Real Kiwi in an orange Jacket

Bruce mason centre in Takapuna is buzzing. Lots of people: old, young, families, couples, all sorts. 450 of them. All very excited. As am I! And no this is not for a concert, or a comedy night. We are all here because we want to be and will be NZ citizens after tonight’s ceremony.
I am going to be a real kiwi!! After living here for 9 years and feeling more and more passionate about this beautiful country, I thought it was time to show my true allegiance.

So the final stage tonight is standing up, reading the allegiance together with all those others from so many different parts of the world. And we all want to live in NZ.

And singing the National Anthem for the first time as citizens. Wow, I really wasn’t expecting the emotion. Almost every second sentence I just had to stop. To stop the trembling. And to understand what the words really meant. ‘ At thy feet’ .. ?

Very special. I am looking forward to my kiwi future, to contributing to the future of NZ.

Not without my orange jacket though…


Yeah right….

Humour is always one of the hardest thing to grasp when moving from one culture to another. And then even harder is trying to explain it.

Kiwis have a great sense of humour. It is subtle, very ironic. It definitely has links to English humour but has developed its own slant. It’s also undeniably different to Australian humour, which is a lot more blatant and brash. And of course in real Kiwi fashion, it’s often defusing, used to avoid conflict and calm the situation.

The Tui “yeah right” campaign that has been going for years shows off some great Kiwi humour. The campaign basically exists of billboards along the motorway that appear with short statements, that then get the full negative ironic “Yeah Right’ after it. To understand the statements you generally have to know what’s going on in the news at the time. although it can be generic too. A great recent example is

Yeah right billboard. owned by Tui breweries

Yeah right billboard. owned by Tui breweries

This appeared around the discussions on blaming the current trend to create a safer cycle environment for the traffic yams in Auckland.
Some other classics are: ” I’ll call you”, “I’ll do the dishes after the game” and ” Dad’s new husband seems nice”.

Dutch humour is impossible to explain, mostly because it depends so much on knowing the language. It does have irony and sarcasm in common with the kiwis though. And no, I am not ending this statement with “yeah right”!

Tempting Kiwi hospitality and tantalising Tuatua’s

So much seafood everywhere

So much seafood everywhere

When I had not lived in NZ for very long, one of my friends suggested that if I wanted to get tempted by the real NZ, we should go and visit her hometown, Whangarei. Whangarei did not have the reputation of the most exciting town at the time, but we followed her advice. Her true kiwi hospitality showed when she invited us over for a BBQ at her parents place. This wasn’t going to be a standard meat BBQ but a true Northland one. This meant seafood. And not the bought kind, but freshly caught and collected at the local beach. Oh yes the tempting started to work for me.

When we got to the parents place we were shown our next temptation. This consisted of the biggest crayfish I have ever seen in my life outside a zoo, and it was caught that morning. I couldn’t believe their hospitality of wanting to share such a special meal with us. This was not all though, we were still to collect the side dish, Tuatua’s. Not knowing what that meant, we went on a little tikitour down the coast to a wild white sand beach. This beautiful beach stretched for miles and miles and there was nobody but us. I was starting to like this New Zealand more and more. The tide was just right, in between low and high, the temperature tempting enough to be comfortable.

I was told to step in the water, wiggle my feet and collect the almost triangular shellfish which are lodged vertically in the sand. You grab one in each hand , smack them against each other and eat what is inside. Now for me having grown up near the always grey-looking Northsea, this is a truly mind-blowing idea. But what an idea it was. The flesh of the Tuatua’s is tender and almost sweet. I could not get enough of it. We filled our buckets , and drove back to have one special BBQ dinner.

Yes I was indeed tempted. Tempted by those lovely kiwi’s and the most amazing Tuatua’s.