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Thread: Cultural differences

  1. #1
    tottefan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cultural differences

    I wondered if there are any cultural differences between the English/british and New Zealanders. I know NZ is an English speaking country but are the values/customs/cultures that different?

    P.S I haven't posted on here for a while because I've been at university for about a month. Everything is going well so far. :icon_biggrin:

    Tottefan.

  2. #2
    Glenda's Avatar
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    Default Cultural differences

    Hmmmmm ....

    It seems to me that New Zealand culture revolves around rugby, the great outdoors, weather, food and people. I would say that British culture revolves around soccer, shopping, tv, weather and the state of the country. Of course, there is music, theatre, literature, politics in both countries but IMO if you chatted to someone the above subjects are most likely to be discussed first.

    Customs ... not much different to the UK. Kids (and adults) don't like to wear shoes and this is accepted everywhere. Shopping is not as important here - most shops close at 12noon on a Saturday and don't open again till Monday; (of course, there are the exceptions but generally leisure time is valued). When invited to a party or meal, it is customary to bring a plate of food. It is polite to take shoes off when entering a house. Maoris of course have their traditional customs which although don't rub off too much on Pakeha life, they still have to be respected.

    Values? About the same. From what I can gather marriage is probably a little more important here and I think there is more respect between courting couples (in that it is slightly less likely your child will be influenced to have underaged sex). Friendliness and politeness are more important here. It is impolite to talk about how much money you have ... especially if you are an immigrant ... and being flashy and extravagent is frowned on. NZers are proud of their country and cannot comprehend how small and insignificant they are compared to the larger populations, cultures and economies of most other countries of the world. (They almost desperately latch onto any NZ connection to world event.) Kids are taught to be patriotic at school ... rightly so!

    Just my own impressions. I am sure there are more points I've missed, but that is all I can think of at the moment.
    ::):
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

  3. #3
    fisheress's Avatar
    fisheress is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cultural differences

    Sounds good to me! Just can't wait to get there to see for myself!

    Fisheress

  4. #4
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    Default Cultural differences

    [img:d900a111ab]http://tcwozere.co.uk/smileys/ac42.gif[/img:d900a111ab] Glenda
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  5. #5
    netchicken is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cultural differences

    Good post Glenda :)
    I have to say that with a population of only 4 million, which is less than the population of unemployed in some cities, that NZ DOES punch well above its weight in world events.

    Don't forget our sporting events against Australia alone are against a population 5 times our size with at least twice as much money invested in sport. Its amazing how many times we can kick their collective butts, especially in their own speciality events such as the League last night.

    Because of our distance from world events there is less stress or worry about whats happening overseas. This difference is particulary noticable between Germans and New Zealanders. :) When the gulf war was on it was little more than reality TV to many people.

    Sometimes that lack of concern can be an issue, on the TV1 news last night, (The premier news station) 90% of the news were silly domestic issues, like a 30 sec clip on the new Air NZ uniforms, or in one funny item recently a cat stuck up a palm tree for an entire week :) They were considering just shooting the cat as they couldn't get it. Here

    It often seems that nothing much happens in countires in Europe, and Great Britian must be sooo boring, as we rarely hear anything apart from sport, royalty and Blair.

    When I was in London I noticed that the British had more of a pub culture, which we don't have, and indeed as Glenda said, NZ'ers are more interested in outdoors activities.

    For example football (soccor) is just not on the radar for most people because NZ is pathetic, with the national team, failing to win anything :) Yet European football results are still shown every night on TV news. I suspect if they disappeared no one would notice the absence, its a hang on from the past.

    Whereas our cycling and triathalon successes have lead to many taking up this form of exercise. We have "womans only" triathalons that are so successful its amazing http://www.activewoman.co.nz/ and http://www.tri.co.nz/ also kayaking, running, and tramping, are popular now.

    I also found some people in london were more concerned about the quality of the food they ate (being lower) and were often vegetarian or ate little meat because they were afraid of the meat products. What with the food scares there I don't blame them.

    I suspect however that these differences are merely 5% of the total culture. I think british would easily fit in without any noticable differences (except a pasty white appearance for the first 6 months)

    Probably the biggest difference is in the celebration of Christmas. In this New Zelanders have got it right.

    Christmas, outside of the religious aspect, is all about bbq's, holidays, sun, beaches, boating, steak, tramping, camping, salads, beach parties, etc. None of this huddling in the house around a plastic tree eating steamed puds and watching TV.

