have completed their one year stay Information on all the various schemes and application details can be found at: 48

Long term

If you want to stay in New Zealand long term, you should apply well ahead of time New Zealand operates a points system for assessing applicants

Refugee applications should be made before arrival since NZ has a formal refugee induction programme

Those who turn up in a New Zealand airport arrival lounge without papers, claiming refugee status, may find themselves put on a return flight to their country of origin or in jail awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings


Volunteering is a great way to get to meet locals and see the island, National Parks and nature reserves of New Zealand You can speak with the local Department of Conservation office about volunteering opportunities or choose from any number of worldwide organizations that offer extended travel for anyone willing to volunteer their time to work with locals on projects such as community development, conservation, wildlife sanctuary maintenance & development, scientific research, & education programs

  • Global Volunteer Network 49
  • Volunteer New Zealand 50
  • International Student Volunteers New Zealand 51
  • New Zealand Rain Forest Conservation 52
  • New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers 53

Cities in New Zealand

ahipara  amberley  athenree  auckland  awanui  balclutha  blackball  bluff  bombay  brightwater  bulls  burnham  cheviot  christchurch  clinton  clyde  coromandel  culverden  darfield  dargaville  dobson  dunedin  dunsandel  edendale  edgecumbe  egmont village  eltham  fairlie  foxton  franz josef  frasertown  gisborne  greymouth  halcombe  hamilton  hanmer springs  harihari  hastings  havelock  hawera  himatangi  hokitika  hunterville  invercargill  kaeo  kaitangata  kaiwaka  kakanui  kaponga  karamea  karitane  katikati  kawakawa  kawerau  kawhia  kerepehi  kerikeri  kurow  lake tekapo  leeston  leigh  levin  lincoln  lower hutt  lumsden  maketu  mamaku  manaia  manapouri  manutuke  mapua  masterton  matata  maungatapere  maungaturoto  meremere  methven  milton  moerewa  murchison  muriwai beach  murupara  napier  nelson  new plymouth  ngatea  ngunguru  north shore  nuhaka  ohaeawai  ohai  ohura  okaihau  okato  omarama  opotiki  opunake  otaki  otane  otautau  otematata  otorohanga  outram  owaka  oxford  paengaroa  paeroa  paihia  palmerston north  parakai  pareora  patea  patutahi  piopio  pleasant point  porirua  raglan  rahotu  rakaia  ranfurly  ratana  rawene  reefton  reporoa  riversdale  riverton  riwaka  rolleston  rongotea  ruatoria  ruawai  russell  sanson  seddon  sefton  southbridge  stirling  tairua  takaka  takapau  taneatua  tapawera  taupo  tauranga  te anau  te horo  te kaha  te karaka  te kauwhata  thames  timaru  tirau  tokomaru bay  tokomaru  tokoroa  tolaga bay  tuai  tuatapere  turangi  urenui  waharoa  waihi beach  waihi  waikuku  waimana  waiouru  waipawa  wairoa  waitakere  waitara  waitati  waitoa  waiuku  wakefield  wallacetown  wanaka  wanganui  warkworth  warrington  waverley  wellington  wellsford  westport  whakatane  whangamata  whangarei  whitianga  winton  woodend  woodlands  wyndham  

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