If you are planning on moving to New Zealand and starting a new life in this beautiful paradise, you have probably been doing your research on what to do when you get there. However, have you thought about what not to do? Here are some important things that you should avoid when you get to New Zealand:
Do Not Smoke Indoors
In New Zealand smoking is banned in pubs and restaurants, as well as on public transport or in public buildings. If you want to have a smoke you will need to go outside to the designated smoking area. You could also consider quitting before you emigrate to New Zealand – with healthier lungs you will be able to enjoy many more beautiful mountain hikes!
Do Not Get New Zealand and Australia Mixed Up
It is important to remember that New Zealanders are not Australians – they are two completely different countries. New Zealanders will get a little bit annoyed if you call them Australians. There is a gentle rivalry between the two countries and even though deep down they have good relations, they still tease each other and there is a competitive atmosphere.
Do Not Forget Your Manners
Good old fashioned manners are important in New Zealand, so don’t forget to say please and thank you. Things move slower here, so being abrupt and rude won’t get you faster service it will only make people think poorly of you. Being friendly and polite will get you much better reactions from everyone you interact with.
Do Not Barge In With Opinions on Maori Relations
Maori land rights and the overall Maori culture in New Zealand is a very complex topic and it can be a touchy subject for the people you meet. Since you are not from New Zealand, take time to listen to the locals rather than just jumping to a conclusion. Listen to what your friends say, as many people will have very strong views on the subject. Some Europeans will feel victimised for the sins of their ancestors, while others feel guilty for what their ancestors have done.
Many Maori think that compensation is embarrassing while others think it should continue. Some tribes have had different arrangements than others, causing envy for others who haven’t been compensated as much. Talking about this topic can be a minefield depending on who you are discussing it with and if you come in with an ill-informed opinion it could be considered offensive.
Do not Stay Indoors on a Beautiful Day
Why would you waste a sunny day when there are so many beautiful places in New Zealand to see? Your Kiwi friends will shake their heads at you if you spend too much time indoors – why not get outside and go hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, spelunking or cycling through the stunning landscapes of the North and South Islands.
Don’t Be Arrogant
New Zealand culture is very egalitarian and everyone is treated the same. It is considered rude and embarrassing to boast about your accomplishments and gloat about your wins, even for those with the highest status jobs in New Zealand. If you act this way, or you put a lot of emphasis on status or upbringing, you will likely not endear yourself to your Kiwi friends. In Kiwi society everyone is equal, so take a more humble approach and do not act like you are better than anyone else, no matter who you are.
Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen
New Zealand is positioned right underneath the hole in the ozone layer, which means that you are at a significant risk of being sunburnt if you go outside without sunscreen. Make sure that you wear it each and every time you are outside, even if it is cloudy. There is a wide range of sunscreen available at any drugstore, so there’s no excuse for not slapping some on.
These are just a few important things that you should not do in New Zealand. Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do, as it will help you to avoid making a mistake or a big cultural faux pas. Keep these tips in mind so that your move to New Zealand will go more smoothly and you will have a better time fitting into your new home.