Kiwi’s are forging a unique culture. The combined
English/Maori heritage has produced a nation of bold adventurers with a can
do attitude that exudes confidence. The country is blessed with a
pristine environment and lots of open space and enough robust ocean waters
to stir the hearts of many a sailor.
Lots of pristine anchorages and remote islands are easily accessible.
New Zealand is a land of farmers –
most Kiwi’s are less that a generation away from their farms. Kiwi’s pride themselves on their
ability to fix anything – and they can.
The tradesmen are confident and sure of themselves and very good. They have a saying - “number
eight wire mate” – which refers to the early farmers ability to fix anything
with a piece of fence wire.
Labour rates are low, compared to Canada, USA and Oz so New Zealand is a great place to
get things fixed on your boat.
Maori place names are used extensively and this
challenges English visitors to pronounce and remember all those weird names.
Names like Whangarei, Matamata,
Tauranga, Purahotakaka. Yikes!
Try and say those names quickly.
Zealand is about the same physical
size as Great Britain.
The population is four million and the country hosts two million visitors
each year. The climate is
sub-tropical in the north and cools to temperate in the south. The land is green and supports fast
growing forests for harvesting.
The Islands are geologically active and volcanoes and
earthquakes are often in the news.
The countries air is extremely clean compared to
most northern hemisphere locations.
The clean air means very powerful sunshine that will burn unprotected
skin in 15-20 minutes. New Zealand
has more skin cancer per capita than any other nation. The clean air and sunshine is very
good but can be dangerous.
The Maori first settled New Zealand in the early days of
the second millennium. The Maori
name for the land - Aotearoa - translates to the
‘Land of the Long White Cloud.
Compared to the tropics, where the Maori came from, the land is less
tropical and has more clouds.
The Maori are Polynesians who likely reached New Zealand by ocean going canoe.
There are some legal issues between the Maori and the new comers, but both
white and brown people warmly welcomed us to
New Zealand and we encountered no hints of
New Zealand’s distance from the hot spots
of the world mean the cares and worries of other nations rarely effect the
Kiwi's. Nevertheless, New Zealand is the political leader of the
nations like the Cook Islands, Nuie and Tonga.
provides the citizens of those nations with opportunities, advice and
assistance. Islanders from Nuie and the Cooks are welcomed in New Zealand
as citizens. The nation is the boundary between the south west Pacific
Ocean and the eastern side of the Tasman Sea.
Zealand is similar to Canada in many ways.
Geographically the country is quite like British Columbia.
Politically both nations have close but indifferent
allies nearby. Just as Canada and US are close friends and are each
others largest trading partners, New Zealand and Australia also have a special
relationship. In both cases, the
bigger nations have little understanding of their neighbors and
inadvertently step on their toes.
Just as Canadian’s can do little but hold their nose when the US
political/economic systems farts and Kiwi’s similarly suffer the indifferent
happenstance of Australian political and economic affairs.
Canadians and Kiwi's both accrue the benefits of a big powerful
neighbour nearby but whine about the disadvantages and clearly understand
each others problem.
New Zealand was the setting for the classic mega
movie - Lord of the Rings. While exploring the country it is fun to
see the similarities of the land and the movie. Much of the interior
of the south island is quite like the Hobbit's Shire. The hobbit
connection is reinforced because Kiwi's often dispense with shoes.
Bare feet are common in banks and restaurants and on the streets. Many
Kiwi kids can be seen going to school without shoes. Not because they
can't afford shoes, but because New Zealander's just don't give a damn
whether you wear shoes or not. They are proud that they can toss the
footwear whenever they feel like going barefoot. They like to be like
hobbits. I like that.
Kiwi laws severely limit liability actions.
The individual is largely responsible for his own safety and well being.
You won't be taking MacDonalds New Zealand to court because you burned your
lip on a cup of hot coffee. The limited liability helps action
oriented adventure tourism. Kiwis can organize just about any activity
without fear of having your ass sued off if someone gets hurt. I like
If you get hurt in a car accident, the New Zealand
medical system will do what is necessary to get you back to health.
The medical system does not charge citizens or visitors for this.
Citizens and visitors can not sue the other party for medical damages.
Consequently the legal system is not burdened trying to sort out medical
claims. Both the insurance and legal businesses have less impact
when compared to Cannada or the USA..