Monday, 3 September 2007

Culture of New Zealand

Kia Ora, Hi, Hallo,

When I read Keith's blog I regularly think "oh yeh we've got that and that". This is because New Zealand is in many ways the England of the South Pacific. Complete with scones, muffins, Sunday roast and fish and chips. Cricket is popular and Rugby is the national religion. I still don't know what rugby is all about though and keep preferring soccer to great dismay of the New Zealand people I know. They gave up hope though. The overarching structure in New Zealand is British as well, such
as the parliamentary system and the education system. There are however as many differences as there are similarities.
One thing what is unique about New Zealand is that it is bi cultural since 1980. The Maori language and culture is officially accepted next to the Pakeha (white European) culture. This means that all aspects of live in New Zealand are coloured by Maori ways off acting and thinking. When I worked in the Early Childhood sector for example I got introduced to the Whariki, a Maori concept which means Woven Mat. Goals are set to meat the different needs of a child, represented by the strands of the mat. One Goal is the Mana Reo which promotes the cultural understanding and background of the child. Children at school also learn the Maori Poi dance and the Haka. The Haka is a war dance which is also performed by the All Blacks, the National Rugby team.

In my years as a Scouting leaders I worked alongside Maori leaders and learned a lot about their culture, their respect for nature and got to experience a Hangi. Venison and Wild pig arrived on the back of a pick up truck of one of the leaders and was cooked underground together with kumra's (sweet potatoe) and pumpkin. Very nice. We are absorbing here all the richness of diverse cultures and become multicultural individuals. Something like doing the Haka on clogs in an English garden. Ha Ha.

Another difference is that New Zealand is an egalitarian society. There is a belief, with which I strongly agree, that given equal opportunities people will all succeed, if they set their mind to it. People don't really distinguish themselves here with clothes or language. Intellectual people are not more important than others. Of course there is a bit of a class system based on income but you better don't say it out loud (Oops) and you don't show it openly.
These are just a few examples which show the unique character of New Zealand. My children have already taken on a New Zealand identity and kiwi accent and they will be fully integrated. I think they are privileged to grow up here. We are Dutch kiwi's and proud of both sides.
E noho ra, goodbye, tot ziens, Marja


  1. great to read something about the culture of new zealand. I was there 3 times but next time that I will go there I know a bit more how to act and react to the kiwi's.
    my compliment for your writing marja and hope to see you again next year.

  2. Thanks Bert, I am looking forward to see you again.

  3. What a beautiful Web Log, Marja. You wouldn't believe how many times I tried to find something out about you and I left comment after comment through the email left on my site, only to have it returned as non existing email address. Thanks to a mutual friend, Keith, I found this log. The Dutch Corner shall definitely see me again. Thank you!

  4. OH this is so interesting!!!!!! In some ways it reminds me of Hawaii!. Wonderful article hun.

  5. Hi Magdalen Island thanks don't now what went wrong with the email. It really exists.

    Missy I am happy you liked it.

  6. This is a great article Marja. I love learning about other places around the world. Such a lonely place without it.

    smile, Yep, again & again & AGAIN!!



    more about the maori's. found it on the internet and i want to share it with you.


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