Talk:Culture of New Zealand

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This article is very low quality[edit]

Have a look at Culture of Germany for an example of a good quality culture page.

Specific issues:

  • Lack of citations.
  • Sprawling intro section.
  • Sprawling all sections - If the sections are large enough they should simple reference the main article and give a concise summary.

The lack of citations is a severe issue. It reads as if somebody has just written their own interpretation of New Zealand culture, without any academic research or reading. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 10 April 2014 (UTC)


Previous discussions are archived here: Talk:Culture of New Zealand/Archive 1


"British and Irish culture in New Zealand has been significantly influenced by Māori and Polynesians."

How, exactly? This is a claim that gets made a lot and I have yet to hear of a credible example. In general this page is vague and tends to trade in stereotypes rather than facts or even examples. It's also fairly shocking that there is no section on Maori culture. I know it has its own page, but surely Maori culture is part of New Zealand culture, even if it's not part of the dominant culture? At some point I will do an overhaul of the page... possibly it will involve rewriting the whole damn thing. And kiwiana is going to get its own page so that the list doesn't clog this one up too much. Sigh... this is what comes of browsing Wikipedia when you're tired. --Helenalex 06:53, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


"Ironically it is not generally understood in New Zealand that it has a unique food culture."

Well, call me stupid, but I don't understand that New Zealand has a unique food culture. The only distinct thing the article puts forward is that we apparently use more butter than British people do and that we have a few local specialities. This does not constitute a unique food culture. British people would probably use more butter if it was cheaper (and these days health probably comes into it, but it does here too), and having unique ingredients does not mean we have a unique food culture; it's just silly to say that we're different from the Poms because they don't eat Bluff oysters - when would they get the chance? How many NZers can really afford to eat Bluff oysters anyway?

If someone can make the case for NZ actually having a distinct food culture, please do so. Otherwise, I will rewrite (and mostly delete) the section. I don't think not having a distinct food culture is anything to be ashamed of. Most national cuisines developed before cheap long distance travel, when people were forced to use local ingredients and hadn't recently come from anywhere else. Ours is a distinct variety of an Anglo food culture we share with the British, the Irish, Australians and to a lesser extent North Americans, but not a distinct food culture, at least in my opinion. Again, if you disagree, please make your case! --Helenalex 01:10, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

List of iconic NZers[edit]

I'm inclined to remove this as a full list of iconic NZers would be way to long, and everyone has differing opinions as to who is and isn't iconic. I think it's much more useful to use them as examples of particular NZ traits or stereotypes. This shows why they are iconic and is thus much more informative. --Helenalex 09:05, 15 March 2007 (UTC)


In working on this it has occurred to me that the page is primarily about Pakeha culture. Since I don't think there is one NZ culture but several, I propose several things:

1) Moving the bulk of this page to Pakeha culture

2) Renaming this page Cultures of New Zealand (plural)

3) On this page giving brief summaries of Maori, Pakeha and other NZ cultures (and maybe subcultures) and how they interact with each other, and possibly an overview of the arts in NZ, since there is no page on that and it is a bit neglected on this page. Although most arts are of European origin, there are enough successful non-Pakeha artists, writers, dancers etc for the 'high arts' to be on this page rather than the Pakeha culture page.

Since this is a very major change I will give about a week for suggestions, objections etc before I do anything along these lines. --Helenalex 22:44, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I think to put NZers in a box is a hard thing to do, making those boxes smaller won't help (so breaking into (pakeha, maori, etc etc). So I would not support splitting the article up yet (maybe if it gets larger). However I think the article has lots of POV statements, and is very poorly referenced. Some of it is very new to me, and I've lived here my entire life. Is there an article on another countries culture that we can use as an example, like an FA article? - Shudda talk 03:42, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Defining NZ culture(s) is difficult, but I think that having lots of small boxes is less misleading than one big box which supposedly is about everyone but is actually only about Pakeha. Apart from the POV and general crappiness of much of the article, I have two major concerns, which are 1) length and 2) making sure it doesn't say 'New Zealand culture' 'New Zealanders' etc when it really means Pakeha. Shifting specifically Pakeha culture to its own page would seem to solve both problems. If we keep Pakeha culture on this page, then surely everything on the Maori culture page should be here as well, and that would make this page very long. Basically my original goal here was to get rid of or fix all the POV and vague stuff, and I think confusing Pakeha with NZ in general is a major part of that. --Helenalex 04:27, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe that an article can be written on "New Zealand culture". It may look very different to the one that exists now though. I think if all the POV material is removed, and that article starts talking in facts, then it will give us a much better idea about splitting the article up. However at the moment it's not such a good idea. For example culture as it relates to sport and language are not easy to split up. Is New Zealand English and New Zealand Sign Language to go in the Pakeha or Maori articles? What about food? Recreation? Traditions and holidays? Religion? There are certainly differences between the many ethnic groups in New Zealand, however there are lots of things that they have in common. I say its not appropriate to split the article up in its current form. - Shudda talk 05:03, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
You are right Helenalex, this article is crappy and does assume that Pākehā culture is the default. It reads like a jumble of half-baked ideas and worn-out stereotypes and has no overall cohesion. Little mention of other cultures - for instance Māori culture mostly mentioned in terms of how Pākehā react to it. So discussion is good in beginning the process of making a better article. And there is no denying that Māori culture (for one) is fundamentally different to Pākehā culture and it would be hard to cover them both in one article. (BTW you say 'most arts are of European origin' - really? perhaps that is just because Māori and Polynesian arts aren't appreciated for their depth and variety - not to mention the arts of all the other cultures in NZ). So, a good idea to take a long hard look at this article. Think quite a few will object to the term 'Pākehā culture' since a myth has taken hold that Pākehā is a derogatory word (which it ain't) Kahuroa 05:32, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The article does need work, please contribute ideas regarding its structure and what should actually be covered in an article like this. This is what I've come up with, but its almost certainly not comprehensive:

