New Zealand Culture

New Zealand encompasses a wide variety of things to do, see and achieve. Observe the mini documentaries and discover the real New Zealand!

New Zealand is separated from Australia by a thousand miles of the Tasman Sea named after the first white man to see these islands 350 years ago. Auckland is a city of sailing boats and businesses. It has the comfortable appeal of a little big city. It’s a place where you can relax knowing each day will be much like any other, which may explain why some people want to throw themselves off buildings. Rack jumping is the latest example of New Zealand’s


restless quest for what it thinks it lacks – excitement. Maybe, Auckland is just too comfortable. Across the Cook Strait, South island looks more formidable – 300 miles from Auckland, a ferry runs across from Wellington into a sparsely populated land of Fiords and mountains. Surely here, where dark cliffs plunge into the sea and summits rise to meet us, excitement cannot be far away. As I board the southbound train of the little town of Picton, I have a feeling that I am soon to experience something remarkable. I am not far wrong. The only other occupants of my coach are a dragon boat team of their supporters returning from Regatta in Wellington. [Cheering] By the time you reach the town of Kaikoura, they’ve warmed themselves out.

I have to be honest, it is positively refreshing to be among shy, retiring New Zealanders again. That is until I meet the Maoris, the Maoris have a distinctive way of making you welcome. Before they can trust you they have to issue you the Maori challenge. The Maoris arrived in these islands over a thousand years ago. The challenge is still issued when an outsider is recieved into the tribe. Today it’s my turn, the branch of peace is laid on the ground. Once I have picked it up I and my Maori sponsors are going to advance towards the Marae, the Maori meeting place for the next stage of the ceremony.

This I am not looking forward to, every outsider is required to give a speech and sing a song. My mind goes blank, then for some reason spins back to my childhood. You talk about traditions here and about a feeling of place being very important to sense from where you belong so I thought I would sing you very briefly. A verse from the song that was written on the founding of the school that I went to in Shoesbury in England and it was written in the year 1552 for the founder of the school, King Edward. My only apology here is that it is in Latin. I don’t know if anyone here can translate, maybe Ric would be able to translate it into Maori later. Anyway, I would inflict only one verse upon you, so it is the school song of Shoesbury school. [Sings in Latin]… Thank You