What Foreigners Really Think Of New Zealandershat


The Secret Traveller



By The Secret Traveller

It’s not like people have got us all wrong – it’s just that they don’t know much about us. New Zealand might have plenty going for it, but worldwide recognition isn’t one of those things. Just yet. Some people don’t even realise we have our own country.

Unsurprisingly, most of what foreigners do know about Kiwis is either from their friends’ bungy-jumping videos, that tour they did on Contiki when they were 19, or Lord of the Rings. It makes for some interesting ideas about what makes the fine citizens of New Zealand tick.

1 We're Crazy

bungee jumping

Ask anyone what they know about New Zealand and they’ll inevitably mention bungy-jumping. That, and every other extreme sport known to man, from paragliding to mountain-biking to sky-diving to snowboarding to white-water rafting. If it’s scary, people think Kiwis are into it. And they’re not far wrong really.   

2 We're Australian


Sigh. Alright fine, the flag is fairly similar. And the accents, I guess, are sort of the same if you’ve never heard a Kiwi or Aussie accent before. But come on! It’s simple geography, people. New Zealand is a different country – far more progressive, and friendly, and better at rugby that its friends on the West Island. Even Aussies can admit that’s true.

3 We All Live In A Tiny Houses And Have Hairy Feet 

hobbit houses

Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings creations have done many wonderful things for the Land of the Long White Cloud, but one of the downsides is that people now genuinely think this is a country strewn with hobbits living in little houses with round doors. Must be a serious disappointment when they arrive and see Auckland. 

4 We Call A Spade A Spade


We don’t mess about. If we think someone is doing something stupid, we’ll tell them they’re doing something stupid. This has developed into a worldwide reputation. Some people think we’re blunt, others just think we’re honest. But people are never left wondering what a Kiwi thinks.

5 We're Obsessed With Rugby


This, obviously, is a by-product of the All Blacks having now won two World Cups in a row. Which I’m sure ain’t no thang, really. It’s now reasonable, however, that most other nations think we’re obsessed with rugby. It’s the national game, and we’re world champions. Twice in row. Like I said: ain’t no thang.

6 We Speak A Different Language


Just try ordering a beer. Or a bear. Or whatever most people from other countries think you’re saying when you go to the bar to get a drink. And then you’ve got your baches, your dairies, your jandals, your cheese rolls… There’s a fair bit of Kiwi slang that goes straight over the head of your average foreigner.

7 We're Hard Workers


This is a handy one, because whenever you rock up somewhere new around the world and start looking for a job, you’re already on the front foot. Kiwis are known as hard workers. We’re known for just getting the job done with a minimum of fuss. No whinging. And then we head down to the pub and take the post-work beer (bear) just as seriously.

8 We're Serious Travellers


From all of those 18-year-olds on Contiki tours to the staff at Whistler ski resort to the Kiwis you find in the weirdest, most far-flung corners of the globe, everyone knows that New Zealanders like to travel. It’s a nation of a mere four million people, and yet it seems like you bump into at least one Kiwi in every single hostel the world over. Makes you wonder if anyone’s actually left at home half the time.



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