  • Main cultures of New Zealand
Others (maybe have them seperately?)
Interaction of cultures
  • Language
  • New Zealand English
  • Maori
  • New Zealand Sign Language
  • Non-official languages
  • Arts
  • Visual arts
  • Music
  • Performance arts
  • Film and Television
  • Sport and recreation
  • Rugby
  • Cricket
  • Netball
  • Soccer
  • Recreation
  • Food
  • Religion
  • Socio-economics (to replace Class in New Zealand)
  • National sterotypes
  • Male
  • Female
  • Iconic characters
  • Attitudes
  • History?

One problem with the article at the moment is that is has no structure, and seems very jumbled. We should consider some sort of format as above. - Shudda talk 05:51, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I like your format, Shudda. Most of the headings you've got can include everyone in NZ, not just Pakeha, except where specifically differentiated. I've added a couple of things into your list, the most important being brief summaries of Maori and Pakeha culture. I think the interaction section (currently 'the role of Maori culture') is important since a major part of 'NZ' culture is Pakeha appropriation of Maori culture. It should really talk about the Maori appropriation/adaptation of Pakeha culture as well. With the exception of rugby, I don't think individual sports need to be listed since they are generally only really important to the NZ culture when we win. I don't think our national identity is really tied up with cricket or netball, let alone soccer, in the way that it is with rugby. Other than that it looks like a great model and I will begin reorganising the page alone those lines.

The Pakeha culture page can wait until this one has been fixed, but I think it does need to be created as some point, partly because it is a culture and therefore should have its own page, and partly to stop the equation of Pakeha with NZ from creeping back. Some people will object to the use of 'Pakeha' but at least as many will object to 'NZ European culture', and the latter is just confusing.

