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Culture - New Zealand

maori dancingThe indigenous Maori people of New Zealand have a unique and fascinating language and culture, which has a major part to play in New Zealand life. The love of their culture, the outdoors, sport and the arts make their culture unique in the world.

New Zealanders in general have a unique and dynamic culture, with European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian influences. It is a culture that celebrates many different lifestyles, and these influences make the arts in New Zealand so colourful and unique. Arts and culture are an important and vibrant part of New Zealand life. Much of the art is produced as a sense of identity and nationhood for this country and often the art is communicated from generation to generation.


New Zealand's official languages are English and Maori.

Maori Greetings
Kia ora — Hello
Tena koe — Greetings (said to one person)
Tena koutou  — Greeting everyone
Haere mai  — Welcome
Ka pai  — Good
Haere ra  — Farewell
Ka kite ano — Until I see you again (Bye)

Common Maori Words
Aotearoa – Maori word for New Zealand
haka – chant with a dance for the purpose of a challenge
hangi – Traditional Maori method of cooking
hui – a meeting of any kind, conference, gathering
iwi – people, nation, tribe
kai – food
kaumatua – elder or elders
kumera – Maori sweet potato
marae – the area of a meeting house, dining hall, grounds etc for the local tribe
moana - sea
pakeha – non maori person
puku – belly, stomach
tangata whenua – orginal people of a place, local hosts
tapu – sacred, not to be touched, to be avoided, taboo
wai - water
waiata – song or chant which follows a speech
waka – Canoe
whanau – extended family
whare hui – Meeting House

New Zealand Slang & Colloquialisms
ashfelt - tar
bach – holiday home
biscuits – cookies
bonnet – hood of a car
boot – trunk of a car
chillybin – Eski, Cooler
chips - french fries
dag – amusing person or situation
fizzy - soda pop
flannel - wash cloth
give way - yield (traffic)
hard case - joker; comedian
holiday – vacation
Kiwi - New Zealander
kiwi - an endangered flightless bird native to New Zealand
kiwifruit - kiwi (formerly known as Chinese gooseberry)
lemonade - 7Up or sprite
lollies – sweets/candy
jandals – thongs, flip-flops, slippers
petrol – gasoline
ring - phone/call
rubbish – trash/garbage
serviette - A napkin made of either fabric or absorbent paper
tea – can be dinner or a drink
togs – swim suit
tomato sauce - ketchup
wop-wops - out of the way location


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