Culture of New Zealand
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The culture of New Zealand is a Western culture influenced by the unique environment and geographic isolation of the islands, and the cultural input of the indigenous Māori people and the various waves of migration which followed the British colonisation of New Zealand.
Polynesian explorers reached the islands between 1250 and 1300. Over the ensuing centuries of Polynesian expansion and settlement, Māori culture developed from its Polynesian roots. Māori established separate tribes, built fortified villages (Pā), hunted and fished, traded commodities, developed agriculture, arts and weaponry, and kept a detailed oral history. Regular European contact began from 1800, and British immigration proceeded rapidly, especially from 1855. European colonists had a dramatic effect on the Māori, bringing Christianity, advanced technology, the English language, numeracy and literacy. In 1840 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, intended to enable the tribes to live peacefully with the colonists. However, after several incidents, the New Zealand Wars broke out from 1845, with Māori suffering a loss of land, partly through confiscation, but mainly through widespread and extensive land sales. Māori retained their identity, mostly choosing to live separately from settlers and continuing to speak and write te reo Māori. With mass migration from Europe, a high Māori death rate and low life expectancy for Māori women, the indigenous population figure dropped between 1850 and 1930, becoming a minority.
European New Zealanders (Pākehā), despite their location far from Europe, retained strong cultural ties to "Mother England". These ties were weakened by the demise of the British Empire and loss of special access to British meat and dairy markets. Pākehā began to forge a separate identity influenced by their pioneering history, a rural lifestyle and New Zealand's unique environment. Pākehā culture became prevalent after the wars, but after sustained political efforts, biculturalism and the Treaty of Waitangi became part of the school curriculum in the late 20th century, to promote understanding between Māori and Pākehā.
More recently, New Zealand culture has been broadened by globalisation and immigration from the Pacific Islands, East Asia and South Asia. Non-Māori Polynesian cultures are apparent, with Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.
The development of a New Zealand identity and national character, separate from the British colonial identity, is most often linked with the period surrounding World War I, which gave rise to the concept of the Anzac spirit. Many citizens prefer to minimise ethnic divisions, simply calling themselves New Zealanders or, informally, "Kiwis". New Zealand marks two national days of remembrance, Waitangi Day and Anzac Day, and also celebrates holidays during or close to the anniversaries of the founding dates of each province. New Zealand has two national anthems of equal status, "God Save the Queen" and "God Defend New Zealand" – the latter of which is often sung with alternating Māori and English verses.
Pākehā (New Zealand European) culture
Pākehā culture (usually synonymous with New Zealand European culture) derives mainly from that of the European (mostly British) settlers who colonised New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Until about the 1950s many Pākehā saw themselves as British people, and retained strong cultural ties to "Mother England". Yet there was a common perception that people born in New Zealand were likely to be physically stronger and more adaptable than people in Britain. The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers. Another distinctive trait of Pākehā culture has been the egalitarian tradition, as opposed to the British class system. Within Pākehā culture there are also sub-cultures derived from Irish, Italian and other European groups, as well as various non-ethnic subcultures.
One of the goals of Pākehā anti-racist groups of the 1980s was to enable Pākehā to see their own culture as such, rather than thinking what they did was normal and what other people did was 'ethnic' and strange. Some argue that belief in the 'absence' of culture in NZ is a symptom of white privilege, allowing members of a dominant group to see their culture as 'normal' or 'default', rather than as a specific position of relative advantage.
From the 1980s Pākehā began to further explore their distinctive traditions and to argue that New Zealanders had a culture which was neither Māori nor British. There was an interest in "Kiwiana"—items from New Zealand's heritage that are seen as representing iconic Kiwi elements, such as the pōhutukawa (New Zealand Christmas tree), pāua-shell ash-tray, Buzzy Bee, Pineapple Lumps, gumboots and jandals.
The Māori are the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand. They originated settlers from eastern Polynesian islands, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages at some time between 1250 and 1300. Māori settled the islands and developed a distinct culture over several hundred years. Oral history tells of a long voyage from Hawaiki (the mythical homeland in tropical Polynesia) in large ocean-going canoes (waka). Māori mythology is a distinctive corpus of gods and heroes, sharing some Polynesian motifs. Significant figures are Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Māui, and Kupe.