My bad on the 'most arts are of European origin' claim. I suppose what I was trying to get across is that with the exception of the haka, Maori arts are done pretty much exclusively by Maori and so can be mostly dealt with on the Maori culture page (with a summary here, of course), whereas most European originated arts are practicsed by all races and so should be dealt with in detail here rather than on the Pakeha culture page. --Helenalex 09:35, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I also prefer 'Class' to 'Socio-economics'. The 'classless society' was a major part of NZ's self image until recently, which makes class a cultural thing, whereas 'socio-economics' is more to do with raw facts, at least in my opinion. It also works better with Maori hierarchy - the position of chiefs can be described as a class thing but not really a socio-economic thing. --Helenalex 10:13, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Hey, thanks for your response. A couple of things. If indeed New Zealand is a class-less society then having a section on class would be inappropriate right? This is why I proposed socio-economics instead, also I wanted to eliminate any conception we have a rigid class system or anything. With regards to art, I think we may want to do some research. I don't know enough to offer an educated opinion, but you may find the idea that there is maori art, and then pakeha art isn't true. The other-languages section is a good idea btw. For the sport, I put cricket in there because until the 20th century, it was probably the most important sport to NZers. After 1905 that changed, but because it is such an English sport, and New Zealand has had such strong links to the British Empire, for most of our history it's been very significant culturally. This is still seen today (there are books around on this). As for netball and soccer, they are the two biggest sports participation-wise, that is why I included them. They maybe don't need there own sections, but there is a need for discussion on their cultural importance. I think maybe we should try and construct a list of resources for writing this page eh, like books, magazine articles, web pages. Would help more editors to contribute. - Shudda talk 10:32, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
With regards to class, while we certainly don't have a rigid class system like some countries, we do have socio-economic divisions which can be referred to under the broad heading of class. More importantly, we did have a national myth concerning class. I don't think this is a huge deal either way, but I do think class works better.
Art- there certainly is Maori art! I'm not so sure about Pakeha art, which is why I wanted to deal with European-originated art on this page rather than on the Pakeha culture page. Also there are a lot of successful Maori practiioners of Euro arts (Hotere, Tuwhare etc), so painting, poetry, opera etc is New Zealand rather than Pakeha. On the other hand kowhaiwhai, tukutuku etc is definetely Maori.
Sport- fair point with cricket. In terms of the others, perhaps they should be covered in the participation section.
Resources - just off the top of my head, these are some useful books:
Jock Phillips, A Man's Country?
James Belich, Paradise Reforged and Making Peoples
Keith Sinclair, A Destiny Apart
Claudia Bell, Inventing New Zealand
Liu et al., New Zealand Identities: Destinations and Departures might be useful as well. --Helenalex 22:18, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Back to arts again: My bad on the 'most arts are of European origin' claim. I suppose what I was trying to get across is that with the exception of the haka, Maori arts are done pretty much exclusively by Maori and so can be mostly dealt with on the Maori culture page - is this true? I don't think so. And when you say arts in European arts and Māori arts do you mean the same thing? What about music? What about bands that include Māori and Pākehā and Pacific elements in their music - some of those bands (think Wellington) are VERY popular and influential and make a greater impact socially and financially and in terms of refining NZs image overseas than whatever it is you are calling European arts, I would have thought. If Opera and Orchestra are European arts, how many people actually participate in them compared to the number who partake in so-called Māori arts. Do Māori people never participate in European dance forms???? What about Ralph Hotere and other Māori painters? Aren't they actually using European art forms? McCahon etc with Māori words on his canvases. What about the WOW festival formerly associated with Nelson, now Wellington - another area where cross-cultural influences are very strong I would have thought - think use of Māori weaving forms and use of harakeke etc, not mention the strong Pacific elements in NZ culture generally. What about the English language in NZ? One of the minor struggles I have with plant and bird pages on this Wiki is convincing North Americans or European speakers of English that Māori names might possibly also be the common NZ names for many plants/animals that occur in NZ - that seems to be beyond the ken of many overseas English speakers - by which I am trying to illustrate that the influence is massive. What about architectural influences in both directions. Don't know if its valid to say only Māori do Māori arts in other words - unless you mean that European arts are high(er) arts or something? I guess what I am saying is that one of the distinctive things about the culture of New Zealand is the Māori and Pacific influence Kahuroa 23:59, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Thats so true about the plant and bird names! Cracks me up really. Like I said above, I'm not an expert on art, but I do think there is a massive amount of art in NZ that is highly influenced by many cultures, which is why is may be a mistake to split it all up. What about a section on "Traditional Maori art"? Or something, but even that may not work. - Shudda talk 05:16, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Kahuroa, I think you have misunderstood me. Saying that only Maori do Maori arts is not the same thing as saying Maori only do Maori arts. I've said several times (both here and in the article) that there are many, many Maori practioners of European arts - some of NZ's most successful painters, novelists, opera singers etc are Maori. When I call opera and orchestral music and so forth 'European' I don't mean that only Europeans do them, only that they originate in Europe. And mostly I have referred to them as 'European originated' to reflect this.

However, while Maori do clearly do European arts, there aren't huge numbers of non-Maori doing Maori arts, with the exception of the haka. I can't think of a single highly regarded non-Maori practitioner of Maori arts. Indeed there is quite a bit of resistance from some Maori to non Maori using Maori forms etc (not all Maori, but definetely some). I acknowledge on the page that a lot of Pakeha artists have been inspired by Maori art, but this is not the same thing as doing Maori art. When McCahon used Maori words and Walters used the koru in their work they were incorporating Maori motifs into Western modernist art. Again, this sort of thing is now quite controversial.

How much influence Maori culture has had on Pakeha culture, and whether this is good for Maori culture is an open question. One person's sensitive use of Maori forms is another person's cultural theft. Either way, most art forms which blend Maori and Pakeha forms will be on this page. --Helenalex 04:14, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, sure. Highly regarded non-Maori practitioner of Māori arts: Richard Nunns, reviving old Māori instruments in quite innovative ways and regarded with great respect I would have thought. [1]. He would probably be the foremost practitioner of many of the old instruments, and it would be interesting to ask someone like Richard whether he experiences resistance or gets called a cultural thief and how he deals with it, not that I think that kind of attitude should concern us too much here with this article. Kahuroa 05:37, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I stand corrected, but you must admit he is quite unusual. Anyway, in terms of the new stuff on the page, are there any problems? The Maori culture paragraph is a bit too brief, because its not something I'm any great expert on (as you've probably guessed) and the Maori culture page is a lot shorter than it needs to be so there wasn't much I could get from that. --Helenalex 06:47, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Not so sure that he is that unusual. I think he might be, but I don't know that he is. I can think of several areas where Pākehā people are experts... not in the performance arts per se, which I'm not that up on, but what about Anne Salmond in the area of the rituals of encounter - profoundly knowledgeable, I am one Māori who has profound respect for deeply knowledgeable Pākehā like Jane McRae, Richard Moyle, Claudia Orange, Jeny Curnow, Angela Ballara, Hazel Petrie, Mervyn McLean, Margaret Orbell, Agathe Thornton... at least as far as I know they are all Pākehā. Don't have time just now to consider properly an answer your question about the new content, it needs careful reading and consideration. Will get back to you, but two things come to mind on a quick reading - we should cite the law that forbade the use of Māori as a language of education, will look it up, and perhaps mention that it wasnt a simple situation, perhaps Māori at that time thought use of English was the way to go, and (altho this is inherited from the former state of the article), I wonder about the stress on appropriation of culture - is that the best way to approach this. Anyway, looks like good work... Kahuroa 11:22, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps 'borrowing' might be a better term than appropriation? It sounds more neutral. I do think there needs to be emphasis on borrowing/appropriation because it has had a big effect on both cultures. --Helenalex 23:46, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Appropriation is pretty loaded and confrontational. Anyway how verifiable and representative are the opinions or quotes. What are we talking about here - cultures in contact - it is absolutely inevitable and natural that they will borrow/take from each other. And where does 'appropriation' end - if I use a Sony cellphone am I appropriating Japanese culture, or Finnish if I use a Nokia - it's a bit silly eh. I saw Tirana's comment on your talk about taking this back to the citable, and I think that is a very valid point. Otherwise anyone can write 'some X object to Y as appropriation' - unless we can name and date it, forget it.
The act that I was going to look up is 1867 Native Schools Act. See [2] and [3].
Anyway I think you're doing well, and don't be unbold in getting rid of the uncited and the like Kahuroa 09:11, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
There is a big difference between using a product created by people from a particular culture and taking a cultural form and making your own version of it. For example, if I buy a tiki from a Maori craftsperson that's a whole different kettle of fish from manufacturing my own tikis and making money selling them to tourists. I'm not saying the latter is objectively bad, just that a) some people think it is and b) it's using something from someone else's culture and therefore borrowing. Most of the stuff I've written is citable, I've just been lazy about actually doing it. Will get on to that. --Helenalex 22:46, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Sweet as. I think borrowing is the better term, and ok my example was overstated but you know what I mean. Not to mention plastic hei-tiki Kahuroa 00:21, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Regionalism and parochialism[edit]

