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New Zealand

New Zealand: DOs and DON’Ts for Expats

Magnificent New Zealand lies in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia and is one of the remotely beautiful places on this side of the planet. With a culture that is distinctly Maori but nonetheless open to cultural influences from all over, it is one of the last bastions of environmental diversity.

The country is deeply steeped in tradition while slowly embracing the challenges of a new age. It has a great landscape offering a variety of species of both plant and fauna. It is one of the exotic places to visit on the face of the planet.

new zealand dos and donts

Some Things to Remember When in New Zealand: DOs and DON’Ts for Expats and Travelers Alike

And while the people are generally accepting and charming hosts, there are still some things that you have to remember if you are planning to settle down and look for gainful employment or just passing through and seeing the wonderful attractions it has to offer. Here are some ideas for what to do and avoid when in New Zealand:

DOs. Maoris are rooted in tradition so it is best to observe these tips when you are in NZ:

  • Do keep it casual. A firm handshake is appreciated and calling a newly introduced person by his first name is accepted. They are a casual and fun-loving people after all.
  • Dress accordingly. When the gathering calls for a formal attire, wear an all-out formal get-up. But if it just a casual gathering dress down. However, make sure nothing too indecent would be worn. Keep it classy. Keep it chic and you won’t go wrong in terms of fashion.
  • Mind your manners. Simple rules apply. Hands on the table are okay, elbows are off the table. The fork and the knife can be put parallel on top of the plate as a signal that you are finished. Do excuse yourself if you’re going to belch. Also it is considered bad manners if you sit on the table or put your bags and other stuff atop tables meant for dining.
  • Do listen. Some Kiwis talk fast and if you cannot follow, ask him to slow down. Listen to the conversation intently so you can add to it constructively.
  • Do learn how to drive on the left-hand side of the road. Be very careful if you are driving. The roads are differently laid out and can be only be a one lane blacktop at times.
  • Do let faster vehicles go past you. Since you are unfamiliar with the roads, let the faster traffic pass you by. Don’t get annoyed at this, you are in an unfamiliar territory so it is best to be careful at all times.
  • Do be on time, all the time. Even in the southern hemisphere, punctuality is observed. Tardiness is frowned upon and efficiency is reduced.
  • Do allow for small talk. Meetings don’t always begin with the agenda. Let the participants engage in small talk first before going on to the agenda at hand. This makes it more comfortable to work as people gain a new perspective about their business partners.
  • Respect personal space. Do not be too cowering when you speak with another person in NZ. Respect their personal space and it will be a good place to start a relationship.


DON’Ts. Consequently, do try to avoid doing these things when you are in New Zealand. These may help you to avoid public humiliation and embarrassment.


  • Don’t bring natural products from the outside. Biosecurity is a big thing in New Zealand. Do not bring in any natural produce from the outside. There are some severe penalties that will be meted to violators.
  • Don’t believe the stereotype. Do not expect finding men in traditional Maori costumes walking barefoot and tattooed. Do not expect women to be in grass skirts. Society has changed and they have managed to go with it.
  • Don’t be too overconfident with your swimming. The rip tides and currents in and around the beaches are so strong, you have to be wary of it.
  • Don’t sit anywhere. In certain dining events, the host will tell you where to sit. Do wait for the host to tell you where to sit. Remember that the more formal the occasion, the more formal the protocol to be observed. Go with the flow and have a native with you to explain things if you get confused.
  • Don’t over-stuff your bags. Whether you are on a day to the beach or wherever you are, don’t overstuff your bags. Kiwis appreciate simplicity above all things.
  • Don’t be too exposed. Wear appropriate swimwear, please. Thongs and g-strings are a definite no-no.


Adapting to a new environment and a new culture is not easy but is important to do if you want to be successful abroad. You need to re-learn the things that other cultures may look at as positive. You need to re-learn things that other cultures may deem as wrong. Getting to adapt to it is a must, getting to influence them is a necessity.






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