Central to many cultural events is the marae, where families and tribes gather for special occasions, such as pōwhiri or tangi. Māori often call themselves "tangata whenua" (people of the land), placing particular importance on a lifestyle connected to land and sea. Communal living, sharing, and living off the land are strong traditional values.
The distinct values, history, and worldview of Māori are expressed through traditional arts and skills such as haka, tā moko, waiata, carving, weaving, and poi. The concept of tapu (meaning taboo or sacred) is also a strong force in Māori culture, applied to objects, people, or even mountains.
Europeans migrated to New Zealand in increasing numbers from 1855. Māori traditionally had a penchant for war, especially between 1805 and 1842 during the Musket Wars and foreign diseases destabilized the traditional Māori society. The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 formed the basis of the establishment of British rule in New Zealand. New Zealand became partly self-governing in 1852 with the establishment of its own Parliament. The most serious conflict between Māori and European settlers was between 1863 and 1864 which resulted in land being confiscated from the defeated tribes. However Māori sold most of their land after 1870 and continued to do so until the 1980s. From 1820 Māori entered a long period of cultural and numerical decline. However their population began to increase again from the late nineteenth century, and a cultural revival began in the 1960s, sometimes known as the Māori Renaissance.
Other ethnic cultures
Ethnic communities within New Zealand retain features of their own cultures, and these have, in some areas, spread to become popular with the general population. Settler groups from many cultures added to the make-up of the country, with many groups concentrated around specific geographic areas. These include Dalmatian settlers in Northland, Danish settlers in inland Hawke's Bay, and Southern Chinese and Levantine settlers in Otago. These added to larger-scale Pākehā settlement which itself varied between English settlers (e.g., in Canterbury), Irish settlers (e.g., on the South Island West Coast), and Scottish settlers (e.g., in Otago and Southland).
From the mid twentieth century on, waves of immigrants have entered the country from different ethnic backgrounds, notable Dutch and central Europeans during the 1950s, Pacific Islanders since the 1960s, and northern Chinese, Indians, and southeast Asians since the 1980s. Various aspects of each culture have added to New Zealand culture; Chinese New Year is celebrated for example, especially in Auckland and Dunedin, and South Auckland has strong Samoan cultural links. To celebrate its diverse Pacific cultures, the Auckland region hosts several Pacific Island festivals. Two of the major ones are Polyfest, which showcases performances of the secondary school cultural groups in the Auckland region, and Pasifika, a festival that celebrates Pacific island heritage through traditional food, music, dance, and entertainment.
The popular music style of Urban Pasifika also has its origins in the New Zealand Pacific Island community, and has become a major strand in New Zealand music culture. The annual Pacific Music Awards recognise the contribution to New Zealand music made by Pacific Island musicians and musical styles. Pacific island heritage is also celebrated in much of New Zealand's fine art, with notable artists such as Fatu Feu'u, Lily Laita, John Pule, Yuki Kihara, and Michel Tuffery all heavily influenced by their Pacific origins.
New Zealand has three official languages. English is the primary official language with its use unrestricted anywhere. The Māori language and New Zealand Sign Language also have official status, in certain contexts, as defined by their respective statutes. Other languages are also spoken in New Zealand by some immigrant communities.
New Zealand English
New Zealand English is close to Australian English in pronunciation, but has several differences often overlooked by people from outside these countries. The most prominent differences between the New Zealand English dialect and other English dialects are the shifts in the short front vowels: the short-"i" sound (as in "kit") has centralised towards the schwa sound (the "a" in "comma" and "about"); the short-"e" sound (as in "dress") has moved towards the short-"i" sound; and the short-"a" sound (as in "trap") has moved to the short-"e" sound. Some of these differences show New Zealand English to have more affinity with the English of southern England than Australian English does. Several of the differences also show the influence of Māori speech. The New Zealand accent also has some Scottish and Irish influences from the large number of settlers from those places during the 19th century. At the time of the 2013 census, English was spoken by 96.1% of the total population.
Te Reo Māori
Historically, there were distinct dialects of Te Reo, most notably a softer version associated with the southern extreme of the country, though these have been almost completely subsumed by a standardised dialect originally found around the Waikato area.