I feel that there are way too many generalizations being made here. I've been an Aucklander for the past 6 years and not once have I heard anyone from outside of Auckland being called backward. However I have noticed the negative stereotypes of Aucklanders promoted by those outside Auckland, particularly in the media ( reporting on Aucklanders' "exaggerated" reaction to a recent earthquake. Another thing is that the behaviour of JAFAs could be limited to certain suburbs of Auckland. I work near Ponsonby and Freeman's Bay, and have had numerous interactions with typically rude JAFAs in that area, but can't report having met any in my home suburbs of Onehunga and Papatoetoe. Maybe it's an attitude that comes with being at the upper end of the socio-economic scale, not with your location? Maybe this needs to be put under the "Stereotypes" section. Or alternatively more objective language used. Please comment on this and if there is enough agreement with these views I will edit the article.

Oh and isn't there a Northland edition of the New Zealand Herald as well? Juanitaatinauj 08:44, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

The present wording of the section in question includes the statement Aucklanders (sometimes known as Jafas — Just Another F***ing Aucklander) dismiss anywhere 'south of the Bombay Hills', as backward. No qualifications - therefore it suggests all Aucklanders always dismiss others as backward. Like Juanitaatinau, I have never heard this said either. Anyway, many Aucklanders actually come from other parts of the country anyway, so it doesn't make a lot of sense, unless what is meant is good-natured ribbing that someone took seriously? Some verifiable citations would be useful here. Kahuroa 11:02, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
While I wouldn't say that Aucklanders think people from other parts of the country are backward, many Aucklanders do seem to have a wilful ignorance of the rest of the country, and a belief that Auckland is the only place of importance in NZ. Yes, it is more good natured ribbing than anything else, but it does manifest itself in things like Aucklanders thinking that their stadium is 'national', the name of the NZ Herald etc. I'll reword the paragraph to reflect this, in the mean time could people have a look for sources for this section?
The equation of all Aucklanders with 'Ponsonby wankers' should go in the stereotypes section, I think, along with the stereotype that all South Islanders are farmers, everyone from Southland is a redneck etc. Perhaps a 'regional stereotypes' paragraph? --Helenalex 00:28, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Edited the 'Aucklanders dismiss...' bit to make it a little less dogmatic, since it is obviously only some individual's opinion rather than a verified fact and does not apply to all Aucklanders in any case. Re sources, maybe someone has done surveys or research which give some quotable info. I think it is stretching it a bit to suggest that the NZ Herald's name has anything to do with Aucklanders' attitude to the rest of NZ - it's more an accident of history and it's not like many Aucklanders had any say in that matter back in 1863 or whenever. Kahuroa 05:01, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Took out the reference to the name of the NZ Herald in the light of the name of Wellington's newspaper, the DOMINION Post which is hardly the newspaper of the whole Dominion of New Zealand, and is much more local than the Herald. Kahuroa 05:46, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Added an alternative view of this so-called rivalry. Given that there is no evidence to back up that this section says, this is an attempt to balance things. I really don't see that there is any evidence that Aucklanders have a down on the rest of the country - in reality people are too busy getting on with their lives to worry about other places - and I would suggest that that is just normal and natural. Kahuroa 19:20, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

are Kiwis the most non-religious people on earth?[edit]

The current article states "The 2006 census found that 2,136,258 New Zealanders identify as Christian." "A total of 1,297,104 New Zealanders have no religion". Is this the highest proportion of non-religious identification (outside of the ex-Soviet union) in a recent census return?

