Rugby mad? Perhaps. Friendly and humourous? Absolutely. However, there are plenty of stereotypes about Kiwis that don’t hold their weight. Here are some of the common misconceptions that will make every New Zealander say: “Yeah, nah”.
Yes, there are lots of sheep, but not as many as you think. In fact, that whole “New Zealand has more sheep than people” stereotype is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Let’s not even go into those “sheep-shagging” jokes – Kiwis might join in for a bit of banter, but they’ve probably heard every single gag there is.
New Zealand = Middle Earth
Don’t get me wrong, Kiwis are just as mad about the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as any other Tolkien fan. What they do take issue with are people who assume that New Zealand is a world of hobbits and wizards – Middle Earth, if you will. Remember, we’re talking about a real country here, which just happened to be the filming location of choice for one of the most epic movies ever made.
“New Zealand is part of Australia, right?”
Don’t say that to a New Zealander. Period. That’s like telling a Canadian that their country belongs to the US, confusing Ireland with Scotland, or thinking Denmark and Sweden are the same place. No one likes cultural ignorance, and this one will probably sting Kiwis a bit too hard.
“Oh, so you’re from Auckland?”
Because a huge chunk of the country’s population is concentrated in the largest city, getting asked about Auckland has become a common stereotype in its own right. Which isn’t too great for the people living in the provinces. Think about the latter group before asking this question, and remember, New Zealand is small, but it’s not that small.
“New Zealand? Where in the world is that?”
A stereotype that revolves around the fact that many maps neglect to even include New Zealand. In true Kiwi fashion, there’s even a website dedicated to this shameful omission. Think about it – how would you feel if someone couldn’t quite figure out where your country’s located? It might not seem like too big of a deal, but the question does get a bit tiring after a while.
If you’ve seen a New Zealand tourism ad, chances are you have heard this phrase. Except, it’s not true. Of course, New Zealand is filled with beautiful greenery, picturesque coasts, and epic locations – but it’s not completely immune to pollution issues. Do compliment the country’s beauty, Kiwis love that, just bear in mind that the “100% pure” stereotype has long fizzled in many people’s eyes.
“Everything is so expensive”
Even the most onto-it traveller might be caught off-guard with local expenses. The thing about being so far away from the rest of the world is that it costs more to import things inland. New Zealanders are well and truly aware that food and consumer products are more expensive than in many other countries – and that it can be cheaper to fly to Australia than it is to spend a weekend in Queenstown. For the average Kiwi, it’s just daily life, not a novelty.