New Zealand is known for lots of different traditions, a lot of them being Māori. Can everyone say Haka?

Before you start your New Zealand adventure, be sure to brush up on your basic Kiwi knowledge, because after all you don’t want to be embarrassed when someone tries to Hongi you, you don’t know what that is? Keep reading you’ll be enlightened.

I have been in New Zealand long enough now to learn a fair bit and I’ll pass my knowledge on to you guys, it’s only fair.

The first thing is to learn the native language, ok so yeah it is mainly English, but if someone says “Churr Bro”, you ideally want to know what the hell this Cuzzy was talking about yeah? Churr can be used as Thanks or Cheers and Cuzzy could be a friend or family member. With me so far? We have compiled a list of the most common Kiwi slang and some useful Māori words to know too, so make sure you take a read!

So the Haka. If you have never heard of the Haka then you must have been living under a rock. Popularised by the New Zealand National Rugby Team, The All Blacks, the Haka is a traditional Māori dance which is used to scare away enemies and it proves very effective, for instance the Rugby World Cup 2011, say no more!

all blacks haka
By Sonya & Jason Hills from London, UK [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
The Hangi – Oh yeah, the Hangi. This is a definite must. A Hangi is a form of cooking used by Maoris back in the day and still used today. The method is to dig a hole in the ground, fill the hole with hot rocks and burning wood and then lower meat and whichever vegetables you want in a metal cage and cover with a damp cloth and earth and leave it to cook for hours. There is nothing quite like a meal cooked Hangi style, I highly recommend it, once you go there it’s hard to eat a normal meal and you’ll be digging holes in your back garden, seriously!

hangi - kiwi traditions
from Sarah Stewart

Don’t get the Hangi confused with the Hongi. The Hongi is the traditional Māori greeting, and is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead against the nose and forehead, at the same time, of the person you’re greeting.

hongi - kiwi traditions
By New Zealand Defence Force from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Not everything traditional is Māori, take Pavlova. Pavlova is a traditional Kiwi dessert which our Aussie counterparts try to claim as their own, but we know the truth. Made of meringue, cream and fresh fruit, it’s to die for. Yum.

pavlova - kiwi dessert
By Hazel Fowler (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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