When visiting New Zealand it is a good idea to understand their culture to get the most out of visiting this very unique and dynamic culture.


New Zealanders are generally a very social and friendly group. They appreciate good manners and a happy relaxed attitude. A smile goes a long way in New Zealand.

New Zealand Travel Tips -

Remember that Australia and New Zealand are different.

New Zealanders do not appreciate being compared to their close neighbour and have their own distinct social and cultural aspects as well as sports rivalries with Australia.

Gifts should not be lavish.

Flowers, chocolates or a book about your home country are well received. A bottle of wine from your home country is appreciated. Gifts are opened when received.

Going to the “dairy” refers to visiting the convenience store.

So if someone sends you to the dairy for some milk – it’s not to the cow farm!

Avoid stereotypes.

This includes avoiding sheep related humour, which is not appreciated. The Haka, the New Zealand traditional ancestral war cry, should never be mocked. Whilst predominately a male war cry, modern times have seen various Hakas have been composed and even performed by women and children. These are generally for amusement, as a hearty welcome, occasions or at funerals.

Remember that the Maori culture has its own rules of etiquette.

Some of these include:

  •  Do not put your hat on the table.
  •  Never sit on a table.
  •  Do not eat or drink when you are inside a meeting house known as “wharenui”. There are designated eating areas and you should not eat until the food is blessed.
  •  Do not wear shoes if you go inside any native Maori sacred meeting places.
  •  Always ask for permission before photographing Maori buildings or landmarks.
  •  Marae are not tourist attractions – they are sacred meeting grounds. Always ask permission before entering a Marae. If you have the opportunity to go on an organised Marae visit, do so, as you will learn about Maori culture, mythology and etiquette.

If you are in Wellington and have time, Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand is well worth a visit.

Last but not least – don’t be afraid to call them Kiwis. Nicknamed after their national bird, this is something New Zealanders refer to themselves as and it is not an offensive term.