Life and Leisure
New Zealand's national sport is rugby. However, New Zealanders also participate in a full range of other sporting activities – often with considerable success at international level. Sports hold a high profile in our education system and patterns established in early life tend to continue well into adulthood. Most adults actively participate in at least one team or individual sport, and veteran’s teams catering for players forty years and older are a standard feature of the sporting scene. As with all aspects of New Zealand's social life, a key feature of this and other sporting activities is their accessibility. Almost 15% of New Zealand families own their own boat, and the number of golf courses per capita is the highest in the world. By international standards, club costs are very low and membership is generally open.
Outdoor activities: the wilderness and the sea
Getting away from the crowds is never a problem, and the freedom and safety New Zealanders enjoy in their outdoor pursuits is one of the distinct advantages of life here. Even those living in the major centres are often within less than a twenty-minute drive of open and unspoilt countryside. As a result, many New Zealanders spend their weekends and holidays in the outdoors. Even on weekends, a walk on a lonely beach, alone with the sea and surf, is an option available to most urban residents.
Fishing is New Zealand's most popular sport with 25% of New Zealanders fishing regularly. New Zealand is reputed to have the best trout fishing in the world. There are no private waters and the licence fee is modest. Fishing regulations are strictly observed and trout fishermen are noted for their sporting ethic.
There is no licence fee for sea fishing, but strict regulations apply to fishing methods, maximum catches, fishing seasons and prohibited areas. Specific rules also apply to gathering shellfish. It is forbidden to sell or trade your catch. Breaking the fishing regulations, including those governing the collection of wild shellfish, is totally unacceptable and can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment.
For more information about fresh water fishing, contact the local office of Fish and Game New Zealand
, or a sporting goods shop. For information on sea fishing rules, contact the Ministry for Primary Industries
, on Freephone: 0800 478 537 (0800 4 RULES).
Dinner parties and social events
At dinner parties, it is customary for guests to bring a bottle of wine. It is also quite common, but not obligatory, to ask 'Is there anything I can bring?' Often, the hosts will decline the offer, but sometimes they will suggest that you bring pre-dinner snacks, a salad, a dessert or perhaps after-dinner mints. Sometimes guests will be asked to 'bring a plate'. This is a local phrase that means 'bring some food'. It does not mean that you give a plate to the hosts. If you are asked to 'bring a plate', it is best to ask what sort of food is expected, since this will vary depending on the event.
Parties and the 'do'
If someone says "We're having a 'do', and hope you can come", this means you are invited to a party. If it is a 'do' for your workplace, then it is customary for the management to supply food and drink. If it is a party organised by a club or a group of friends, then it is likely that everyone will bring a share of the food and drink, or will 'chip in' (contribute their share to pay for it). If you are unsure what is expected, do ask – New Zealand customs are very flexible, so 'the locals' often have to ask questions as well.
New Zealand weddings are generally less formal than in other Western countries, but this is not always the case. If you are unsure what to expect, do not be afraid to ask.
New migrants are often startled by the informality of some New Zealand funerals. Personalised funerals designed in line with family wishes, and which follow no particular liturgy, have become increasingly popular. Solemnity and grieving is often combined with 'celebrating the life' of the deceased, and lighter moments are now a feature of most funerals. Formal dress is not obligatory and semi-formal dress is increasingly common. An important exception to this pattern is the tangi, the traditional Maori funeral. These are solemn rituals, at which marae protocol is strictly observed.
New Zealand celebrates 11 public holidays a year, on days of national, religious or cultural significance. The public holidays are:
|1. Christmas Day|| 25 December |
|2. Boxing Day ||26 December |
|3. New Year's Day ||1 January |
|4. 2 January ||2 January |
|5. Waitangi Day|| 6 February marking the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi |
|6. Good Friday|| The Friday before Easter, which usually falls in late March or early April |
|7. Easter Monday|| The Monday after Easter
|8. Anzac Day ||25 April - A national day of remembrance that honours the nation's war dead|
|9. Queen's Birthday|| The Monday after the first weekend in June |
|10. Labour Day|| The last Monday in October celebrating the introduction of the 8-hour working day |
|11. Anniversary Day ||The Anniversary Day of each province – dates vary from province to province. |
Every person is entitled to these 11 days' holiday. If any of the first four days happens to fall on a weekend when most people do not work, the holiday itself still occurs on that day, but the legal entitlement to a day off work is transferred to the next Monday or Tuesday.
The National Anthem
New Zealand's National Anthem is sung at many formal and sporting occasions. Normally, only the first two verses are sung in English and Maori.
|God of Nations! At thy feet || E Ihoa, Atua|
|In the bonds of love we meet.|| O nga Iwi Matou ra.|
|Hear our voices we entreat, || Ata whakarongo na,|
|God defend our free land || Me aroha noa.|
|Guard Pacific's triple star || Kia hua ko te pai|
|From the shafts of strife and war. || Kia tau to atawhai.|
|Make her praises heard afar, || Manaakitia mai,|
|God defend New Zealand. || Aotearoa.|
|Men of every creed and race || Ona mano tangata|
|Gather here before Thy face, || Kiri whero, kiri ma,|
|Asking Thee to bless this place,|| Iwi Maori Pakeha,|
|God defend our free land. || Rupeke katoa,|
|From dissension, envy, hate || Nei ka tono ko nga he|
|And corruption guard our State. || Mau e whakaahu ke.|
|Make our country good and great,|| Kia ora marire,|
|God defend New Zealand. || Aotearoa.|
New Zealand has six free-to-air television channels:
TV1: A mix of British and local drama, documentaries and sporting events. Also features favourites such as Coronation Street.
TV2: Popular New Zealand programmes, such as the soap opera Shortland Street and well-known American shows such as
TV3: Sports and high-rating American programmes, such as Oprah Winfrey and The Simpsons.
PrimeTV: Documentaries, nature programmes and dramas.
Maori Television: Something for all age groups from children's programming to news, sport and documentaries – mostly broadcast in te reo Maori (the Maori language).
There are also some national and regional cable channels:
Sky Television: A subscription TV service with multi-channels that show movies, sports, news, documentaries, magazine programmes and teenage dramas.
The two main state-owned radio stations are National Radio, which has many current affairs programmes, and Concert FM, which specialises in classical music. There are more than 20 Maori language radio stations, and more than 200 private radio stations that mostly specialise in various types of popular music and 'talk back' programmes.
New Zealand's larger cities and towns have daily newspapers, and there are two national Sunday papers – these are, however, modest in size when compared with American or British Sunday papers. There is no national daily, but there are many national magazines, both weekly and monthly.