The Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent)
The bulk of the population, is however, made up of the Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent). Kiwis, as they are affectionately known, are a friendly bunch on the whole, with a great sense of pride in their country. They like to get out and about and enjoy themselves and priorities lean toward recreation.
Although it is an English speaking country, there are many differences between the New Zealander (or Kiwi) and the ‘’Poms'’. For instance, the Kiwi sense of humour is very different. Quite often I have found that a quip that would have been greeted with a laugh in the UK, will be met with a blank stare, and I am not the only English person to mention this.
Many of the tradesmen here will tackle a job the quickest and easiest way they can, often with little regard for rules and regulations, which keeps prices low and workmanship in many cases quite poor. Then tend to have a ‘’she’ll be right'’ type of attitude towards their work and it is practically unheard of for a tradesman to clear up after himself.
The safety regulations do not appear to be as stringent as those in the UK, or if they are they are not enforced to such a degree. For instance my local tavern has a car park which backs onto a pond, yet there is no railing to protect children (or drunks for that matter!) from falling into the pond.
The helicopter accident rate is four times that in the United States. The loss of life of residents and tourists in hiking, boating and small aircraft accidents, is I believe a reflection on safety standards. Railway level crossings are also the scene of many fatal injuries.
School children go on trips to the swimming pool or library on their bikes. Largely unsupervised my daughter’s class rode right through the City. I have also been on a school trip with children on the coach squeezed three to a seat and standing in the aisle.
I would not say that ‘new age man’ has reached this side of the world yet! Rugby and beer are the main topics of conversation carried out between the men, who stand together at the bar, whilst their wives and girlfriends sit together at the tables. This is obviously a huge generalisation, but certainly not uncommon.
The first country in the world to give women the vote, I have found the women here to be mostly very capable and perhaps tougher than their European sisters. Probably less vain and possibly more pre-occupied with hobbies and work than fashion and ’soaps’.
Many young women go on to university and travel overseas, but there are still a lot who are eager to get married young and have children.
The children appear to be less fashion conscious and when we first arrived here I was fascinated to watch my somewhat sophisticated 9 year old daughter get involved in playing marbles! My impression of the children is that is what they are - children. Serious dating often does not start until they are at least eighteen or nineteen.
Both the friends of my children and their parents are casual in their arrangements. I have found the casualness of some parents slightly irresponsible. My 9 year old daughter has been picked up to go and see a movie at 6pm in the evening and not returned home until 11.30 pm without so much as a phone call by way of explanation and the mother genuinely surprised that I was concerned at all.
My children both commented on the bad language used by their peers when we arrived in this country, one can only assume either they have made nicer friends now, or have got used to it, as they have not mentioned it recently.
New Zealanders are very sociable and the sight of friends enjoying barbecues and picnics together in the summer is commonplace.