New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language has its roots in British Sign Language (BSL), and may be technically considered a dialect of British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZSL). There are 62.5% similarities found in British Sign Language and NZSL, compared with 33% of NZSL signs found in American Sign Language. Like other natural sign languages, it was devised by and for Deaf people, with no linguistic connection to a spoken or written language, and it is fully capable of expressing anything a fluent signer wants to say. It uses more lip-patterns in conjunction with hand and facial movement to cue signs than BSL, reflecting New Zealand's history of oralist education of deaf people. Its vocabulary includes Māori concepts such as marae and tangi, and signs for New Zealand placenames. New Zealand Sign Language became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006. About 20,000 people use New Zealand Sign Language.
According to the 2013 census, 174 languages are used in New Zealand (including sign languages). As recorded in the 2013 census, Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.2%), followed by Hindi (1.7%), "Northern Chinese" (including Mandarin, 1.3%) and French (1.2%).
The definition of the arts by the New Zealand government covers six areas, visual arts, craft and object art, performing arts, literature, Pacific arts and Ngā toi Māori (Māori arts). Government funding is provided principally through, Creative New Zealand.
Heritage New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage are national bodies that assist with heritage preservation. Most towns and cities have museums and often art galleries, and the national museum and art gallery is Te Papa ('Our Place'), in Wellington.
Nga toi Māori
Kapa haka, (kapa means 'rank' or 'row') and is the 'cultural dance' component of Māori performing arts. Kapa haka is an avenue for Māori people to express heritage and cultural identity through song and dance. It has undergone a renaissance, with national competitions held yearly and kapa haka used in many state occasions. The haka (often mistaken as always being a war dance or ritual challenge) has become part of wider New Zealand culture, being performed by the All Blacks as a group ritual before international games and by homesick New Zealanders of all races who want to express their New Zealandness.
When Settlers arrived, they brought with them Western artistic traditions. Early Pākehā art focused mainly on landscape painting, although some of the best known Pākehā artists of the nineteenth century (Charles Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer) specialised in Māori portraiture. Some Māori adopted Western styles and a number of nineteenth century meeting houses feature walls painted with portraits and plant designs. From the early twentieth century Āpirana Ngata and others began a programme of reviving traditional Māori arts, and many new meeting houses were built with traditional carving and tukutuku woven wall panels were built.
A longstanding concern of Pākehā artists has been the creation of a distinctly New Zealand artistic style. Rita Angus and others used the landscape to try and achieve this while painters such as Gordon Walters used Māori motifs. A number of Māori artists, including Paratene Matchitt and Shane Cotton have combined Western modernism with traditional Māori art.
New Zealand drama, both on stage and screen, has been plagued during much of its history by cost and lack of popular interest in New Zealand culture. Despite this Roger Hall and, more recently, Jacob Rajan are two playwrights to achieve considerable popular success. In recent decades New Zealand film has grown dramatically, with the films Once Were Warriors, The Piano and Heavenly Creatures doing well both locally and internationally, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson becoming one of film's most successful directors. New Zealand's most popular comedian was the late Billy T. James.
New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation. Hip-hop is popular and there are small but thriving live music, dance party and indie music scenes. Reggae is also popular within some communities, with bands such as Herbs, Katchafire, 1814, House Of Shem, Unity Pacific all reflecting their roots, perspectives and cultural pride and heritage through their music.
A number of popular artists have gone on to achieve international success including Lorde, Split Enz, Crowded House, OMC, Bic Runga, Kimbra, Ladyhawke, The Naked and Famous, Fat Freddy's Drop, Savage, Alien Weaponry, Flight of the Conchords, and Brooke Fraser.
New Zealand has a national orchestra and many regional orchestras. A number of New Zealand composers have developed international reputations. The most well-known include Douglas Lilburn, John Psathas, Jack Body, Gillian Whitehead, Jenny McLeod, Gareth Farr, Ross Harris, and Martin Lodge.
In recent decades New Zealand comics have risen in popularity and recognition. In the 1970s and 1980s Billy T James satirized race relations, and McPhail & Gadsby lampooned political figures, especially Robert Muldoon. John Clarke aka Fred Dagg joked about rural life. From the 1990s onwards the Naked Samoans expressed a Polynesian sense of humour to the nation, and Raybon Kan is a prominent Asian comic and columnist. The Topp Twins are an off-beat comic/country music duo, and Flight of the Conchords have become famous throughout the English-speaking world for their self-effacing show.
