Kiwis love to poke fun at themselves—or more often each other—so people from different parts of the country get ribbed about their stereotypical behaviors. This will give you a bit of a head start on your Kiwi stereotypes, so you can be in on the joke too.

Umbrellas are uncommon in "Windy Welly." Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf. Editorial use only.

Wellington sign. Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.

Auckland: You’ll often hear Aucklanders referred to as JAFAs. That’s an acronym for “Just Another F-ing Aucklander.” People from other parts of New Zealand tend to think of Aucklanders as self-obsessed, fashion-conscious, and materialistic. Since Auckland is the biggest city, it breeds the most resentment in the rest of the country.

Rotorua: This hot spot for Maori culture (and geothermal heat, too) is nicknamed “Roto-Vegas” by Kiwis due to its ability to bring in the tourists, both by cashing in on Maori culture and coming up with new activities, like Zorbing, to part visitors from their cash. It lacks the flash of the real Vegas, but the sulfur fumes in the air do smell a bit like a sweaty casino!

Wellington: If you ask anyone outside of Wellington, they’ll tell you to hold on tight when you visit “Windy Welly.” Wellingtonians roll their eyes at the stereotype that every day sees gale-force winds ripping through the city. But you’ll notice that even in heavy rain, almost nobody bothers to carry an umbrella. Why? They’d get blown away!

Christchurch: The biggest city on the South Island has a personality of its own—and not everyone paints a flattering picture of it. Christchurch, with its very English atmosphere, has a reputation for being more class-conscious than the rest of New Zealand. Children must attend the “right” schools, and many an old boy finds his way into the old boys’ club. Immigration is starting to shake things up in the Garden City, but stereotypes take a long time to fade away.

Invercargill: Most Kiwis think you’d have to be a bit nuts to live way down south in Invercargill, so the stereotype of this southernmost city is a bit colorful to say the least. This is where Burt Munro of The World’s Fastest Indian fame came from, and he personifies the eccentric, resourceful, and good-humored Southlander to perfection. These are people who will try to fix anything with a bit of number eight fencing wire and a crescent wrench—and will often succeed.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.