New Zealand Gift Giving Customs

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Flag of New Zealand

Capital: Wellington

Languages: English, Maori and NZ Sign Language

Currency: dollar (NZD)

Religion: Christianity

National Holiday: Waitangi Day, February 6th

More New Zealand Holidays


Your visit to New Zealand can include the tropical climates of the north to the snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps. You will experience the natural beauty in the vegetation and the wildlife of the country along with the friendly and polite nature of New Zealanders. If your trip will include opportunities to exchange gifts with your "Kiwi" friends, here are a few tips about giving gifts in New Zealand along with some other etiquette and customs of the Maori culture.

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Gift Giving in New Zealand

  • Chocolates, flowers or a book about your home country make good host gifts when visiting a New Zealander's home.
  • Gifts should not be lavish.


Birthday Traditions

In New Zealand the birthday person receives a clap for the number of years they have been alive, with one extra clap for good luck. This is done after the candles on the cake have been lit and the birthday song has been sung, loudly and out of tune.

Milestone birthday's include the 18th where a New Zealander is independent and should be learning to live on their own. The 21st birthday is the most important and is usually celebrated with a big party with friends and family.

Kia huritau ki a koe is Happy Birthday in the Maori language.


Wedding Traditions

Traditional New Zealand Wedding

A New Zealand wedding is much the same as ours in that they are traditionally held in a church, the bride wears white and has bridemaids. The groom wears a black or gray suit with a white shirt and tie and has a best man and groomsmen. They also follow the custom that the groom should not see the bride before the wedding.

A Maori Wedding

Some choose to follow the culture of the island. A ceremony will be held to welcome the bride and groom, a Powhiri, with a traditional warrior challenge. The couple will be blessed in the Maori language and the ceremony will be lead by a tribal elder. An ancient culture of the Moari is the wedding bands are made of carved bone or greenstone.


Christmas in New Zealand

Christmas in New Zealand falls during the summer months. There are parties, exchanging of gifts and visits to the beach to celebrate the holiday. They have a Christmas tree and have adopted many American and Irish customs.

The spirits and creatures of the Maori culture resemble elves and gnomes and play an important role in the celebrations. The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated with a special service.

Since Christmas falls in the summer in New Zealand, many will have their Christmas dinner outside with a picnic or barbecue. Some will follow the Maori tradition of having a Hangi. This is where a hole is dug in the ground and filled with hot stones. The food in put in the hole and left to cook. The Hangi is then served in the evening and after the meal many will sing Christmas carols.

Meri Kirihimete is Merry Christmas in the Maori language.

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