An island of nations, mainly the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island, 1500 kilometers east of Australia, New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million people.
The official languages of New Zealand are English, Maori, and NZ Sign Language. English is spoken by about 95% of New Zealanders.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The Head of State is the British monarchy, represented locally by the Governor-General. A Prime Minister oversees the Cabinet, which is the highest policy making body in the government.
One of the most secular societies in the world, New Zealand’s population identifies as 55% Christian and 35% with no religion.
The currency is the New Zealand Dollar.
New Zealand: General Etiquette
Although geographically close, New Zealanders identify as a separate and distinct culture and nation from Australia. There is a strong rivalry between the two nations and visitors should be careful not to confuse them.
Good topics of conversation are sports and politics. Many New Zealanders enjoy the outdoors as well as noncompetitive and organized sports. They may also be very opinionated about politics. Engage in the conversation without becoming insulting or personal, as having an opinion is respected more than a person with no apparent convictions or beliefs.
New Zealanders do maintain a soft sense of reserve, similar to the British tradition. Speech is kept soft and loud voices are considered annoying. Chewing gum or using a toothpick in public is considered rude. Expansive behavior of any type is frowned upon.