TOP 8 Weird Facts About New Zealand (part 2)
New Zealand is an amazing country! Every traveler would tell you that this is one of the most beautiful places to visit! And it is impossible to disagree. We were living in NZ for about one year and we totally fell in love with this country! And then again, we noticed some weird things that kiwis (New Zealanders) tend to do which we wouldn`t do in our country (Latvia, Europe). So let`s continue with some weird things about New Zealand! You can find the first part of this article HERE.
1. Shoes on!
The first thing we noticed is that many kiwis are leaving their shoes on when entering house. It is not so with all of the people, of course, but during this one year we noticed this too many times. In our culture, it is always so that when entering house, shoes have to be taken off. Otherwise, all the dust and things one has stepped in on the street come along. And why to clean house every time after bringing dirt inside? It is just easier not to wear shoes when being inside! In Asia, there are many countries that ask one to remove shoes even before entering beauty salons, pharmacies, shops, not even talking about the temples. But here – people were even surprised when we took our shoes off. And it was hard. We were sharing the flat with one guy who wore his shoes everywhere. And then it became disgusting to move around the house – bathroom floor, carpet in the living room – that all was constantly dirty! We started to keep our shoes on as well. But it is so uncomfortable when feet cannot breathe most of the day! At the end, we managed to explain the guy that it`s so much easier to keep the shoes outside, clean less, feel more comfy at home and not to be afraid to pick up any food that has just fell on the carpet and still use it.
2. But then again – let`s go bare feet!
And the total opposite of the previous point is this – kiwis love to walk bare feet.. outside! You will see people walking bare feet on the street, in shopping centres, malls.. That was so weird! Shoes inside the house and bare feet outside? Some locals told us that this gives them freedom, some said that they cool themselves down like that. Yeah, but then – why do you keep the shoes on when it is not needed? Never before we saw people walking bare feet in the supermarket. But here it was so common! Some went shopping without even changing their nighty! Yeah, what a weird country it is!
3. Cold, cold homes
We stayed in New Zealand in winter time as well. And it was so cold! Yeah, we come from a cold country – it gets to negative 30 in the winter in Latvia. We didn`t experience such temperatures in New Zealand, but we were in bigger discomfort than in Latvian winter! Why? It is just because the homes are so cold! In Latvia, when we go outside, we know soon enough we will be back in hot house, in hot supermarket, we will move around in a hot car or hot public bus. But here it was just terrible! Plus 3 degrees outside and same inside. Homes are cold, wet, moldy. They do not have proper insulation! And only during our stay which was year 2019 government made a law for rental homes to be insulated. Only on 2019! But it was still funny. The owner came, insulated roof and floor and said – “now the electricity bills have to go down, the heater is not needed anymore”. Man! But what about the walls? We just needed to touch a wall to feel that frost trough the body. Yeah, this is a huge issue in New Zealand. Kids are ill, they get breathing difficulties like asthma because of these bad conditions they live in. But, of course, the situation is changing. People start to talk about this more. And we hope that in close future everyone will live in a nice and warm house.
4. People are super-fit. And that`s actually not that weird.
And the previous can be the reason why kiwis do not feel cold. Man, they are so much more endure that we are! People love swimming in their stunning lakes when temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius. They do not wear too many layers, they have adapted those harsh cold conditions that they are constantly subjected to! Moreover, locals seem quite fit. Some go up and down mountains just to walk their dog in the morning. We were just stunned to see mothers with small babies in the lap taking their morning stroll up the mountain! And this we absolutely love about New Zealand. Seems that this is the best country to take care of the health and be fit – nature gives such opportunities. No gym is needed!
5. Why to peel?
Another weird thing we came across in New Zealand was kiwi-style of preparing food. Well, they really do not have many traditional dishes except hangi (the style of cooking when the meat and vegetables are cooked in a pit dug in the ground) that comes from Maori as British came and inhabited this island not that long ago. Pies, fish and chips would be considered the tradtional ones, but they`re no different from those in UK, and also nothing that special. Well, New Zealand has huge variety of sea food so you might try that if you`re not vegetarian. But other than that – for us it was best to cook at home to make the food healthy and suitable for our taste buds. We have to add that many nationalities have brought their own cuisine to this island, therefore you will be able to find Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic foods. But one interesting thing in New Zealand was that people don`t peel their vegetables there! In our part of the world we are used to peel everything – potatoes, carrots, beetroot, and even apples. Yeah, and here it was surprising to get unpeeled veggies in our dish. And that is common. Maybe because their vegetables are more home-grown and farms do not use that much pesticides? Well, we peel them just to be sure we don`t eat all the chemicals that have been used to grow veggies. But New Zealand is different.
6. Cleaning dishes with…a toilet scrub?
Another weird thing for us was that kiwis use unusual things to clean dishes. Their style of dish scrubber really reminded us the toilet scrub. Of course, during that year we spent in New Zealand we got used to many things but this one always felt weird. The scrub that we have used to is rather like a hard sponge than a hard bristle with round-shape end and a long handle. But maybe that`s just us.
7. Burping & sorry
One thing we noticed a lot.. and really A LOT was burping and after apologizing for it. We have spent much time in UK, too, and there it was common as well. So maybe British brought over this bad practice? It was so weird to hear people, especially girls, loudly burping in a room full of people and then just saying “sorry”. And nobody really reacted to it as this is something common. Of course, we know that culture and manners depend on the way person is raised and taught, and also depend on the peers, friends, colleagues and society around. But this was something we heard too often to think that this is just some individuals.
8. That slang
The last but not the least – kiwi slang. Well, this was a bit challenging. As English is not our native language and we only have learned it in school the proper way, we needed some time to figure out some of the expressions kiwis use every day. There are plenty of videos and articles about kiwi slang and words they tend to use in their everyday language, and those helped us to understand what the conversations are about. Yeah, there are those expressions as “Far out!” (means “excellent”) or “Sweet as…” (wonderful).. at the end of which we tend to ask “sweet as what?” If someone says “choice”, it means “great”, “yeah nah” probably will be “no”, “I sussed it out” – “I discovered it” and “togs” is “swimwear”! We can continue this endlessly, but generally you need to be there to understand how this interesting language features work out. And at the end we absolutely loved it!
These were couple of things really surprised us. But it is always nice to immerse into new culture, try to see things that are different and try to love them as they are!