The districts of the Waikato offer relaxed, peaceful living. The rural tranquillity and views of farmland and bush are making it increasingly popular for lifestyle living.
In contrast, Hamilton City is vibrant and diverse. It features some of the most spectacular gardens in the country, one of our largest aquatic centres, an internationally recognised zoo, world class sport and event facilities plus an extensive network of walkways and cycle ways linking with the Waikato River. Around Hamilton airport, there is a vibrant aviation community which includes pilot training organisations and aviation maintenance.
There is a lively social scene with many cafes, bars and restaurants and the city hosts a number of hallmark events including Balloons of Waikato and the Gallagher Great Race. On the coast, Raglan is a mecca for surfers, and along the river fishing and boating are popular.
The Waikato region is mild and temperate with moderate rainfall. Daily maximum temperatures in Hamilton range between 22-26°C in January and February and 10-15°C in July and August.
Summer temperatures occasionally reach 28°C, while on clear winter mornings temperatures may drop to as low as −3°C.
Low-lying areas experience regular morning fog.
The New Zealander (kiwi) lifestyle:
While it is impossible to fully capture the kiwi lifestyle, here you will find a few traits.
What Kiwis do for fun:
Get outdoors – Go surfing, play beach soccer or beach cricket. Kiwis love outdoor sports, whether water- or land-based.
Swim in the ocean – New Zealanders have a real love affair with the seaside and on a hot day the beaches are popular. Remember when at the beach to ‘swim between the flags’ as this is the safe area patrolled by surf lifesavers.
Stay in a bach – Baches are a much-loved Kiwi institution. Traditionally the bach was a small, simple summer holiday home (of sometimes DIY/dubious construction!), usually at the beach or beside a lake. Nowadays though some baches are quite large, modern and luxurious.
Hang out at a café – Sip on a coffee, true Kiwi style! For whatever weird reasons, New Zealand has become a haven of excellent coffee, and many Kiwis on their OE (overseas experience) in Europe can’t wait to get back to the coffee at home! Try a short black (espresso shot), a long black (espresso with an equal amount of hot water), a flat white (espresso with steamed milk, stronger than a latte) or a bowl latte (a giant-sized milky coffee served in a very large rounded cup).
Catch a game of rugby – New Zealanders are love with their national sport, rugby. It is a common joke that you are not a kiwi until you have seen the All Blacks (the national rugby team) play.
See a local band play live – New Zealanders are very patriotic when it comes to local music. Every Friday and Saturday night, no matter where you are in New Zealand most likely there will be a local band playing someone where town.
The Kiwi BBQ – mixing three of New Zealanders favourite things: eating, spending time outside and drinking beer, the Kiwi BBQ is the quintessential New Zealand experience.
Kiwi Things to Wear
New Zealanders would not claim to be the most fashion conscious people in the world however they are very practical.
Kiwi designers – From Trelise Cooper and Kate Sylvester to Donna Tulloch and Tanya Carlson – dress in local designer threads.
All Blacks gear – Since black goes with everything, All Blacks jerseys (and anything-All Blacks) are always a good look.
Gumboots and black singlets – while less popular than before, when travelling around the rurual areas of New Zealand it is still common to see people wearing the most practical of outdoor clothing: gumboots and black singlets.
Jandals – Kiwi’s love letting their feet get fresh air. Jandals are one of the most popular footwear choices during the summer months. For those who feel Jandals are too restrictive, many kiwis walk around barefoot.
Kiwi Food & Drink
Every country has symbolic food that represents their country and New Zealand is by no means any different! From seafood to the sweet treat of pavlova and locally brewed beer, here’s a list of some of the main ingredients on the weekly Kiwi shopping list …
Fish ‘n’ chips – Eat takeaway fish ‘n’ chips on the beach, and don’t forget the Wattie’s tomato sauce!
Chocolate fish – This popular Kiwi sweet treat is often served with coffees. It’s a fish-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallow!
Eat a pie – What started as an easy-meal-on-the-run has evolved into nationwide obsession. Sold in the thousands each year from petrol stations and cafés, the fillings can range from gourmet chicken and cranberry to basic beef mince and Kiwi classic, bacon and egg. A true Kiwi culinary tradition!
Hokey pokey icecream – New Zealand’s favourite ice cream flavour, vanilla with small bits of crunchy toffee.
Go to a hangi – The hangi or ‘earth oven’ is the best known traditional form of cooking for Maori. A hole is dug in the ground and the food (anything from potatoes to pork) is placed in woven baskets and buried along with hot rocks so that the food is cooked slowly in its own steam.
Pavlova – A traditional New Zealand dessert – a meringue that is crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, covered with cream and decorated with fruit.