New Zealand's most successful early writers were expatriates such as Katherine Mansfield. From the 1950s, Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame and others had (non lucrative) writing careers while still living in New Zealand. Until about the 1980s, the main New Zealand literary form was the short story, but in recent decades novels such as Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors, Elizabeth Knox's The Vintner's Luck and others have achieved critical and popular success. Māori culture is traditionally oral rather than literate, but in recent years Māori novelists such as Duff, Witi Ihimaera and Keri Hulme and poets such as Hone Tuwhare have shown their mastery of literary forms. Austin Mitchell wrote two "Pavlova Paradise" books about New Zealand. Barry Crump was a popular author who embodied and expounded the myth of the Kiwi larrikin and multi-skilled labourer. Sam Hunt and Gary McCormick are well-known poets. James K Baxter was an eccentric but admired author. Maurice Gee is also a household name for his novels about New Zealand life.
New Zealand cartoonist David Low became famous during World War II for his political satire. Gordon Minhinnick and Les Gibbard were also witty political observers. Murray Ball drew a widely popular syndicated daily strip Footrot Flats, about farm life.
The sports that most New Zealanders participate in are rugby union, cricket, basketball, netball, association football (the most popular sport amongst children), rugby league and hockey. Also popular are golf, tennis, cycling and a variety of water sports, particularly sailing and rowing. The country is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism and strong mountaineering tradition, as seen in the success of notable New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary.
The national rugby union team is called the All Blacks and has the best winning record of any national team in the world, including being the inaugural winners of the World Cup in 1987. The style of name has been followed in naming the national team in several other sports. For instance, the nation's basketball team is known as the Tall Blacks.
Horseracing was also a popular spectator sport and became part of the "rugby, racing and beer" culture during the 1960s. Many New Zealanders either play or support their local rugby team and the All Blacks are national icons. Some have argued that rugby is a national religion.
Pre-colonial native Māori religion was animistic. One of its major features was tapu (sacred and/or forbidden), which was used to maintain the status of chiefs and tohunga (priests) and also for purposes such as conserving resources. Some of the earliest European settlers in New Zealand were Christian missionaries, mostly from the Church of England but also from Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church. From the 1830s onwards, large numbers of Māori converted. Throughout the nineteenth century a number of movements emerged which blended traditional Māori beliefs with Christianity. These included Pai Mārire, Ringatū, and in the early twentieth century, Rātana. They typically centred on a prophet-leader. These churches continue to attract a substantial following; according to the 2013 census, 50,565 people are Rātana believers, and another 16,419 are Ringatū. 1,689 people stated that they followed Māori religion. Many Māori members of mainstream churches, and those with no particular religion, continue to believe in tapu, particularly where the dead are concerned, although not to the same extent as their ancestors.
Pākehā have become steadily less religious over the course of the twentieth century. In the 1920s there was still a reasonably high level of sectarianism and anti-Catholic prejudice, but this has since died down and the major churches generally co-operate with each other. The churches and religious lobby groups have little political influence where Pākehā are concerned. The vast majority of religious Pākehā are Christian, but a small number follow non-Christian religions, particularly Buddhism. The Scottish (Presbyterian) English (Anglican) division can still be seen in the religious distribution of some cities and suburbs. It has also been evidenced that New Zealand's lack of religion correlates with income and income correlates with urban location; in Auckland, for example, the richest suburbs are the least religious. A wider range of immigrant groups in recent decades has contributed to the growth of minority religions. Newer immigrants are more religious and more diverse than previous groups
According to the 2013 census, the number of people who affiliated with a Christian denomination (including Māori Christian) decreased to 1,906,398 (48.9% of all people who stated their religious affiliation), down from 2,082,942 (55.6%) in 2006. Affiliation to non-Christian religions has increased since the 2006 census. In 2013[update], the number of Hindus numbered 88,919, Buddhists 58,404, Muslims 46,149, and Sikhs 19,191. The number and proportion of people indicating they had no religion increased between 2006 and 2013. In 2013, 1,635,345 New Zealanders (41.9%) reported they had no religion.
Class in New Zealand
The 'classless society'
Until about the 1980s it was often claimed that New Zealand was a 'classless society'. The evidence for this was the relatively small range of wealth (that is, the wealthiest did not earn hugely more than the poorest earners), lack of deference to authority figures, high levels of class mobility, a high standard of working class living compared to Britain, progressive labour laws which protected workers and encouraged unionism, state housing, and a welfare state which was developed in New Zealand before most other countries.