As an anecdote, my cousin was a bit gob-smacked (since she's a staunch Roman Catholic) when asked by a Kiwi immigration officer for evidence of a stable long term relationship with her (NZ) husband to be told "No, your marriage certificate or the fact you have a daughter is not evidence of a stable long term relationship. I need to see such paperwork as a joint bank account statement or Gym membership". ...GaimhreadhanIreland-Capitals.PNG(kiwiexile at DMOZ) • 14:26, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I like your anecdote! Well, apparently 59% of China's population is non-religious, although I'm not sure whether that figure comes from their census. Looking through our Demographics_of_atheism article, I don't see any "western" countries (excluding ex-Warsaw Pact ones) with census figures showing a higher non-religious rate than NZ's (which was 32%, or 37% if inadequate responses are excluded), although some have poll results around that level. -- Avenue 15:39, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Mmmm, I was wanting to exclude the old SU because I figured the results would be skewed by both anti-communism and now being scared in some countries of being executed as an apostate muslim.
My thinking was a bit woolly - I guess we should have disregarded countries where people feel there are both dire consequences to being viewed as non-religious and where completers of surveys feel that their view may not be anonymised...GaimhreadhanIreland-Capitals.PNG(kiwiexile at DMOZ) • 16:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

New Zealand European over Pakeha[edit]

I am intending, over the next few weeks to edit New Zealand articles to fit current official terms. I will do more than a search and replace, so as to ensure grammar is correct. The fact of the matter is, Pakeha is a colloquial and non-official term, unknown to persons outside of New Zealand, and taken by many New Zealand Europeans with a great deal of offence, not to mention the mere definition of the word is under constant debate and scrutiny. For the benefit of all who read through New Zealand articles, especially those from overseas, there needs to uniformity throughout all articles when describing our (New Zealand European) race. Therefore I put forward that New Zealand European be the uniform description of the white race living in New Zealand. --Hayden5650 09:06, 1 April 2007 (UTC)Hayden5650

Since you are apparently proposing to edit several New Zealand articles, not just this one, I think it would be wise to seek a wider audience. I have copied this to Wikipedia:New Zealand Wikipedians' notice board, and suggest that the discussion takes place there. -- Avenue 10:10, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I also think New Zealand European should be used in favour of Pakeha. Pakeha is considered degratory by some as is even pointed out on the "Pakeha" article. L0k9j8h7 (talk) 05:24, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

NZ Woman are feminine[edit]

I understand that this was put under the National Stereotypes section but apart from the fact that it is highly amusing, I don't understand why this section is in there! Is there any evidence for such thinking? As someone that has lived in this country my whole life I have never heard nor witnessed anything that would support the idea that kiwi women lack femininity - what an insult!

It is absolutely a true stereotype. The women in this country think they are mens' equals, and that they can 'wear the pants'. They drink too much, and many are far too obese. This argument has been on Radio live many times and other talk back stations, as well as the news. --Hayden5650 06:08, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

To qualify as a stereotype you must show citable evidence that this is a commonly held belief by one group of people about another, rather than just your own perception. Note that having heard something on the radio does not qualify as a reliable source of evidence.

Polynesian and Asiancultural influences[edit]

There is little mention of that, and none at all in the lead. MadMaxDog 11:06, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Something could be mentioned on their influence in the creation of such groups such as the National Front, Unit 88, Hammerskins etc whom oppose the Asian invasion as there is a growing culture in New Zealand now not only of colored and maori gangs etc but resistance groups as well --Hayden5650 10:18, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I would question how much influence Polynesian and Asian culture has actually had on mainstream NZ culture (apart from food). Obviously these cultures exist within New Zealand and have developed distinct local variations - and if someone who knows about this could expand the relevant section it would be good - but thats not the same as being influential. If you can think of an example of influence than great, but this is 'culture OF new zealand' rather than 'cultures IN new zealand', which is far broader. In response to Hayden, white power groups are fortunately a tiny minority and no more deserving of a mention here than paedophile groups, weird cults, and other tiny groups that no one likes. --Helenalex 21:28, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Badly written, speculative, and unsourced[edit]

I have deleted two paragraphs from the culture section for the above-mentioned reasons. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:03, 3 May 2007 (UTC).

Perhaps you missed the references for one of the paragraphs.-gadfium 08:40, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The second paragraph you deleted cited two references (one for each sentence). It is reporting the arguments of others, not our own. The writing seems okay to me; do you have some specific criticisms we can address? I don't think that simply deleting it is the best way to improve it, and I'm restoring it for now. I agree that the first paragraph is lacking sources - I'll restore it with a citation request added. (gadfium has since restored it.)-- Avenue 08:53, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Anti-New Zealand[edit]

