'Thank the bus driver, obey the aunties': The unspoken rules of New Zealand

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 24 Apr 2022, 2:11pm
Kiwis have revealed the 'unspoken rules' of life in New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis have revealed the 'unspoken rules' of life in New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images

'Thank the bus driver, obey the aunties': The unspoken rules of New Zealand

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 24 Apr 2022, 2:11pm

Every nation has things that make them unique, things that, when mentioned, immediately evoke images of that particular country. New Zealand is no exception. 

A recent social media post highlight some of the more quirky and hilarious things that are undeniably, irrefutably Kiwi – the "unspoken rules" that every self-respecting New Zealander must follow. 

"What are the unspoken rules of New Zealand?" was the question posed in a Reddit thread earlier this week. 

The answers did not disappoint. 

The original poster mentioned the unspoken rule that you "must wave or nod in some capacity to the stop/go people" which every Kiwi will know to be true. 

Additionally, they wrote, "when talking about weather, in Wellington, it must be said it cannot be beaten on a good day, and in Auckland, some reference must be made to four seasons in one day". 

But above all, they added, a golden rule of life in New Zealand is: "Obey the Aunties. Even if they are not your Aunties." 

Other Kiwis contributed their own unspoken rules to the thread, including the ones below: 

1. "You are required by law to declare "just these thanks" when buying things at a dairy or servo. If you don't, the shop can charge you for literally anything and everything else on the premises."

2. "One must always thank the bus driver."

3. "If someone raises their eyebrows at you. You raise your eyebrows back." A Reddit user responded to this one saying it is called "the bro brow".

4. "Never, ever pay full price for anything in Briscoes." Or Kathmandu, as another Reddit user added.

5. "When you meet someone at a party, you must find the two degrees of separation between the two of you. Or at least ask them if they know James from high school who works in the same company as them."

A response to this "unspoken rule" added that this applies to anywhere in the world. "If you're at a pub in the UK you'll still somehow find your cousin's ex-flatmate there." 

6. "You got your everyday jandals and your 'going out' jandals."

You have your everyday jandals, your going out jandals and some even have a good pair of work jandals. Photo / Getty Images 

7. "Nod down for strangers and being polite, upwards to the bros."

8. "Whenever you answer a question with 'not many' you MUST follow up with 'if any'."

9. "Children's birthday party tables must and shall feature cheerios and fairy bread. Hundreds and thousands biscuits are not an acceptable replacement for fairy bread but may be served as well. Auckland-specific but if you have a new child in the family, take them to the zoo and place them in the mouth of the dragon as an offering. He will generally let you have them back."

Fairy bread is an essential at every Kiwi kid birthday party. Photo / Getty Images 

10. "You must moo at a cow at least once during a road trip."

11. "Say hello (or similar) to people you walk past on a trail." This practice usually stops the moment you step on to an urban road, a Reddit user replied, with another calling it the "tramping version of togs, togs, undies".

12. "Always thanks the driver for stopping at a crossing. Slight nod and raise the hand."

13. "On road trips you must honk going through a tunnel, and if a passenger, hold your breath over long bridges."

14. "If you answer a question, regardless of whether the response is yes or no, you have to say a mixture of yeah, nah, yeah a few times."

Other Reddit users clarified that "yeah nah" means "nah" whereas "yeah nah yeah" means "yeah". 

15. "Always assume if entering someone's home that it's shoes off unless they say otherwise."

On the subject of footwear, multiple Reddit users also pointed out that, in New Zealand, going barefoot anywhere is always an acceptable option. 

16. "If the server in a restaurant asks you how the food is, you must always politely say it is excellent, even if it is terrible. This is the Kiwi way."

17. "If 'Slice of Heaven' plays you must sing along at the top of your lungs. No exceptions."

You must sing along to this Kiwi classic. That's the rule. Photo / Supplied 

18. "Digging a hole is part of spending the day at the beach."

19. "Tie something on the roof racks, tell yourself that's not going anywhere."

20. "Always blow on the pie."

Safer communities together.