New Zealand Local Custom Tips by Kakapo2 Top 5 Page for this destination
New Zealand Local Customs: 137 reviews and 118 photos
Come on, baby, light your fire...
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 chance to sue me for insult. But he has deserved it. And at least I can tell you that his farm is west of Rakaia on the South Island.
He is one of those Kiwis who never learn. They burn their rubbish (not to speak of the stubble fires that become traffic hazards, and not to speak of the effects on the environment) although they know of New Zealand's unpredictable winds. And so he did. When the nor'westerly picked up suddenly, the fire spread across the farm and lit up the piggery where the poor pigs came to death or were injured so badly they had to be put down. I can imagine their horrible squeaking.
Of course, the farmer was totally surprised. It is local customs in NZ to be surprised when a fire gets out of control, even if it happens after several hot summer days without a drop of rain. He said everything went up and pulled other rubbish and paper into the blaze, and the blaze raged across the paddock and lit hay bails, it was like petrol going on, and, of course, that he had never seen anything like this before.
I am sure the fire brigade could have told him that this is absolutely normal in such conditions, because they are always there to save lives and properties, on the dispense of all other people. I am sure the marks of the blaze will remind him of the incident for some weeks, and then he will carry on as usual - like car drivers who witness an horrific accident. And if ever a fire sweeps over his farm again he will be surprised again.
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 call pupils pupils but students. So we have six year old students who can barely read, ten year old students who can hardly count to ten - and sure, lucky us, we also have students who study at university and some day become the elite of the country. Of course, university students can also turn into idiots at some point in their lives, but this is another story ;-)
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 first Monday in June.
Actually there are discussion if NZ should not have a new National Day, because Waitangi Day (6 February) is considered by many people only as the most important day of the year for Maori but not for all Kiwis. And to many it is only a reminder of ongoing controversy about justice and injustice of the Treaty of Waitangi from 1840 in which British sovereignty over NZ was established. Maori and Europeans have always understood it in different ways due to inaccurate translations and (mis)interpretations of certain terms.
Another very important day is ANZAC Day on 25 April. It commemorates the anniversary of the 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.
On ANZAC Day the shops are closed in the morning. The only two days on which shops are closed are Good Friday and Christmas Day (25 Dec).
So you don't have to worry about shopping, and remembering all public holiday dates. In this respect NZ has made a change in the fast lane. When I travelled here the first time in 1991 we were happy when we could get coffee and petrol on a Sunday, now you can shop year-round with those two and half exceptions.
Additionally to the national holidays every region has its anniversary day which are sprinkled over the whole year.
Guy Fawkes Day (5 Nov) is celebrated but is no public holiday, as is the case with Halloween when children walk from house to house and try to get as many sweets as possible.
The main holiday season is from mid December to the end of January during the summer school holidays. This is the time when it can become difficult to find accommodation in tourist centres.
Kiwis - including bears - grow up with marmite.
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 Kiwiana, collectible and not so collectible items like hokey-pokey ice-cream ;-)
All New Zealanders cherish everything Kiwiana which includes heroes like Sir Edmund Hillary and the sports stars like Bruce McLaren and the All Blacks. There are fancy dress Kiwiana parties which guys attend in black singlets, shorts and gumboots, and women wrapped into New Zealand flags and wearing jandals (thongs, flip-flops).
The most unique kiwi icon is, of course, the kiwi - the bird, but kiwifruit as well. The bird gave the New Zealanders their nickname.
You might not have heard of Buzzy Bee - this has been a children's favourite since the 1940's. Other things you can better imagine are the sheep, sure - as we still have 40 million of them. Or the silver fern which is on the jerseys of all NZ sports teams. And bungy jumping. The pohutukawa. Swanndri bush shirts and paua shells.
If you look at the many overweight people in the streets you will not be surprised that Fish'n'Chips is part of the Kiwiana craze, as well as baked beans or spaghetti on toast, meatpie, tomato sauce (not ketchup!), a fizzy drink named Lemon & Paeroa, marmite and vegemite, weet-bix and BBQ.
Actually there is a very nice ad of an insurance company on TV in which they tell you you should insure yourself against theft, and show Kiwi icons being stolen by foreign nations, like the Team NZ skippers Coutts and Butterworth by the Swiss sailing syndicate Alinghi, the opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa by the English, Crowded House by the Aussies, and finally the famous pavlova, a meringue cake topped with cream, strawberries and kiwifruit, disappears - as the Aussies (falsely) claim that this was their invention.
Other Contact: http://www.kiwianatown.co.nz
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