Ok, so, that title might make it sound like I’m peeved off at the world and I need to bring it down for the people of New Zealand. I thought that since us from NZ are regularly told by the world we’re a relaxed bunch there are a few things that can bring us discomfort. The very fact that I’m highlighting that this is all “in my opinion” shows how hard it is for the average kiwi to show some form of bug bear. In my opinion anyway.
Kiwis are birds, not fruit.
It’s fine if the rest of the world refers to us as kiwis, we use that name all the time. But after spending time in the US I’ve uncovered the horror that when they hear the term the majority actually think of the furry fruit. Blasphemy! Or something. It’s simply what we distinguish as Kiwi Fruit (or strangely enough, Chinese Gooseberries. I’m not sure if the Chinese are happy about that).
It’s humbling enough that our national mascot is a small, flightless bird, but now that we’re associated with a soft (but tasty) fruit bums us out. But this is not the fault of the common man. Nobody google’s the origin of the fruit they just dropped in a bag. It’s those who couldn’t be bothered adding ‘fruit’ to the description and have thus misinformed the public. Of all places Walmart is the only one I’ve seen label them as Kiwi Fruit. So thumbs up to ya Walmart _b
Assuming we’re from Australia
When you hear a foreign accent from a stranger it’s not easy to tell their nationality after they mutter a two worded greeting. It takes a bit of conversation before I can figure one out. So it flutters most kiwis feathers when after the first word comes out of their mouth they’re asked if a dingo ate their baby. In Austin most people are great and don’t make a nationality guess off the cuff. When I first start talking they look a bit confused, however they usually ask me “where are you from?” to which I can reply “New Zealand” and they will say “Cool! Do you like Flight of the Conchords?” This is a good way to question our origin and always leads to conversation about who the manager was for Brett and Jermaine. It’s Murray btw.
Though, things are odd when asked whereabouts in England I’m from. Sheesh, England is as far away from New Zealand as humanly possible. I once flew to the UK and I was literally in the air for 24 hours. I guess a lot of us do have a British background, but I can’t believe that I’m now more accepting of the Australian assumption. We are just a short trip across the Tasman Sea from each other. It’s a bit like Americans and Canadians; they can tell each other apart, but I met a few Canadian visitors to NZ who struggled with kiwis asking what US state they were from. Austrians mistaken for Germans, Portuguese for Spanish. There are other countries out there who share the outcome of living next to a bigger brother.
Item prices excluding tax
In NZ we like to keep things of commerce simple. No mucking around, just give it to us straight then let’s go get a beer. Any object that can be purchased is always advertised in a rounded number. The majority do say .99 on the end, but we don’t have 1 cent coins so it always rounds off to the dollar. So when I was buying a feed at In n’ Out Burger (No, I’m not making that name up,) and the menu said it was gonna cost me $2.99, I was then shocked and confused that I was asked to hand over $3.012345. This was before I had a debit card so the kind girl behind the counter helped count out the coins for me.
I think why Americans want to discern the exact retail tax they’re paying is to keep a close eye on how many pennies The Man is pocketing. We’re not big fans of politicians in NZ either, but how much tax is on whatever it is I’m buying I don’t wanna know. Here are two $2 coins, now gimme my ignorantly priced steak and cheese pie.
Granted, nobody is all that jazzed about afternoons of pit sweat or mornings that would freeze the balls off a brass monkey, but no city in NZ has weather to really complain about. We’re very accustomed to it sitting in the middle. Sure, it gets blimmin’ cold at the bottom of the South Island (the next stop being Antarctica) but it rarely goes below 32f/0c. And if it goes past the mid 80s/high 20s anywhere else we freak out. It was quite the adjustment for me going through 100f/38c for 16 days in a row, and having my glasses fog up when I walked outside was a first. Then one Austin morning it was 21F/-6c and I went for a walk just to feel what it was like. It.Was.Cold. I was wearing PJ pants under my jeans and that was pointless to begin with.
What makes the difference though, is the sun. I know, the sun makes a difference to the planet in general, and the sun in the US can burn you like anywhere on the planet, but it doesn’t have that gnarly sting that you’ll experience in NZ. That can bother anyone who steps foot in NZ. Austin is humid, but the sun doesn’t feel like that laser which Goldfinger wants to zap Bond in the goolies with. Our Slip Slop Slap public campaign has great wisdom to it.
