Mingle enough with New Zealand locals and you’ll start picking up some of their local quirks. Whether you’re a working holiday tourist, a newly settled resident or simply backpacking around the country, it’s likely that you’ve seen these 12 habits in action and even embraced them as your own.
Calling sweet potatoes ‘kumara’
No one in New Zealand uses the term sweet potato. You won’t see it in supermarket shelves and you definitely won’t find it in local recipes – the starchy vegetable is always referred to by its Maori name, ‘kumara’. After hearing it enough times, it’ll be hard to ever call them ‘sweet potatoes’ again, even if you’re communicating in a language other than English.
Using Maori words/phrases in every day conversations…
Greeting someone with ‘Kia Ora’. Telling someone you’re going to get some ‘kai’ (food). Seeing a sign that welcomes you with the phrase ‘Haere Mai’. Maori words and phrases are very much intertwined with New Zealand life in general.
Oh, and that includes place names too – from Whangarei to Rotorua and the longest of all, “Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu“.