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New Zealand Etiquette

Etiquette is just as important in New Zealand as it is anywhere else in the world. Here are some traditional customs to keep in mind:

Meeting and Greeting

  • The greetings in New Zealand are usually casual, often just a simple handshake accompanied by a friendly smile.
  • New Zealanders tend to quickly move to using first names, but it’s best to address them by their honorific titles and surnames until they suggest a more familiar level and call you by your first name.

Maori Meeting and Greeting Customs

Maori Meeting and Greeting Customs, Photo  Credit: Fraser Clements

  • The Maori people have their own unique protocols for welcoming and bidding farewell to visitors.
  • In certain business dealings within a tribal group, a formal welcome called Powhiri may be practiced. This involves specific seating arrangements and designated speakers.
  • The speeches given during these welcomes are delivered by agreed speakers, with the most important or elder speaker concluding the speeches.
  • Most of the speeches are given in the Maori language and are accompanied by traditional songs.

Gift-Giving Etiquette in New Zealand

  • It is customary to bring a small gift, such as flowers, chocolates, or a book about your home country, when visiting someone’s home. These gifts should not be extravagant.
  • All gifts are opened when received.

Dining Etiquette in New Zealand

  • For more formal dining occasions, a stricter protocol is followed.
  • Wait to be told where to sit.
  • Meals are often served family-style, where dishes are placed in the center of the table for everyone to share.

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