New Zealandism: Trivia, Facts, and Tidbits

There are a lot of things that are a little different in New Zealand compared to the rest of the world.   This is a collection of New Zealand facts, trivia, and tidbits that gets added to every week.


New Zealand alcohol tax

Alcohol is expensive in New Zealand, and a large part of the expense is tax.  There is excise tax and GST included in the price of alcohol.  The excise tax varies by the type of product.  A bottle of wine has $2.18 excise tax, 750ml of 40% liquor has $15.87of excise tax, and a 6 pack of Tui $3.07 of excise tax.   This means a $40 750ml bottle of 40% spirits has $21.09 of excise and GST.


Gum boots are very kiwi

Gum Boots.  Kiwis love their gumboots.  You will frequently see gum boots stacked outside of bars and pie shops.  You will see gum boots everywhere from the grocery store to people wearing them while tramping.  Kiwis have found innovative things to do with their gumboots, like gumboot tossing while having a few beers.  There is even a gumboot tossing championship held each summer.


Lots of sauce available for sales

Sauce.  I think that sauce is a terrible name for ketchup, but the entire country of New Zealand disagrees with me.  Ketchup is affectionately called sauce, and the New Zealand brands have a lot more sugar added to them than standard US ketchup.  Watties is a New Zealand favorite, but I will stick with Heinz.


Native Kea in New Zealand

The only native mammal to New Zealand is the bat.  This has led to centuries of birds ruling New Zealand.  The number of rare and endangered birds in New Zealand is mind-boggling.  Kiwis are spending a ton of resources to keep their native birds around by eliminating introduced predators.  You would not have guessed that the Kea, an endangered alpine parrot, is a pest and loves to steal loose items trampers leave around and peck at gaskets on campervans.


New Zealand has very descriptive signs

If there were an award for descriptive signs, New Zealand would win.  The figures on many of their signs are more lifelike than in other countries. They also feel a need to have warning signs for just about everything, including frisky cows.


sausage for fund raiser

The fundraiser sausage is a New Zealand staple.  You can often find organizations selling sausages at festivals and hardware stores.  Kiwis prefer their sausage on a piece of white, often stale, bread instead of a bun because the consensus is that there is too much bread in a bun.  You always have an option of sauce and onions.  There is a lot of debate on if the onions go on top or under the sausage.



New Zealand varieties of pears

There are over 15 varieties of pears grown in New Zealand. I did not know that there were more than a handful of types of pears before I moved to New Zealand.  You will find pears year round, but some of the varieties change depending on the season.  Many of New Zealand’s pears are grown in Hawkes Bay.


18 year old purchase restriction

New Zealand’s limit age limit for purchasing tobacco and alcohol is 18 years old.  There are also other items like spray paint and fireworks that you need to be 18 to purchase.  Retailers are legally required to keep spray paint under lock and key and not just on the shelf.


New Zealand Egg Size

Eggs in New Zealand are sized by number with sizes 5-8 being the most common.

Size 8= 68g (US jumbo=70.9g and EU XL=73g)

Size 7= 62g (US XL=63.8g and EU large=63g)

Size 6= 53g (US large=56.7 and EU medium=53g)

Size 5= 44g (US medium=49.6g)


Air New Zealand security

New Zealand airport security is very different than the US and the EU.  There is not an ID check on any domestic flight, although the airline does have the right to request ID.  If your flight is on a propeller plane, you will not need to go through security.  Some airports like New Plymouth and Gisborne do not even have x-ray machines. If your flight is on a jet, you will need to go through security. Check out our domestic flight guide to get cheaper than advertised rates.


servings per bottle label

Alcohol labels in New Zealand list the number of servings in the container on the label. This is incredibly logical and useful information to have on a label.   It also makes you think twice about drinking that entire bottle of wine which is about 8 true servings of alcohol.


New Zealand Drone Rules are strict

You are not allowed to fly drones on DOC property unless you have a permit. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear/see people flying them on DOC land, even when there is a sign at the trailhead. Our guide to flying drones in New Zealand goes over where you can legally operate them.


Coolers, chilly bin

Prices of many things in New Zealand are comparable to things in the states, but some things are a lot more expensive.  Chilly bins (coolers) are one item that is pretty expensive in New Zealand.  This chilly bin for $45 is actually a pretty good price.


peppers are expensive

Capsicums are what New Zealand calls bell peppers and are common. Hot peppers are expensive and a lot less common.  They tend to cost $1-3 per small pepper. New Zealand food is void of spice with the spiciest food in the country being Indian food. There tends to be three levels of hot, New Zealand hot, normal hot, and Indian hot.


new zealand guidebooks

Tramping in the bush. Tramping is New Zealand for hiking. Bush is New Zealand for the woods. When searching for tramps/hikes on the internet if you want content geared for locals search for tramps instead of hikes.


Check out our 10 favorite things about New Zealand and 10 of our frustrations about New Zealand.



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