Is it just me or does this article only seem to focus on the negative points of New Zealand society? Most of which are inaccurate and/or outdated. I thnk this article should have been left to be written by someone who lives in New Zeland or who actually know what modern New Zealand is like. 01:29, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Please expand on this a bit. I think I know what you mean, there could be more on the NZ fun attitude to life, and less of the oppress/depress/repress stuff. But how about spelling out more what you mean and giving some ideas to balance the article up? Kahuroa 06:24, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Hey, just because you disagree with something doesn't mean that the writer doesn't live in New Zealand or know 'modern New Zealand'. I'm probably the main contributor to this page, and while I'm currently overseas - and we need a section on the near-compulsory OE - I've lived in the country for two and a half decades, all of them recent. So nyeh. --Helenalex 21:23, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
See Overseas experience, already linked from OE. Yes, it should be linked from this article too.-gadfium 04:05, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Mate, the attribution section sounds a bit off. Splint Enz is a NZ band, no debate. Also I think NZ has gotten over the so called internal envy. As a lot of Kiwis do the OE they learn that we are just as a bright and work just as hard as anyone in any country. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:02, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

Good effort but seems a little bit outdated and negative.[edit]

Mate, the attribution section sounds a bit off. Splint Enz is a NZ band, no debate. Also I think NZ has gotten over the so called international envy. As a lot of Kiwis do the OE and learn that we are just as a bright and work just as hard as anyone in any country. Also couldn't there be a bit more written on NZ Pakeha culture i.e. Kiwi dream, work ethic, bbq, sport and summer holiday (for example). An example I think of NZ culture is that a lot people play sport to socialise they go to the pub like other countries, maybe this is just me. Any comments welcome. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:09, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

Attribution Section[edit]

It is true that many New Zealanders claim The Pavlova, Split Enz, Phar Lap, Crowded House and other such things as their own. What this section of the article omits to state is that they actually have good reason for doing this. It therefore gives the impression that New Zealanders have an unreasonable, inflated view of their own cultural exploits. I have gone through all of the examples given and found that they are all either incorrect, inconclusive, or at the very least contestable.

For example:

After decades of debate, the Pavlova recipe is now accepted by experts as being from from New Zealand (

Richard O'Brien spent all but a few months of his first 22 years of life in New Zealand. Sam Neill does have a Northern Irish background, but moved to New Zealand when he was 7, where he was both educated and began his acting career. Russel Crowe was born in New Zealand, has considerable New Zealand ancestry and also lived in New Zealand from the ages of 0-4 and 14 to 21. It would not be unreasonable to call him a New Zealander, although his Australian connection is possibly considered to be greater.

While Crowded House was largely based in Australia and have had a number of Australian/American band members, Neil Finn, the principal songwriter and band leader, is a New Zealander. Split Enz is a New Zealand band.

Phar Lap is undeniably a New Zealand born horse.

The article references Joh Bjelke-Peterson as an example of New Zealanders being quick to call someone whom they do not approve of a "non New Zealander". Bjelke-Peterson left New Zealand when he was two years old and never returned, hardly a true blue kiwi.

Regarding the second paragraph of the Attribution section ("Because the measure of New Zealand success...), this sounds believable but it would be interesting to see some actual evidence of this.

Lakos (talk) 14:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Weasel tag[edit]

Hi, someone put the {{weasel}} template on the page. That's fine but it should be accompanied by other tags, such as {{fact}} or {{who}}, specifying which sentences need correction. Thoughts? ~~ Ropata (talk) 07:06, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah right, someone put a {{weasel}} template on the page and never justified it on the talk page. You could have surmised yourself that it was unjustified, and removed it. Instead, you added a tone tag. How do you think that helped the project? I've removed both. Incidentally, you should place any new comments at the bottom of the talk page, where I have moved this to. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 08:24, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Ropata did correct some vandalism that went along with the earlier removal of the {{weasel}} tag. I don't think they deserved to be sniped at (which is how your response comes across to me). Asking other people for input before removing a tag certainly doesn't hurt the project. But I'd agree that the tone tag would have been more helpful with some indication of what their concerns were. Ropata, can you please expand on this? -- Avenue (talk) 11:30, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to keep an encyclopedic, generalist tone to this article. I hope it doesn't get swamped by trivia from pop culture like Music of New Zealand. There are a LOT of claims that need references. I'll tag them sometime. The section on Maori culture was terrible, but I've just fixed it up a bit now. I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Overall though I like this article and think it has a lot of good info. Assuming good faith by my fellow editors, I reckon we can make this a GA. Cheers. ~~ Ropata (talk) 02:37, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


I'm not convinced about the user of the term, Pakeha. I'm a Kiwi who's ancestors came from Europe (a long time ago) and I resent that label being applied to me, as do many other Kiwi's. Pakeha is a Maori word for white people and I think it's racist. Keithmeister74 (talk) 02:00, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Not everyone believes Pākehā exclusively means skin colour. However, as you insist it is racist, here's a chance to maybe become the first person in history to figure out a way of describing the differences between persons of various races without mentioning race -- Poles compared with Malawians e.g., or Irish and Caribs. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 02:51, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Ignoring Keith's comments, in general this article's use of the word "Pakeha" is not aligned with the debates and usage on other pages. Hence, it should be changed with the more accepted "New Zealand European." Benner9 (talk) 01:46, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
To be honost, one would suggest that Pakeha and New Zealand European is removed entirely, as the way the article is now somewhat suggests that Maori are not part of many aspects of the "Pakeha" culture. Benner9 (talk) 03:42, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
There is a growing "Kiwi" cultural identity with sharing and adaptation and a lot of overlap and fuzziness. The article tries to make sense of all that, if possible. What specific changes do you have in mind? Ropata (talk) 05:10, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

