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Kiwi Roadtrip | © Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr
Kiwi Roadtrip | © Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr

11 Types of People of People You'll Meet While Travelling New Zealand

Picture of Joe Coates
Updated: 26 January 2018

New Zealand is a great country in a variety of ways. It’s also conveniently small, which makes it a cinch to travel around in a fairly reasonable amount of time. This is in stark contrast to its neighbour – and friendly rival in, well, everything really – to the west, Australia, in which you can fly across from coast to coast for six hours and not reach the other side.

So, New Zealand is the perfect size for that epic roady, and everyone has a vague notion of what they’re going to see – e.g. small hobbit holes set into banks, saw-tooth mountain ranges covered in pure white snow, pristine beaches and quiet, sleepy towns where no one wears shoes.

The kind of people you meet, though, that can be a bit of a mystery. To help solve this puzzle, read this tongue-in-cheek guide, and discover some of the enigmatic people you might just run into.

The Bogan

The bogan comes in a few slightly different iterations depending on where the traveller finds himself. The two most common garden-variety bogans are of the heavy-metal genus, and the boy-racer genus. Boy-racers are the easiest to spot, as you can hear their two-dollar exhaust systems coming from a mile away. They typically do circuits of the main street very, very slowly in old, lowered cars with body-kits they’ve won in cereal packets.

The Farmer

Men or women of the weathered cast, with dirt under the finger nails and oily clothing. They’re a salt of the earth bunch, roughly spoken with hearts of gold. They’re commonly found leaning against fence-posts, looking out at the cows / sheep, with a soggy roll-up in the corner of their mouths. After reaching a certain age their flesh turns to teak, so when they slap you in a friendly fashion on the back you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just been hit in the spine with a table.

The Tradie

Similar in many ways to The Farmer, tradies are up with the sun to take advantage of every bit of sunlight to get their jobs completed. You won’t find harder working people, or hear more inappropriate jokes or such colourful language. Keep your eyes peeled for fluorescent clothing and particularly small shorts (stubbies) around bakeries at lunchtime. A tradie can typically smell a fresh mince and cheese pie, or a recently opened energy drink, in the same way a shark can sense a drop of blood in water.

The Alternative / Wellingtonian

Easily distinguishable by their attire, the alty / alternative / scenester / Wellingtonian is sometimes mistaken for having painted their clothing on. This is a common misconception. Their apparel is made of conventional materials and weaves. Where they differ is having the clothing sown so tightly to their bodies that they have to be cut free at the end of the day. They regularly congregate outside of independent cafes, where they wrap themselves around drip-fed skinny soy extra-shot eco lattes.

The Tomboy

This one puts Kiwi men to shame (bar the Farmers and Tradies) with her mechanical skills. She’s able to fix anything with an engine and is quite capable of covering several kilometres with a dead pig slung over her back.

The Classic Jolly Maori Cuz

These Maori and Polynesian blokes never fail to bolster the spirits of those around them. They’re all big smiles and contagious laughter. Of course, it’s almost impossible to decipher anything they say through all the chuckling and merry laughter. The keen of hearing will occasionally make out a, “Chur, cuz!” or a “Kia ora, my bro.” This will most likely be followed by a handshake of some kind and a hug. It’s a good time.

The Surfer

These laid-back, tanned and (usually) athletic individuals are obviously usually found by the ocean. They are an affable lot who live by the ‘no worries’ mantra. Things can get a little sticky when they start talking about A-frames, grommets, floaters, pits and kooks, if you’re unfamiliar with surf lingo. They can be cut-off with a simple point out to sea yelling that the wind has turned and it’s off-shore.

The J.A.F.A

In a nutshell: Just Another F*cking Aucklander. A label of cynical contempt directed towards those living in or from Auckland by all other Kiwis living outside of it. The common consensus being that all Aucklanders are no good, no matter how much they must contribute to New Zealand as a whole.

The Rugby-head

Normally large and fit. The forwards are very similar in appearance to The Farmers – having mostly come from Otago, Taranaki and Hamilton themselves. You might think that these gentlemen are carved from bacon, but that is just solid Kiwi genes. As scary as some of these individuals look, they’re usually very genial, funny and humble. As professional athletes they are some of the most relatable in the world. Falling over dead drunk in the middle of the street or shouting a whole bar a round of the fruitiest drinks on the menu is par for the course for many after an important victory. We appreciate the clip underneath is of an Australian, but it encapsulates exactly what we mean when it comes to the rugby-head.

The Fiercely Independent Chick

This woman needs nobody – especially no man, thank you very much – to help her achieve her goals. She follows in the footsteps of great New Zealand women like Helen Clark, who courted controversy when she met the queen wearing trousers. Take that, your Royal Majesty.

The Ingenuity Kiwi

No matter what the situation, these blindly optimistic Kiwis will never say die and always endeavor to help you out of the hole that you – or they – have dug. Whether they’ve accidentally set your kitchen on fire because they told you that of course they’ve used a deep-fryer before, or borrowed your car to nip down to the shop, neglected to engage the handbrake and had said vehicle roll into the sea, they’re always there with a comforting word and a masterful plan.