    [quote:da95e04f4d="Glenda"]Hmmmmm ....
    NZers are proud of their country and cannot comprehend how small and insignificant they are compared to the larger populations, cultures and economies of most other countries of the world. (They almost desperately latch onto any NZ connection to world event.) Kids are taught to be patriotic at school ... rightly so!

    ::):[/quote:da95e04f4d]

  6. #6
    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Cultural differences

    [quote:8cb828444e="netchicken"]It often seems that nothing much happens in countires in Europe, and Great Britian must be sooo boring...[/quote:8cb828444e]
    Sounds like the States, unless it's gossip about the royals.

    Good info, Glenda. It jives with my impressions. In the big cities, shopping is a bit more of a sport than in smaller towns, but nothing compared to mall crawling in the States.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
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  7. #7
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    Default Cultural differences

    [quote:42124d1f22]Christmas, outside of the religious aspect, is all about bbq's, holidays, sun, beaches, boating, steak, tramping, camping, salads, beach parties, etc. None of this huddling in the house around a plastic tree eating steamed puds and watching TV.[/quote:42124d1f22]


    If I wasn't sold on nz before, I am now!!!

    fantastic!!

    This will , hopefully, be my last such Christmas and next year I'll be sunning myself with the turkey on the barbie and the kids practising their surfing.. :icon_lol: can't wait.

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Cultural differences

    [color=blue:0fa92701bd]This is from a NZ immigration information site:[/color:0fa92701bd]

    [b:0fa92701bd]SOCIAL VALUES[/b:0fa92701bd]

    New Zealanders have a very similar way of life and share values common to most Western countries but there are some special features. ?Kiwis? are passionate about sport and have a firm belief in social equality. The social welfare system prevents extreme poverty, and the nation has neither a strong class system nor major social tensions. Some minor ethnic tensions exist, but are low by international standards and goodwill between races is usually evident.

    [b:0fa92701bd]Informality and Friendliness[/b:0fa92701bd]
    New Zealand people dislike formality and people tend to see each other as ?equals?. Neighbors and people in the workplace are normally on first-name terms. However, it is still common to speak more formally to people in authority. For example, a doctor might be called ?Doctor Smith? rather than ?Mary? or ?Bill?. It is also, of course, standard to address police as ?Constable? or ?Officer?. However this title is normally used only when addressing a doctor or policeman in her or her professional capacity. Also, children and teenagers usually speak to adults as ?Mrs Smith? or ?Mr Smith?, unless invited to do otherwise.

    It is also standard to address all correspondence, and particularly job applications, formally to Mr or Ms or Mrs.

    [b:0fa92701bd]Social Relations at Work[/b:0fa92701bd]
    Kiwi people dislike stuffiness and needless formality, and this attitude is evident in the workplace. Most companies are small , with between 5 and 10 employees. In this context, formality is unworkable and managers and business owners usually treat their staff as they would friends. Although relations are inevitably more structured in large organizations, informality and friendliness is still generally the rule.

    Relations between the sexes are egalitarian. Requests from male staff for their female colleagues to ?get a cup of tea? or ?wash the dishes?, and patronizing or sexually motivated remarks about women or girls, are not acceptable. However, old fashioned courtesies such as opening doors for female colleagues, although no longer standard, are still generally appreciated.

    Informality and friendliness also extend to social occasions, and it is common for management to socialize with their staff on equal terms, particularly in small firms, this often extends to entertainment at the manager?s or owner?s home ? often barbecue get-togethers held in the summer months. A standard and rather charming feature of working life in New Zealand is ?Friday Fives?, which generally involves management and staff sharing drinks together in the office after close of work on Friday.

    [b:0fa92701bd]Everyday Behavior[/b:0fa92701bd]
    Many New Zealanders praise new migrants for their good manners and politeness, and you will probably find that New Zealanders are mostly similar to people everywhere when it comes to the types of behavior they like and dislike. For example, they like people to wait their turn in queues, to ask if it is acceptable to smoke, and not to make uninvited sexual advances. When walking down pavements, it is normal to keep left so that people do not have to dodge each other, it is considered rude for groups of people to take most of the pavement width when walking together. It is not considered polite to spit in the street, or to blow your nose on the pavement. All types of personal violence are frowned upon, for example it is increasingly considered unacceptable to smack or otherwise physically discipline children, and more serious instances of family violence are criminal offences.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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