Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I love Kiwis

There seem to be some misconceptions about New Zealand. This is an attempt to thwart them!

First some basics:

New Zealand is in the pacific ocean, east of Australia:

It is not part of Australia. Don't ever say that here! The Kiwis and Aussies like to poke fun of each other. Here's a funny Aussie video:

Some say they are enemies, but it's more like cousins. Now what are Kiwis you may ask?

Kiwis are NZ's favorite native bird:

Kiwis are also a fruit (known as kiwifruit here):

Finally, kiwis are what New Zealanders call themselves:

The moon is here in NZ. It is the same as the moon in the States. It's out at the same time, it's in the same phase, it's the same side:

The stars are here too. Some are the same, others are different. For example, we can see Orion, but it is upside down relative to how you see it in the Northern Hemisphere. You can see many more stars than at home, because we are a very small country in the middle of the ocean. I've never seen brighter stars! They are just amazing. 

The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. We do not have to walk on our hands all the time :) Nothing is "backwards" or "upside down" here. We still have breakfast in the morning, and dinner in the evening. As of Sunday, April 3rd (happy birthday Drew Shirley!), when we go off daylight savings time, New Zealand is
+12 hours relative to Greenwich Mean Time. So we are 16 hours ahead of EST. This does not mean we find out who wins sports games before you (not that I'd care). It does mean that we will be celebrating Easter while it's still Saturday for you. 

Kiwis love rugby. It's like football, only not. Other than that, I have no idea. Every time I've seen it on TV, it just looks like big jumping piles. NZ's national team is the All Blacks. Their name comes from the color of their uniforms. Their symbol is the silver fern:

The silver fern (ponga) gets its name from the color under its leaves: 

Silver Fern
Kiwis are also hilarious. I love them. This is one of the safety videos they show on the Air New Zealand flights (which I saw on my way to Auckland):

There are a few other safety videos worth watching...I'll leave that to you to search out...needless to say, they would never be deemed "appropriate" in the States :)

That being said, Kiwis are much more casual and chill about things than Americans. Everyone is very laid back and willing to help you out. As my MSU advisor told me, "In Australia they say, 'no worries, mate.' But in New Zealand they really mean it!"

Many people walk around barefoot here, guys and girls alike. Some Kiwis I talked to were amazed that you wouldn't be let into, say, an amusement park without shoes in the States. This also occurs when it's cold out. Another odd clothing thing here are stubbies. 

Many guys were them. You get used to it after awhile. 

It just makes it easier to pick them out from the international students.

And then there's the mullet:

I've seen some serious mullets. They are really "cool" here. 

Kiwis drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right side:

You really get used to it. I was watching a clip from a show online, and they were driving in the States, and I really thought there was something wrong about it. 

NZ has no squirrels, snakes, bears, or crocs. There are many less poisonous things than Aus!

NZ also has different plugs. You have to flip the power on from the switch, which I think is really cool. The uncool part is that up is down here, so I constantly get confused trying to turn on the light.

Turning on my lamp, however, is quite complicated. I have to plug the actual plug into a power converter, which plugs into a plug converter, which plugs into the wall. Then I have to flip the switch to turn on the power, and finally flip the switch on the lamp. Yikes!

The Maori are the "natives" to New Zealand. They arrived about 800 years ago. Aotearoa (OW-tae-ah-ro-ah) is what they call NZ. I am taking a class about their culture (nga tikanga maori), so in a few months I'll be able to tell you more about them. They have a chant called a haka. The all blacks perform a haka before each game. It's pretty intimidating:

'Pams' is a huge food brand here. NZ also has delicious apples. My favorite are the Nelson grown galas. 

The best food here, though, are TimTams. They are delicious chocolate cookies. There isn't really a 'kiwi' dish here. They do like their fish and chips though. And jello:

It's a staple to every dessert. Literally. Another of their favorites is hokey pokey. Delicious! Here's my food shelf, all bought at New World:

Here's another funny Kiwi ad:

It took me awhile to really understand what they were saying...the kiwi accent can be hard to pick up sometimes. 

Now that's something else: Kiwis and Aussies do not sound the same at all. Just listen to one of the few thousand videos I've already put up. 

Flight of the Conchords are a kiwi band that was pretty popular in the States a few years back. Here's some clips from them on NZ vs Aus:

I really could go on and on posting videos. I won't. Ya know, maybe. 

Just a few slang words:
jandles = flip flops
kia ora = hello, what's up (in Maori)
sweet az = sweet (az can be added to any adjective to mean a lot)
cheers = thanks

After spending a month here, I really do like the Kiwis. They are much more laid back and chill than Americans. There's lots of little things that they do that make me love them very much. 

1 comment:

  1. Why haven't you updated this at all? Tell us about your classes, your roommates, and take pictures of it all!