There was a discussion about this back in 2007: Wikipedia:New_Zealand_Wikipedians'_notice_board/Archive_6#New_Zealand_European_over_Pakeha. A couple of comments from that discussion:

  • The only debate about the meaning of the word is from people who seem determined to invent a derogatory definition where none exists.
  • The term Pakeha is commonly used in New Zealand English. If an article is in New Zealand English then there is no need to change the term.
  • There seems to be no consensus that we should standardise on any of these terms.

Along with several others, I would object to a wholesale "standardisation" to NZ European. "Pakeha" is a perfectly useful, concise, and expressive word. I am one (mostly) and take no offense. Ropata (talk) 04:18, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I still object to the way its used. As I said above, I believe it should be NZ Culture in general, with a Maori "sub-group" The "Pakeha" culture in NZ isn't really Pakeha culture, its just NZ Culture in general? Do you know what I mean? Sorry I can't really word it better. Benner9 (talk) 03:05, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I have no other place to call home other than New Zealand. This is my culture, I'd rather wear the appellation "Pakeha", unique to this country, than identify with some long lost land on the other side of the world. Having said that, I think you do have a point. Wikipedia does aim to be balanced, and I suppose there could be more usage of New Zealand European in the article.
As to your other comment, despite Pakeha culture being dominant and widespread, it is surely distinct from Maori, Polynesian, Asian etc. The sections on male/female stereotypes, travel, arts and literature mostly cover Pakeha culture. (None of this is intended to enforce my view, this is a public resource and constructive contributions are welcome.) -- Ropata (talk) 11:46, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


Some of the points made in the published assertion of the 'typical New Zealand male' are are fairly baseless, despite other elements perhaps having an element of truth: [refer:'The stereotypical New Zealand male is essentially a pioneer type: he is perceived to be rural, unintellectual, 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.'] 'Unintellectual': A large number of New Zealanders go to university, including those from a rural background and New Zealand has a highly advanced and world leading primary production sector with agricultural universities such as Massey and Lincoln, that totally dispel the assertions being made indicating that rural people are 'non intellectual'. 'Little time for high culture': That assertion is also misleading and because there is a classical music tradition that all people in New Zealand are able to access via radio and that a percentage develop at a tertiary level via formal studies. Theatre and traditional expression are well developed. 'Unemotional': New Zealand has a distinctive pop music culture and many New Zealand men write music with feeling. [ NEW ZEALAND COMMENTATOR] ________________________________________________________________________________

I can't speak for New Zealand, but I know for America and Britain it's a pretty terrible generalization (and, I'm thinking, New Zealand as well): "Unlike many European countries, but in common with other 'Anglo' countries such as Britain, the United States and Australia,[citation needed] New Zealanders do not have a particularly high regard for intellectual activity, particularly if it is more theoretical than practical." Let's fix this up, yea? K1da42 (talk) 22:32, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

But not Australia? Format (talk) 01:18, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Good one!  :-) Yes, it is a generalisation, but perhaps not too much of one. Anyway, let's go back to sources. The work reviewed here speaks of "one of its [NZ's] ancient yet still 'ruling repressions' – anti-intellectualism", and contrasts it with the prevailing egalitarian ethos. Jane Kelsey talks here (on page 4) of NZ's "long history of anti-intellectualism". So it's not something we've made up. Are there contrasting views we should incorporate? --Avenue (talk) 02:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, just meant I couldn't speak for Australia, either ;) (I've spent considerable amounts of time in Britain and the US, as well as in Europe, so I feel I can make a fair comparison there). If we can source it for New Zealand that's fine but we can't just go tossing around pretty obviously wrong generalisations about elsewhere unsourced (I mean, c'mon, America and Britain combine for upwards of half of the top 100 Universities in the world according to any list you'll find).
Also, I have concerns about those sources - just because two people have together written 28 pages on a topic that seems unlikely to be written about otherwise (i.e. an article on New Zealand being in fact intellectual seems a strange topic; you get published when you have something exciting to say) doesn't mean it's unquestionably true. At least we could try to get a more nuanced look at it (or pitch it as "some scholars have suggested...") instead of just outright say it exists. I don't think we'd head it "Racism in America" and then talk about how America is racist because a few people have published saying so; we'd head it "Race Relations in America" and discuss the issue. K1da42 (talk) 18:53, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I was joking really, however it is a silly generalisation made in the article and it should be deleted if it does not have a reference. (Even though the article is really about New Zealand, it shouldn't make unverified claims about other countries either.) Use of the term 'Anglo' countries sounds very amatuerish. Format (talk) 19:21, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

