Culture & Identity of New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world
that truly embraces the history and culture of the indigenous people, the Maori,
who still make up a small percentage of the people. Today many aspects of Maori
culture have been integrated into general New Zealand culture, although numerous
differences in culture, lifestyle, and occupation between the two groups still exist.
The "kiwis" (as New Zealanders are often called) tend to be very forward
thinking and liberal, with numerous political issues at the forefront of thinking
and education, yet they remain casual and more concerned with maintaining their
lifestyle than they are with money, possessions, or business.
Although there is plenty of land in New Zealand the
people are primarily limited to the flatlands on the North Island and nearly everyone
lives in cities today (most of which are on the North Island). For those who live
in more rural areas jobs differ as farming is popular and the growing tourism industry
is adding many service jobs in rural landscapes. In the cities there are jobs of
all sorts as office jobs and additional jobs in the services industry are common.
On weekends the people love to get out and have fun. Swimming, hiking, and other
sports are common during the nice summer months, while skiing is a favorite in the
winter (although the mountains can be difficult to get to). Team sports seem to
consume a great deal of time for the kiwis as rugby, soccer (football), and cricket
are among the favorites. Pubs, bars, clubs, and movies are also popular for evening
entertainment, but malls and other shops tend to close at about 5:00 or 6:00 pm.
Long vacations are common as everyone gets four weeks of paid vacation so summers
(about November to February) finds most people out of the country or elsewhere in
the country instead of at work.