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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

What is the culture like?

New Zealand may be a great big mixing pot drawn from many cultures but Kiwi's have an incredibly strong sense of national identity and don't expect to make any friends if you are heard criticising the country. Traditionally the New Zealand population was made up of Maori (Polynesians who arrived in New Zealand sometime before 1300 AD), pakeha (white people, usually of European descent who began arriving several centuries later) or people of mixed descent of the two. In both cases New Zealander's tend to know their exact lineage. In the case of the Maoris, descent is usually traced back to which canoe or 'waka' their ancestors arrived in. In the case of white Kiwis they will proudly explain their European roots (many are of English, Scottish and Irish heritage) and the big 'Overseas Experience' (OE) which many young Kiwis undertake is often about going back to where their predecessors came from.

Today in New Zealand there are also large numbers of citizens who claim Asian descent but most of these reside in or around the Auckland area. The other main group of New Zealanders are of Polynesian descent, including Cook Islanders, Fijians, Samoans and Tongans.