Monday, August 31, 2009

10 Impressions So Far

(I wrote these out over my first two weeks here, so that's why there are Addendums to certain points)

1. I think I’m going to like the food here. Lamb meat is on par with beef and pork in terms of cost. Seafood is as good a price as in Vancouver (for certain types of fish/shellfish). Subway has a Roast Lamb sub (same price as the Chicken Terriyaki) and a Seafood special too.

2. Kiwi (New Zealand) girls are cute. I could listen to that accent all day.

3. There are more non-white people than you might expect. There are a fair number of Asians and a lot of Maori (native) people around. Not as many visible minorities as in Canada, but definitely a significant amount.
**Addendum** Just as I typed this, there was a debate in NZ about having mandatory Maori seats in the Auckland Super-city council (like Toronto’s Mega-city council). One of the members in the coalition government was threatening to resign unless mandatory Maori seats were added to the council – the debate of ultimate representation versus democratic process was quite interesting. So, even though the Maori are integrated enough to warrant this debate, work still needs to be done.

4. Speaking of the Maori, the native culture seems very well integrated within the larger culture. Maori hold high political positions, their words and customs seem mixed in everywhere. It seems a stark contrast compared to the way First Nations relations are in Canada.

5. People in Christchurch don’t really like to stop for pedestrians, even when they have the right of way. Maybe it’s because I haven’t quite mastered looking the other way when crossing the street, but it almost seems as if cars have the right of way here.
**Addendum** I’ve asked a kiwi and they’ve said that legally pedestrians have the right of way, but Christchurch drivers just don’t really pay attention to that.

6. Driving on the left side of the road isn’t too hard; you just have to remember to keep left. The most annoying thing is turning on your turn signals; for the first couple of times you turn on the windshield wipers and its super annoying.

7. All of the New Zealand national sports teams have nicknames: the famous rugby team is the All Blacks, the basketball team is the Tall Blacks, the ice hockey team is the Ice Blacks, the cricket team is the Black Caps, the women’s net ball team is the Silver Ferns, and the women’s basketball team is the Tall Ferns.

8. Speaking of the Silver Ferns, it was quite interesting to see women’s sports aired on TV during primetime on a major channel. Not only that, but the commentators were female as well. When was the last time women’s sport was featured in a prime TV spot in Canada? Olympic female hockey, perhaps, but the only women’s sports I can think of even aired on TV are tennis and beach volleyball (and usually on Saturday afternoons). Granted, the women were wearing very short dresses (one team was wearing all pink uniforms, too!) so the sex appeal factor was there, but still, to get such a central timeslot is nice to see.

9. People seem quite outdoorsy here; there are tons of bikes at work (Christchurch is flat!) and there are quite a few runners and people out for lunch soccer as well. Seems like it’s quite similar to Vancouver that way.

10. People love their rugby here. The team to cheer for is the NZ All Blacks; you know how Canada is so pressured to win in Vancouver 2010? It’s the exact same way with New Zealand and the 2011 Rugby World Cup. There was a fundraiser on TV for the SPCA and one of the All Blacks was there and the crowd to see him was massive. There’s this collectible card game with the All Black cereal bars that you can play mimicking the rules of rugby. Kiwis love their rugby.


  1. keep us updated jeff :)

  2. love the post ! keep us updated
    and be safe!