New Zealanders are friendly and polite. As a guest to their country, return their hospitality by being polite in return. In order to respect those in New Zealand, learn a bit about their culture and etiquette. Below is a list of New Zealand etiquette to help you blend in on your trip to New Zealand.
DO dress conservatively and formally for business occasions. Men should wear dark suits with a conservative tie and white shirt. Women should wear suits, dresses, or skirts and blouses in modest colors.
DO wear casual attire for less formal occasions. Keep your clothes neat.
DO keep your hands above the table, but don't put your elbows on the table, either!
DO put your fork and knife parallel on the plate with the handles facing to the right when you are done eating.
DON'T be loud and obnoxious while drinking.
DO expect afternoon tea between 3 and 4 PM. Tea is between 6 and 8 PM, served along with a meal. Supper is a light snack, such as coffee and dessert, and is served later.
DON'T Tip, it's not customary in New Zealand. However, if the service was outstanding, a tip is most certainly appreciated!
Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts
DO open your gift upon receipt.
DO give gifts such as flowers, chocolate, liquor, or a book about your home country.
DON'T make the “V for Victory” sign.
DO exchange handshakes and smiles upon greeting someone. Maintain eye contact during greetings.
DO wait for a woman to extend her hand for a handshake first.
DO say “How do you do?” when first meeting someone. Once you get to know a person “Hello” is an acceptable greeting.
DO bring your hosts a gift.
DO bring your own beer (B.Y.O.) if invited to a barbecue. You may also be invited to bring your own meat or a salad.
DO make an appointment at least a week in advance, by fax, phone, or email. Avoid December and January, which is summer vacation in New Zealand.
DON'T be late! It will make an incredibly bad impression.
DON'T expect New Zealanders to try to negotiate. It's not part of their culture, so start negotiations realistically.
DON'T make promises you can't keep or make exaggerated claims.
DO be direct and honest.
Maori & Marae Etiquette
DO visit a marae, which is a sacred place that serves both social and religious purposes in Maori society. Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. If you wish to visit a marae, you should do so in an organized marae visit.
DON'T enter a marae without seeking permission first.
DO follow the lead of those around you, there is often a protocol to be followed in Maori welcoming and greeting, but the protocol can vary.
DON'T eat food until it has been blessed.
DO show your gratitude and respect by singing a song from your home country.
DO ask permission before photographing Maori buildings or landmarks.
Socializing and Conversation
DO understand that the word “Kiwi” is not an offensive name when referring to New Zealanders. They will call themselves Kiwis, too!
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