New Zealanders' egalitarianism has been criticised as discouraging and denigrating ambition and individual achievement and success. New Zealanders tend to value modesty and distrust those who talk about their own merits. They especially dislike anyone who seems to consider themselves better than others even if the person in question is demonstrably more talented or successful than others. This attitude can manifest itself in the tall poppy syndrome or crab mentality, which refer to 'cutting down' of those thought to have risen above the general mass of people.
It has been argued that in New Zealand ethnicity takes the place of class, with Māori and other Polynesians earning less, having a lower standard of living and less education, and working in lower status jobs than Pākehā.
New Zealand's claims to be a classless society were dealt a fatal blow in the 1980s and 1990s by the economic reforms of the fourth Labour government and its successor, the fourth National government. A cultural shift also took place due to the economic and social impact of international capital, commerce and advertising. New Zealanders were exposed to a previously unknown array of consumer goods and franchises. Aided by overseas programming, commercial radio and TV stations enjoyed rapid growth. Local manufacturing suffered from cheap imports, with many jobs lost. These reforms led to a dramatic increase in the gap between the richest and poorest New Zealanders, and an increase in the numbers living in poverty. Recent appreciation of real estate values increased the wealth of a generation of landowners while making housing unaffordable for many. Some are concerned that a New Zealand property bubble may burst, potentially wiping out considerable wealth.
It is very common for New Zealanders to travel or live overseas for extended periods of time, often on working holidays. These are usually referred to as the 'OE' or 'overseas experience', and are most commonly taken by people in their 20s. The three most common destinations are Australia, Great Britain and Europe, although recently trips to Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan to teach English have become increasingly popular. The east coast of Australia and London both have sizeable expatriate New Zealand communities.
The OE to Europe is usually self-funded, and tends to occur a few years after university graduation, when the traveller has saved up enough for airfares and living expenses. The length of the visit can range from a few months to the remainder of the visitor's life; since many New Zealanders have British ancestry or dual citizenship (sometimes as a result of their parents' OE), the restrictions on working in Britain do not apply to a substantial percentage of them.
Working holidays in Asia are more likely to occur shortly after graduation, and many agencies specifically target graduates for these trips. Because Australia is relatively close to New Zealand and has no restrictions on New Zealanders working there, the New Zealanders working in Australia are more diverse than those in other countries, with a significantly higher proportion of Māori and working-class people.
Since the signing of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement in 1973, New Zealanders have had the right to live and work in Australia on equal terms with Australian citizens. Until the 1970s New Zealanders had similar rights in relation to Britain. Changes to British immigration law in this period required New Zealanders to obtain visas to work in Britain or live there for extended periods, unless they had recent British ancestry.
New Zealand has a number of reciprocal working holiday agreements, allowing people in their 20s to live and work overseas, usually for up to a year. Such agreements are in place with: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
The Kiwi male
The stereotypical New Zealand male is essentially a pioneer type: he is perceived to be rural, strong, unemotional, democratic, has little time for high culture, good with animals (particularly horses) and machines, and is able to turn his hand to nearly anything. This type of man is often presumed to be a unique product of New Zealand's colonial period but he shares many similarities with the stereotypical American frontiersman and Australian bushman. New Zealand men are supposed to still have many of these qualities, even though most New Zealanders have lived in urban areas since the late nineteenth century. This has not prevented New Zealanders seeing themselves (and being seen) as essentially country people and good at the tasks which country life requires.
- The hard man: New Zealand men have often been stereotyped as strong, unemotional and prone to violence. For many years this was seen as a good thing, and was best embodied by All Black Colin Meads. Voted 'New Zealand player of the century' by New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine, Meads was the second All Black to be sent off the field, and once played a match with a broken arm. Although he was known to assault other players during games, this was generally approved of as 'enforcement' of the 'spirit of the game'. He was also a supporter of sporting contact with apartheid South Africa. In recent decades the macho attitude has been both criticised and reviled as dangerous both to men who embody it and those around them. It has been blamed for New Zealand's culture of heavy drinking and its high male suicide rate. However it still has its supporters, with some commentators claiming that the more recent All Blacks do not have enough 'mongrel'.