This section came as quite a surprise to me, as a New Zealander. It's certainly something I'd never considered before, and I remain unconvinced that there's sufficient evidence or reality to back this section. Certainly the section's usage of New Zealand social policy with anti-intellectualism and free market policy with intellectualism is largely unsupported (and unsupportable), and transparently politically motivated. I don't think it has any place in this article, as it reeks of personal opinion. Mattyg (talk) 10:42, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

It's not personal opinion or POV or OR, it's an encyclopedic summary of some academics' professional observations of NZ Culture. Why hide it? I think the sources quoted by Avenue are sufficient reason to keep this section. Ropata (talk) 01:30, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Stereotypes list[edit]

Wikipedia is not censored. All of the "stereotypes" listed are positive, and things I have never heard of (Which is surprising, as I'm Australian, and quite well versed in stereotypes). I'm sure if you asked anyone in the world about New Zealanders, the first thing they would say is the classic sheep-intercourse gag. Be it true or not, if it's deemed unfit to be included in the stereotypes section, then it should be removed altogether. I'm not going to edit it in myself as it is bound to cause controversy, and I'd like to hear what others say about it, but like it or not, it is the most known New Zealand characteristic (Especially in other Oceanic countries). Of course, this applies to all nations, but this is the most blatantly one-sided "stereotype" list I've ever seen. SellymeTalk 08:49, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

It's not really a stereotype, it's a joke, and is covered under New Zealand humour#Sheep jokes.-gadfium 21:39, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we should put it a "See Also" link under the main heading? It seems like it's fairly relevant. SellymeTalk 23:34, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
A stereotype is a popular belief about a group of people. No-one really *believes* those jokes, so it's not part of the stereotype and as noted is already covered on the NZ humour article. Also the stereotypes section is currently about the stereotypical New Zealander *as seen by New Zealanders*. If we tried to include every stereotype of New Zealanders from the point of view of other countries it would be excessively large, e.g. are you going to include the stereotype of a New Zealander as perceived by a Samoan or a German? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

"Soft" vowels?[edit]

"New Zealand vowels in general are softer." What does "softer" mean? Less loud? I presume not, as it would make more sense to say New Zealanders don't talk as loudly as Australians. Does it mean positioned lower in the mouth? More centralised? Either of these descriptions would need elaborating if they were used. But "softer", applied to vowels, conveys no meaning whatever. Koro Neil (talk) 14:44, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

"Soft" in the context of phonetics means unaspirated or sibilant pronounciation. It is a universal term and not applicable only to New Zealand or Australian speech. Buistr (talk) 03:34, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

No original research, please[edit]

Hi folks. I have cleaned out the stereotypes section of this article. I am sure there is more that can be removed. I was unable to find any reliable sources to cite the section, and the few citations used do not mention stereotyping at all. The sources must discuss stereotyping (not just stating that someone wore men's trousers or really likes beer, or whatnot, that doesn't mean they are stereotypes). Wikipedia relies on reliable secondary sources, therefore, if you seek to replace this content please use this guide to help fund reliable sources: Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources. I also encourage anyone interested to discuss it on the talk page as well, explaining your edits and so forth. Stereotypes are sensitive subjects, and one's that need serious sourcing to back them up. Thank you! SarahStierch (talk) 16:59, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

1981 Springbok Tour?[edit]

The section on "Attitudes" seems to link many areas of New Zealand culture back to the sport of rugby, for whatever reason. I have no idea why the 1981 Springbok Tour is mentioned, or why it's relevant. Sorry, but a lot of this article doesn't make much sense if you aren't from NZ. I'm not convinced it would even make that much sense to anyone who happens to be from NZ either -- more source citations, and more relevant source citations, would help a lot. OttawaAC (talk) 23:18, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

The "Attitudes" section doesn't make any mention of rugby as far as I can see, however it would be unsurprising if it did since the sport of rugby plays a large part in New Zealand cultural life. As noted in the article the 1981 Springbok Tour is relevant as an event that highlighted changing attitudes in New Zealand during that period and the resulting social conflict. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Chinese people[edit]

Chinese people arrived in NZ in 1842 (Appo Hocton in Nelson), two years after the signing of the TOW, and have played a formative influence in the culture which is not acknowledged. Read books such as the Dragon and the Taniwha, and Opium and Gold, to understand this better. Men like Chong Ching established the export dairy business. Chinese influence was undermined by a series of racist laws and actions like the Poll Tax, curtailing what might have been a larger impact on the culture, yet nonetheless areas like Otago and Taranaki were heavily impacted by Chinese in the 1800s, with Chinese remaining the third largest nationality in NZ culture today. From the early days NZ was not a bi-cultural nation but a multi-cultural nation. It was just that Chinese were neither citizen nor subject in the first century of nationhood, and their role in the building of the nation and the establishment of the culture is often curtailed or expunged. This article should avoid that treatment. I'm sorry if I didn't make this contribution correctly. It is the first time I have done it don't know how. I also don't know where the tilde key is. (Unsigned by User:

User:, inserted this contribution into the middle of a conversation further up the page, so I have shifted it to here. User:, the ~ sign near the top left of your keyboard is the tilde. ) Moriori (talk) 21:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

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