I’ve had a few regrettable burns, but my most regrettable was here in Austin when I forgot my sunblock but thought “Pffft, the sun doesn’t burn a kiwi up here,” and yeah… it did. The Brits are the worst at mis-judging the NZ sun. I actually talked to one with purple skin at the Auckland music festival Big Day Out. We were having a conversation as the day ended and my mind kept thinking ‘this is the largest lobster I’ve ever seen in my life’. I guess he now has a new layer of skin.
I’m from Auckland, home to a quarter of the NZ population, and a city the rest of the country hates. And this is justified, as the well-being of other New Zealanders is the furthest thought from our minds. We spend every second of our spare time talking about our insane house prices and the best place to get a flat white. Our national network news is 50% about Auckland and then we blast stories regarding Trump and a new duck crossing in Invercargill.
It is a beautiful city, with a downtown waterfront, numerous mountains to view the scenery, parks galore (some with lambs bouncing around), and a beach at every point of the compass. Our only mistake was building a large city on top of 50 volcanoes. FIFTY!! We were told they were dormant at school, but when you get older the truth comes out that they could blow at any minute. Ok, maybe not, but we say it whenever the city of Christchurch is shaken for the 3000th time by an earthquake. Which multiplies the Auckland hatred. Can you imagine having your house shaken once a day for 5 years and when an Aucklander hears about it scoffs “At least you don’t live on 50 volcanoes.”
Plus anytime a world renowned musical act visits our shores it’s always in Auckland. If an act that I think is cool rolls into town I just walk down the road and take it in. If you’re down south you’re looking at a flight or epic roadtrip to the Northern land, and if an act bailed on you for some reason you’d be questioning your fandom. I suppose when we head out of town in the summer and clog up your small town with traffic, you can use the term JAFA, harshly known as Just Another F’n Aucklander. Thanks for sending us all your milk and meat though.
Can keep this one short because not many on planet earth are huge fans of snakes. The odd crazy yank wants to keep them as pets, but every Austin local I’ve mentioned snakes to meets me with true discomfort on their face. For those not in the know, NZ has no snakes or poisonous wildlife of any kind. The biggest danger is probably a wild boar, and there’s probably only a couple of them. And since they killed one in ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ they’re now on the extinction list. I’ll probably cry baby tears when I eventually see a snake, but Indiana Jones severely hated snakes too so I’ll cling to that. Fictional characters have feelings too.
If you’re not out in the country using a rifle to cull possums and rogue goats eating away at your trees, then why do you need a gun? It’s very easy for me to say this as NZ doesn’t have a history of much personal gun ownership (outside of hunting), and trying to change gun laws in the US seems like an impossible task. It’s just if you own a gun that was designed for the express purpose of killing people, then we’re not happy.
I could write an entire thesis on the topic, so I’ll have to keep it simple and offensive. Basically, we’re not down with the term ‘badguy’. I hate it. And I’ve heard this term a lot in regards to gun ownership. I need a gun because ‘bad guys’ have guns. Someone breaking into your house is not your friend, but because the odd ‘burglar’ has a gun due to its widespread availability then of course you have to get a gun, and now the whole neighborhood needs a gun etc. I realize this could be easily argued against, but us Kiwis are bothered by this extreme ‘right to bear arms’. You can buy a rifle or shotgun in NZ, but outside of shooting wildlife nobody ever thinks about one.
Not even our cops carry guns, and why do they need to when nobody has one either. And if something gun related does go down then we call in the Armed Offenders Squad. (Who look like the dudes in The Matrix that Keanu opens a can on.) The thing I have to take into account is I’m in Texas, a place with a very different attitude to guns than say California. Just chill brah. Though I’m told half of California is moving to Austin, so they might help get rid of the University of Texas’ ridiculous law of licensed students and lecturers allowed to carry guns on campus. There’s probably a temptation from a lecturer to snuff out kids that are on Facebook while they’re lecturing, and students need to fight back if wrongly accused.
Ok, I’m done
So that’s my ramble of what make’s the average kiwi uncomfortable. If there are others I should have contributed then let me know below.
P.S Where are the pies at? I have a US friend here who recently lived in NZ, and he said his greatest longing is for some handheld meat pie goodness. There are frozen ‘Aussie Pies’ here at the supermarket but they have peas in them so are disqualified.