New Zealand

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By: Jemma



Okay, first a bit about myself. My name is Jemma and I am 15 years old. I was looking on this site to find out a bit about America when I saw that nothing had been written about New Zealand, so I thought I'd help out. I have a mum, a dad and a little sister (she is eleven).

I live in a town called Paraparaumu (which I think means dirty oven in our native language, but more about that later), near New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. I go to college every school day where I chat with my friends and learn stuff. Then I come home and do homework and stuff like dance classes, or netball practices in the winter (more about that later too). New Zealand is in the Pacific Ocean and its nearest country is Australia.There are two languages in NZ. The main one is English and the other is Maori. NZ was found by Captain James Cook (an American), who was working for England at the time, so we were colonized by the British. This is why we have a lot of British culture and customs. Before Captain Cook discovered NZ, it was inhabited only by the Maori (a race such as Asian or European) but now we have a whole lot of races and nationalities. We are not a colony of Britain any more though we are not completely independent (we sill have the Queen as head of state).

The weather is a bit different over here than to England or the USA. Like England we have four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Our Christmas is in summer (so I have never had a white Christmas), which makes it winter around June and July. It doesn't get to hot or to cold in NZ, though in quite a few parts it snows in winter. NZ has a lot of hills and mountains and is quite a scenic country. As new Zealand is a skinny long country in the middle of an ocean, no part in NZ is very far from a beach.

The food here is the same as most countries (we have Burger Kings, Mc Donalds and Kentucky Fried Chickens), but a traditional NZ meal would have to be fish and chips! Most kids love soft drinks and the main one is Coca-Cola. We have normal holidays like Christmas and Easter, but also have special NZ ones like Waitangi Day, Labour Day and Queens Birthday. The school holidays over here a different too. We have four school terms, and school holidays in between them. The holiday between the end of a school year and the start of a new one is eight weeks long, falls in summer and is called the Christmas holidays. You start at primary school at age 5-13, then from there you go to college from 13-18 and then to university. A college day consists of 5 periods, interval and lunch. You can study Geography, science, history, physical education, health, maori, accounting, economics, art, clothing technology, woodwork, french, japanese and graphics to name a few.

The people round here are pretty laid back and play a lot of sports. Our national sport is Rugby (sort of like grid iron only different, and without the helmets), which we are one of the best in the world at. We also like Netball (a game with a ball and a hoop on a pole at either end - we are currently best in the world at this). Both these sports are winter sports and are played by school children all the time. In summer we play cricket. Some of our other sports that are not so widely played are soccer (or football) and hockey. We are quite competitive with our sport especially when playing against the Australians!!

NZ has a democracy and a Prime Minister, and our place where all the politicians meet is called the 'beehive' (it is actually shaped like a beehive). You have to bee 18 to vote and 15 to get a learners permit to drive. We drive on the lefthand side of the road (like England) and spell a bit differently. We have different words for things like the following:

Barbie - barbecue
Bring a plate - means bring a dish of food to share
Cheers - thanks
Dodgy - bad, unreliable, not good as in 'the car was a bit dodgy'
Down the gurgler - failed plan
Dunny - toilet, bathroom, lavatory Ear bashing - someone continually talking
G'day - universal kiwi greeting, also spelled gidday
Good on ya, mate! - congratulations, well done, proud of someone
Good as gold - feeling good, not a problem, yes
Gumboots or gummies - rubber boots, wellingtons
Happy as larry - very happy as in 'he was as happy as Larry'
Hard yakka - hard work
How's it going mate? - kiwi greeting
Jandal - thongs, sandals,flip-flops
Knackered - exhausted, tired
Lift - elevator
Loo - bathroom, toilet
Nana - grandmother, grandma
Pack a sad - bad mood, as in 'she packed a sad'
Pressie - present
Rellies - relatives, family
Strapped for cash - low on cash, no money
Sunday driver - someone who drives very slow
Ta - thanks
Tiki tour - scenic tour, take the long route
Togs - swimsuit, bathing costume
Wobbly - to have a tantrum

Our national animal is the Kiwi (we also refer to ourselves as Kiwi's - instead of New Zealanders) and our currency is the New Zealand dollar.

That's about all right now so I will finish with the first verse of the New Zealand national anthem:

God Defend New Zealand

English Version

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Mâori Version

E Ihowâ Atua,
O ngâ iwi mâtou râ
Âta whakarongona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tô atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Aotearoa





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