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New Zealand Christmas: How Do Kiwis Celebrate Holidays In Their Way?

A Kiwi Christmas is one to remember, from devouring a large pavlova to dozing off under a pohutukawa tree. Christmas in New Zealand is distinctive and merges elements of British and American customs with those of the Maori population and the country’s pleasant climate. So, continue reading to find out how New Zealanders celebrate the holidays in unique ways.

1. Don’t anticipate Kiwi Santa Claus to wear tall, black boots!


Numerous towns hold a Santa parade with elaborate floats (built by neighborhood shops, churches, and other organizations), bands, and marching teams. This is basically a commercial event, but everyone appreciates them. It can happen at any time starting in mid-November. Due to the warm weather, Kiwi Santa Claus is occasionally spotted sporting “jandals” (New Zealand sandals), and he may even replace his traditional red top with an “All Blacks” rugby shirt!

Children in New Zealand often offer Santa a drink and some pineapple pieces in addition to carrots for his reindeer!

2. Christmas lights around Kiwi cities


There are significant Christmas light displays and shows in the major cities in NZ, including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Hamilton. Even in tiny towns, villages, and rural areas, there are also significant carol services.

3. There are some unique carols exclusive to New Zealand

Te Harinui

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some creative Kiwis have altered the lyrics to some beloved carols or produced brand-new original Christmas tunes since New Zealand is the complete opposite of a winter wonderland in December. Te Haranui, Christmas in New Zealand, A Kiwiana Christmas, and Sticky Beak the Kiwi are a few favorites played annually. Some Christmas carols, like Silent Night, have been remade in the Maori language, while The 12 Days of Christmas have been reworked as A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree.

4. Unique Christmas trees of New Zealand


Many individuals adorn their Christmas trees at home, Americans or Britons. The pohutukawa is a unique Christmas tree only found in NZ. It also features vivid red blossoms that are popular holiday decorations and can get very big, making it a tree that can go very big. Since the early 1800s, it has been linked to Christmas.

Additionally, Maori culture places a lot of importance on the pohutukawa. The majority of Pohutukawa trees are found on the North Island, where they bloom from mid-December to the second week of January (some do grow on the south island and flower later). It is predicted that the summer will be hotter the earlier it blooms and longer the later it blooms.

5. Christmas food in New Zealand


Christmas supper is frequently barbecued for New Zealanders, and this tradition is gaining popularity. On the barbeque, ham slices, venison, or other unusual meats are frequently barbecued. Besides fish, shrimp are also cooked. Additionally popular are whitebait fritters. Christmas crackers are frequently present at Christmas dinner tables.

Desserts are a huge hit as well! While cold desserts are popular, many people still enjoy hot fruit pudding with custard and ice cream. These include meringues, cold fruit salad, pavlova with whipped cream, jelly, and ice cream. Various soft drinks will also be offered as beverages. People who enjoy it frequently consume too many alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, Kiwis celebrate Christmas in the middle of June, which is New Zealand’s midwinter. This meal will frequently consist of hot foods like roast chicken, roast lamb, cold ham, hot roast vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato (New Zealand’s version is called a Kumara), and other root vegetables, as well as greens like peas. Businesses and clubs are increasingly hosting “mid winter Christmas” feasts in June or July to socialize.

6. Christmas gift in New Zealand


On Christmas Day, after the whole family is gathered, then people start opening their gifts. This typically occurs prior to the Christmas lunch.

Additionally, “Jandals” are a well-liked Christmas gift in New Zealand. These are flip-flops or other types of sandals; the name “jandals” is a contraction of the phrase “Japanese Sandals.” In New Zealand, they have gained popularity since the late 1950s.

7. Enjoy a beach day on Boxing Day


Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand also celebrates Christmas in the midst of the summer break. So, families load their Christmas leftovers on December 26 and head to the coast for a leisurely day. You may expect to see groups of friends and family swimming in the ocean, playing a friendly game of rugby or cricket, and also hanging out beneath a pohutukawa tree.

8. Merry Christmas in the Maori language


New Zealanders adore and appreciate Maori culture and language, and they frequently bring it up in conversation. So, put some effort into greeting people and demonstrating your aroha (love) for the nation, and the locals will embrace you as their whanau (extended family) at Christmas.

Additionally, Santa Claus is referred to as Hana Kōkō in Maori! Happy/Merry Christmas is also pronounced “Meri Kirihimete” in Maori.

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