After a long hike, a New Zealander in an outdoor jacket is standing on the summit of Mount Cook twelve hours ahead of Germany. Using his cell phone, he tries to get the latest rugby results and celebrates the victory of the All Blacks. This scenario is of course an absolute cliché. It is much more likely that he and his friends will watch the game live in Eden Park.
During a study abroad in New Zealand, the many cultural characteristics of the country are not only revealed in everyday study life. So that the friendly New Zealand Gidday doesn’t cause panic in you, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the cultural peculiarities of New Zealand. A cultural preparation for studying abroad prevents the dreaded culture shock.
Today’s cultural peculiarities in New Zealand express themselves through certain characteristics, which in many cases reflect the British origins and their merging with different cultures. New Zealand society is primarily characterized by helpfulness, respect and solidarity. Most of the people live in urban regions. The New Zealand flag is a testament to its historical connection with Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The national symbols are the kiwi, the silver fern and the color black.
One of the most important reasons to study in New Zealand is to get your own picture of the relaxed local culture. Cultural differences are not an obstacle, but an opportunity to get to know new perspectives.
Origins of New Zealand Culture
Different cultures and ethnic groups have settled in New Zealand over the years. First and foremost, New Zealand culture is divided into Pākehā and Māori cultures. The Māori were the first settlers in the land of the great wide cloud in the 14th century AD. After the Dutch Abel Tasman discovered Nieuw Zeeland three centuries later, more and more Europeans gradually settled on the two islands. The British in particular came in large numbers in the 18th century. The Māori use Pākehā to refer to the European settlers. The term is also used today for non-Māori.
The coexistence of cultures was shaped by war and displacement until the second half of the 20th century. The ratio has been improving again since the 1970s. Especially with the arrival of Pacific Islanders and South and East Asians in the 1980s, New Zealand society changed forever. Today, New Zealand is home to many different cultures and races, and the country’s society is considered multicultural.
As a former colony of the Kingdom of England, New Zealand’s traditions and holidays are still British today. The nation celebrates the birthday of the head of state, the Queen, as well as the Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas. Another important holiday is Waitangi Day to commemorate the 1840 agreement of the same name. The Māori New Year, Matariki, is a nationally celebrated, but not yet a public holiday.
Other areas also bear witness to the close ties to Great Britain. This not only includes fish & chips as the most popular takeaway. The New Zealand study system also developed in line with Great Britain. For example, the then University of New Zealand had all written work corrected and graded there until the Second World War.
The handling of the British national anthem God save the Queen clearly shows the change in New Zealand. It is now customary to alternate between singing the stanzas in English and Māori. In addition, New Zealand is the only country with two national anthems. Since 1977, New Zealanders have stood up to God defend New Zealand with awe.
Even if New Zealand is geographically apart from the political events, events in the world do not leave the island nation untouched. The country fought in both world wars and is today in the midst of global events. New Zealand is particularly innovative and adventurous when it comes to technology. Media literacy is part of teaching in schools. The cultural shift in turning away from British leadership gradually transformed the country. In order to better express this special identity in the melting pot, the New Zealanders recently even voted on a new flag.
Features of New Zealand culture
Cultural peculiarities in New Zealand express themselves, for example, through characteristics that stand out compared to Germany. Our students, who were studying abroad in New Zealand, a country located in Oceania according to holidaysort, describe in their experience reports the people there time and again as particularly friendly, helpful, relaxed and open-hearted.
Today’s New Zealand culture is diverse and of course not only expresses itself through a few characteristics. The British origins and the influences of the Māori as well as Asian or European immigrants shape New Zealand society to this day. A multicultural nation emerged, whose values today are primarily based on mutual respect and trust. Showing initiative is also a welcome quality in an ambitious society based on solidarity. Below are some of the characteristics that reflect the Down to Earth mentality of New Zealand culture.