10 Things You Really Should Know About New Zealand

1. They say “poo” instead of “poop” here, and “Zed” instead of the letter Z (which, deep down, probably explains a lot.)

2. New Zealand is NOT part of Australia. In fact, New Zealand is to Australia what Canada is to America, what Texas is to Oklahoma, what Dr Pepper is to Coke. Confusing the two can cause massive hurt feelings. (Joke: “New Zealanders are very well balanced people. They have a chip on both shoulders.”)

3. All those wild claims about New Zealand only having 4 millions people but 70 million sheep are just lies. There are only about 39 million sheep, at last count, including some highly profitable new breeds.

4. The New Zealand economy has always been “built on the back of the sheep”, which is a worry. To quote one sheep expert: “Before the age of two, it seems like most sheep have the I.Q. of a rock. After the age of two they do seem to get a little smarter, like maybe an intellectual head of cabbage.”

5. Kiwis say “rattle your dags” when they want you to hurry (at least according to some tourism books, though I have never personally heard it.) Dags are dried clumps of sheep poop, er, poo, that get stuck in the wool around their “bum hole”. (Doesn’t that sound cute – “bum hole”?) They, (by which we mean dags, not “cute bum holes”), really do make a sort of rattling sound when the sheep are fleeing from predators.

6. Your “buddy” is your “mate”. If you feel generous, you “shout” your mate a beer. In saying this, we are in no way referring to the bold faced comment at the top left of this blog. Because that would be strumpetting.

7. Americans love New Zealand.  “It’s so beautiful! I always wanted to go there!” they all say, but few ever will because it’s a fricking 17-hour flight from New York to Auckland. However, countless rich and famous Americans are buying huge properties in New Zealand. Most recently, Titanic and Avatar Director James Cameron bought more than 2,500 acres near Wellington. Reports say he did this to work with Peter Jackson or, possibly, to escape the collapse of America. (You have been warned.)

8. Cricket is not like baseball. New Zealand’s national cricket team, the Black Caps, throw wobblies and have silly buggers, stumps, bowlers, leg-before-wicket, and daggy sheep. Wait, let me check that… OK, scratch the daggy sheep. Even more importantly, rugby is not like football. And, while football is only played in America, rugby is global and ruled by the mighty New Zealand All Blacks, who recently won the Rugby World Cup.

9. If you commit a crime in New Zealand, and you can afford a sober lawyer, you can almost always get “name suppression” so that media cannot report your name. Whereas in America, the First Amendment guarantees that media can publish details of anyone’s arrest to ensure that democracy is kept safe and Americans informed about truly important *news.

10. America spends $10 bazillion every year protecting President Obama. In New Zealand they spend about $7 on security, but just about anybody could walk right up to the Prime Minister and whack him. Seriously. I personally have stood next to five or six “sitting” or “former” PMs and, despite having a hook that could open them up like a can of sardines, I’ve never been so much as scanned. I was, however, given the third degree by visiting Secret Service agents when I got too close to former President Clinton, who was here on an agricultural **exchange.


* We are aware this is a U.K. story. They also will stop at nothing to protect democracy.

** Other than the immortal live radio interview with Dean “The Stream” Blevins, we can find nothing on the internets funnier than this.


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4 Responses to “10 Things You Really Should Know About New Zealand”

  1. Claire Lopez says:

    My father considered moving to NZ (and taking our children with him…..we could come if we wanted) because he believed the US was going down the tubes. I have yet to visit…although I want to….damn 17 hour plane rides!

    • hams says:

      NZ is absolutely worth a visit and, for many, a great place to live. Hobbits and Kiwis abound. But 17 hours on a plane is agony, even for someone well over four feet tall. Oh, and there is that stupid cricket.

  2. Awesome blog being a South African I also always feel that I need to explain what our culture is like to the rest of the world. Many people still think that we live surrounded by lions.

    PS: I was pleased that New Zealand won the world cup but get ready to hand it back to us in 3 years time. 😉

    • hams says:

      Thanks. You will get the Cup back when you pry it from the cold, dead, fingers of 4 million kiwis. They have grown quite attached to it.

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