New Zealand people: An introduction

One of the best things about New Zealand is its warm and friendly people.

New Zealand is considered one of the world’s most welcoming countries. Fun in New Zealand is about friends, family and welcoming visitors.

Classic Kiwi style

New Zealand may be a small country but it has a great attitude. Kiwis believe they can do anything and love a challenge to prove it. Their "can-do" attitude has placed them at the top of many competitive fields.

Guest houses, private hotels, bed and breakfasts and farmstays offer an opportunity to get to know New Zealanders on a personal level. The classic Kiwi-style country pub – and especially the pubs on the West Coast of the South Island – have a warm, friendly atmosphere and offer a great way to get to know the locals.

Māori culture

One in seven of New Zealand’s approximately 4.5 million people is of Māori descent and affiliated to a recognised tribe. Māori trace their families back through their whakapapa (genealogy), to the waka (canoe) their ancestors sailed across the vast Pacific Ocean.

Māori have a rich and dynamic culture that captures their age-old connection with the spiritual and natural worlds. Through their whakapapa, they continue to identify with this connection through their mihi (greeting). Within the mihi, they will name their maunga (mountain), awa (river), marae (meeting place), waka, iwi (tribe) and tūpuna (ancestors).

A living language

Te reo Māori is a living language spoken by about a fifth of New Zealand's Māori population. About half of those speakers are aged under 30.

It is a Polynesian language (similar to other Pacific languages such as Hawaiian and Tahitian), and possesses a unique poetry and musicality. Māori and sign language are official languages in New Zealand, along with English.