I have heard some ridiculous “truths” about New Zealand and New Zealanders in my (admittingly, short) lifetime. I heard some of them while I lived in America, I’ve heard some of them from overseas travellers and I’ve even heard some of them from New Zealanders themselves. I thought I would take the time today to set the record straight.
1. We are obsessed with rugby. No. I can count on two hands the amount of times that I have watched any form of rugby on the television. I may seem “unpatriotic” but I actually leave the room when my parents are watching rugby because I can’t stand their yelling at the television. That being said, I can admit that we are pretty dang good at the sport.
2. New Zealand is part of Australia. Again, no. We are not. While I lived in America I had to listen to people say that New Zealand was some distant territory/state of Australia. No. We are our own country
and Australia is the devil.
3. That sheep rule the country. Wrong. Once upon a time, there was twenty sheep to every person, but that number has plummeted to seven sheep to one person. So yes, we do have a lot of sheep, but we are not “sheep shaggers” and they certainly don’t appear in flocks on main roads. Sorry to disappoint.
4. New Zealand is a solid landmass. No, we have the North Island, South Island and Stewart Island. We are very creative with our naming process…as you can tell 😉
5. That all of us love ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Yes, I know some die hard fans, but I am not one of them. I haven’t read the books and I’m not planning on watching the movies anytime soon. It is a major selling point for our country, but hobbits do not actually exist. Sorry to disappoint…Again.
6. New Zealand is small. It looks small and we have a small population, but the country itself takes a bit of driving. I know some people who stayed here for a year and they didn’t see everything that they wanted to see. Don’t be deceived. We may be “small” in comparison to other countries, but trying to explore the country properly can be a bit of a challenge. I’ve lived here my whole life (for the most part) and I haven’t been to the capital. What a crime.
7. Everyone is a farmer. This one goes with number three. Yes, we do have a lot of farms, but not everyone is interested in farming. I lived on a farm for ten years of my life and I was thoroughly convinced that I was going to marry a farmer. Ha. The stubbies and singlet is a uniform for most people, no matter what your profession is.
8. That our ‘national bird’ can fly. Um, no. Apparently having wings in this country means nothing.
9. The weather is sunshine and rainbows all the time. Don’t be tricked by the postcard folks! We just got hit by a weather bomb and it is awful here right now (and it’s supposed to be summer!).
10. That we drink like fish. We have been portrayed to be people who sit around and do nothing but play rugby, farm and drink beer. That would be false. Kinda. We do have blow out days where we do nothing but drink, but that happens in every country. However, I wouldn’t complain if the taps started delivering wine every time I used one. I think that would be nice.
11. That ‘crikey!’ is a part of our every day language. Again, no. You’ve confused us for Australia. Again. Congratulations.
12. That we only eat ‘fish ‘n chups’. No. We also have some pretty wicked hokey pokey ice-cream. Our takeaways are pretty great though. There’s nothing like getting some chips wrapped in newspaper and taking them down to the beach on a sunny day. It is magical. You guys are missing out if you haven’t done that at some point of your life.
13. The capital of New Zealand is Auckland. You would think it is because you always hear “Auckland did this…”, “Auckland is hosting that…” in the news, majority of our flights leave from Auckland and a lot of people live there, but it is completely false. Our capital is Wellington. It has been the capital since 1865 and it’ll probably stay that way for a long time yet.
14. That everyone can speak Maori. This is something that every foreigner has thought. I got asked to “speak Maori” a lot when I was living in America, too. I am not a trick pony. I cannot spew random words (that I don’t understand) on cue. Most primary and secondary schools do have a language/culture class and you learn a lot in a short amount of time, but all languages disappear from your memory if you don’t use it constantly.
Hopefully I’ve managed to shed a little light on my small (but beautiful) country! Youl should definitely visit my little corner of the world!