Social conservatism and progressiveness
New Zealand social policy has tended to oscillate between social progressiveness and conservatism. Social reforms pioneered by New Zealand include women's suffrage, the welfare state, and respect for indigenous peoples (through the Treaty of Waitangi and the Waitangi Tribunal). Having led the (non-communist) world in economic regulation from the 1930s, in the 1980s and 1990s the reforms of the Labour Government led the world in economic de-regulation. New Zealand was the first country to have an openly transgender mayor, and later member of parliament, Georgina Beyer. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Zealand since 19 August 2013.
In contrast to this, New Zealand has a history of some very conservative social policies. Most notably, from World War One until 1967 pubs were required by law to close at 6pm. Until the 1980s most shops were banned from opening on weekends, and until 1999 alcoholic beverages could not be sold on Sundays, known as blue law. Abortion in New Zealand is subject to more restrictions than it is in many Western societies.
In general, New Zealanders have faith in their democracy. New Zealand is perceived to have very low levels of corruption although some question whether those perceptions are entirely warranted. Turnout for parliamentary general elections is typically above 80%, which is very high by international standards and occurs despite the absence of any law requiring citizens to vote. However local government elections have much lower turnout figures, with an average of 53% in 2007.
New Zealanders, both those of Pākehā and Māori roots, have been described as an individualistic people, who take intrusion very personally, especially when it occurs onto private land (but also sometimes in a wider sense). According to psychologists, this is rooted respectively in the 'frontier' image of the European settler culture, but also mirrored amongst the Māori, for whom land holds a lot of spiritual value in addition to its commercial use.
Attitudes to multiculturalism
New Zealand has for most of its modern history been an isolated bi-cultural society. In recent decades an increasing number of immigrants has changed the demographic spectra. In the larger cities this change has occurred suddenly and dramatically. There has been an increasing awareness of multiculturalism in New Zealand in all areas of society and also in politics. New Zealand's race relations has been a controversial topic in recent times. The political party New Zealand First has been associated with an anti immigration policy. The Office of the Race Relations Conciliator was established by the Race Relations Act in 1971 for the purposes of "promoting positive race relations and addressing complaints of discrimination on grounds of race, colour, and ethnic or national origin", and was merged with the Human Rights Commission in January 2002.
Māori cuisine was historically derived from that of tropical Polynesia, adapted for New Zealand's colder climate. Key ingredients included kūmara (sweet potato), fern root, taro, birds and fish. Food was cooked in hāngi (earth ovens) and roasted, and in geothermal areas was boiled or steamed using natural hot springs and pools. Various means of preserving birds and other foods were also employed. Māori were one of the few peoples to have no form of alcoholic beverage.
Following the arrival of British settlers, the Māori adopted many of their foods, especially pork and potatoes, the latter of which transformed the Māori agricultural economy. Many traditional food sources became scarce as introduced predators dramatically reduced bird populations, and forests were cleared for farming and timber. Traditional seafoods such as toheroa and whitebait were over-harvested. Present day Māori cuisine is a mixture of Māori tradition, 19th century British cookery, and contemporary dishes. In everyday life the two foods of Māori origin are "the boil up" (meat and vegetables boild in a broth and sometimes thickened with flour), and the hāngi which is associated with special occasions.
Since the majority of Pākehā are of British descent, Pākehā cuisine is heavily influenced by British cuisine. During the 19th century, a major difference between British and New Zealand cuisine was that meat was more readily available to all social classes in New Zealand. A meat-rich remains a part of Pākehā culture, although red meat consumption has dropped in the last few decades. Savoury pies, which may be filled with meat or fish, sausage rolls, and fish and chips are popular, as are roasts. Pākehā are also fond of sweet foods such as biscuits, cakes, slices and pavlova.
In recent decades international cuisine, including Chinese and Indian, has become popular, and as in many other countries 'foodie' culture has emerged. New Zealand chefs such as Peter Gordon played a major part in the creation of fusion cuisine.
New Zealanders increasingly come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and many immigrants to New Zealand have tried to reproduce their native cuisines or national dishes in New Zealand. International restaurants have served as community meeting places and have also given other New Zealanders a chance to try different cuisines.
- Architecture of New Zealand
- National symbols of New Zealand
- Demographics of New Zealand
- History of New Zealand
- Public holidays in New Zealand
- Culture of Australia
- Etiquette in Australia and New Zealand
- Christmas in New Zealand
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