When moving to a new country, it’s always a high priority to make yourself feel at home. And, while New Zealand won’t be much of a culture shock to those moving from the United Kingdom, there are a few subtle differences.
The Kiwi way of life is slower-paced and puts more focus on work/life balance. Kiwis also take great pride in their country and culture. If you’re ready to release your inner Kiwi, here are a few steps to get you on your way.
Drop Your Guard
It may feel like a foreign concept if you’re accustomed to the hustle of London life, but in New Zealand, it’s common to smile and even say hello, in less populated areas. If you’re out for a jog or on a walk through the bush, passersby will be sure to greet you as they pass.
So, make like a local. Don’t be afraid to start conversations, whether a casual chat at a bar or the local farmers market – you never know who you’ll meet! It’s a great way to learn more about the area and get to know the locals. Dropping your guard is the fastest way to integrate into your new community.
Become A Guardian Of The Land
From a young age, New Zealand children are taught to respect the land they live on and act as a guardian. The rule to “take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”, is engrained into all Kiwis, so be sure to adopt the same principles.
Before arriving in New Zealand, learn about the Tiaki Promise and make the commitment to:
“Care for land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace. Travel safely, showing care and consideration for all. And respect the culture and local communities, travelling with an open heart and mind.”
Learn The Language
What better way to respect the culture and local communities of New Zealand than learning to korero (speak) in Te Reo Māori? Start by learning some basic words and phrases, like how to say hello – kia ora! This beautiful language was nearly lost but is seeing a revival thanks to initiatives by the government and iwi (tribes).
And, if you’re ready to take your te reo to the next level, many universities and colleges offer free evening and weekend classes.
By embracing the values of tāngata whenua (the people of the land), you’ll be a true blue Kiwi in no time.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find her on LinkedIn or anywhere good coffee is served.