Page updated 23/01/2023
Cultural tips when traveling in Aotearoa New Zealand
Nau mai, haere mai, a warm welcome to you,
We describe ourselves as ‘friendly but reserved’ and ‘open but respectful’. It can be hard to know what exactly that means, so expect to feel a bit confused! Give it time and be patient. During your stay you will come to understand a little how New Zealanders (“Kiwis”) work, just remain curious and talk to locals.
Māori culture is an integral part of life in Aotearoa, NZ. Manaakitanga (showing respect) is all about welcoming guests and providing great hospitality, something which all New Zealander’s pride themselves on. See more information here on Māori culture
To get a feel for who we are as a people, and what manners and customs we have, take some time to have a look at the Encyclopedia of New Zealand – a guide to modern manners.
Following we have some cultural quick tips for your trip to Wānaka for the transmission of Longchenpa’s Seven Treasuries:
- If there is a queue for any service, go to the end of it and wait your turn.
- If going through a door, hold it open for people coming after you.
- Spitting in the street or on the footpath, or dropping rubbish while walking is considered to be bad manners.
- Do not talk with your mouth full, or make avoidable noise or burp when eating.
- It is rude to criticise the food, and you should eat at least some of it. If you really don’t want to eat something, leave it on the side of your plate.
- Do not sit on any table, whether or not it is used for food.
- Māori perform a formal welcoming ceremony, known as ‘pōwhiri’, to greet guests. This formal custom is very important and taken seriously by Māori. It is highly disrespectful to eat, drink or talk amongst others during the welcome.
Te Reo Māori – the Māori Language
An attempt by a visitor to use Māori greetings will almost certainly elicit a delighted response from both Māori and Pakeha (European) New Zealanders.
Kia ora – Hello
Kia ora tatou – Hello everyone
Tena koe – Greetings to you (said to one person)
Tena koutou – Greeting to you all
Haere mai – Welcome
Nau mai – Welcome
Kei te pehea koe? – How’s it going?
Kei te pai – Good
Tino pai – Really good
Haere ra – Farewell
Ka kite ano – Until I see you again (Bye)
Hei konei ra – See you later