Crayfish – Famously bought from roadside stalls in Kaikoura, but sold all over New Zealand.
Speight’s, Monteith’s & Tui – Classic Kiwi beer & lager, adored all year round.
Honey – Many varieties of honey are available in New Zealand but the most sought-after is Manuka honey, produced from a native flowering shrub known for its health benefits.
King salmon – Available either fresh or smoked, salmon is farmed in Marlborough Sounds, Stewart Island and on the South Island’s east coast.
Kiwifruit – Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, kiwifruit are succulent green-fleshed fruit with a furry brown skin that thrive in warmer parts of the country.
Lemon & Paeroa (L&P) – A combination of lemon juice and carbonated mineral water from the small town of Paeroa. An L&P advertising campaign gave us the now well-recognised concept of “World Famous in New Zealand” (which L&P itself epitomises).
Kumara – A traditional Maori food crop, kumara (also known as sweet potato) is a delicious Kiwi favourite that may be served as chips, roasted or mashed.
Lollies – Known as candy and/or sweets overseas, Kiwi chewy lollies are often sold in one- and two-dollar bags in local dairies. We’re also a nation obsessed with lolly cake, a glorious desert/slice/log thing made from lollies, crushed malt biscuits, condensed milk, coconut, and melted butter. (Trust us, it’s great.)
Green-lipped mussels – Caught around local shores, these large mussels are encased in a beautiful green coloured shell. Often served with a large wedge of bread.
Pineapple lumps – Chocolate covered pineapple chews.
Weetbix – A favourite breakfast cereal among Kiwis. Similar to the American brand Weetabix.
Marmite – Be warned! Some people love it, some people hate it. Marmite is a yeast based spread.
Whitebait – Tiny minnow-like fish that are considered a delicacy. Often cooked as a fritter, fried in batter.
Paua patties – Paua (shellfish) has a very distinctive flavour and is eaten in a pattie.
Bluff oysters – From the southern-most town in mainland New Zealand, Bluff.
Anzac biscuits – Found in all good cafés and supermarkets.
42 Below – Vodka Award-winning New Zealand vodka, available in a wide range of flavours.
Zealong Tea – As Kiwis are increasingly health conscious they are drinking more green tea. Zealong is New Zealand’s only green tea estate. The tea has truly gone international with world leaders and royalty being served it.
Kiwi gifts to buy
Many overseas travellers like to bring back a few souvenirs with which to remember our adventures. Whether it’s an item for your home or a gift for a friend or loved one, here’s a list of Kiwi items to pack in your suitcase before heading home.
A Buzzy Bee – A blue, red and yellow coloured pull-along wooden bee on wheels, found in almost every family household in New Zealand. A classic Kiwi toy.
Merino wool – Most souvenir shops sell merino wool, worn by New Zealanders to keep warm in the cold winter months. The Icebreaker brand is a Kiwi favourite due to its 100 percent natural and breathable qualities.
Rumi & wood crafts – A popular natural craft found at local markets and souvenir shops.
Greenstone – (Maori name ‘Pounamu’) Sourced in New Zealand, this green jade is often worn around the neck by many Kiwis, in different symbols. It can be bought as jewellery and is also in many souvenir shops.
Possum fur – Blended Merino wool and possum fur crafted into soft and wearable hats, gloves and many other accessories is a local fashion speciality.
Ceramics & sculptures – New Zealand is home to many talented artisans who produce beautiful pieces in ceramics, wood, glass and metal.
Gourmet foods – Explore New Zealand’s gourmet food stores for home-grown wines, olive and avocado oils, chocolates and distilled liqueurs.
Original art – For a real slice of authentic Aotearoa, purchase an original New Zealand painting or limited edition print.
Rotorua mud Take home some local mud and indulge your skin with some of New Zealand’s best natural minerals.
The Kiwi Dream
New Zealanders are not particularly material minded compared to many other countries.
As a general rule New Zealanders do not like to ‘show off’ by wearing expensive brands, driving especially luxury cars or flaunting their wealth. In fact the average kiwi is mistrustful of people who show off and brag about how successful they are.
The three Bs – The Boat, the Batch (holiday home) and the BMW. Once a kiwi reaches this level of wealth it is time to retire and enjoy them.
Quarter Acre section – New Zealanders are not accustomed to apartment living and while apartments are being constructed in our main cities the majority of residents are non-kiwis. Kiwis aspire to own a house on a quarter acre piece of land (approximately 1011 square meters).
Being your own boss – Many kiwis hope one day to own their own business, this isn’t because they hope to make massive amounts of money, it is so they can choose their own work/life balance. Unfortunately many kiwis take the leap into being self employed without planning properly – (4 in 5 businesses fail with in the first three years)