OK It is possible that in the far away or near future, you may take it upon yourself to go to New Zealand to visit. Mainly because we have the best rugby team in the WORLD! In that case you are going to need to know some things to avoid doing embarrassing stuff.
First you need to know about NZ greetings. No need for language. We get along very well with grunts and nods. To say hullo in passing you straighten your forehead and lift your chin ever so slightly, this is done with just a twinge of the eyebrows, any more than a whisper of eyebrow movement and you will be taken for an imposter. Less is best.
When introduced: MEN should shake hands, on the second and subsequent meetings you shake hands and wack your new friend good and hard a couple of times on their back. Saying Good to see ya, mate. And it is perfectly acceptable (even encouraged ) to kiss the girls. Especially after giving her boyfriend a good hard bone crushing handshake and then knocking the wind out him. Then shake the hand of the girl and kiss her lightly on the cheek with a long upside down V shape of air between your bodies! WOMEN can shake hands and or kiss just about everyone on any occassion. Only one kiss on the cheek mind you. One.
Now lets look at a couple of casual dining options!
If you are invited to a Barbie please remember that a Barbie has nothing to do with dolls. When arriving at your new friends house for the Barbie (barbeque) take a 6 pack of beer, or a bottle of wine, some sausages or a salad and a warmie. You will be outside the whole time. Sausages are called snarlers, or sausies. (IN american we call them brats) These will be grilled along with the steak and it will be served on real plates along with piles of salads. If they try to serve you on paper plates be very careful as someone is playing a trick. If you don’t like salads do not visit NZ. In fact if you are invited to anyones home at anytime for any dinner – take a salad and a bottle. If they say bring a plate this is what it means. Not a plate to eat off. A bowl of salad. Oh dear so much to learn. If they say no, that is fine, don’t bring anything, take a Dessert and a bottle of something nice. Ice-cream bought from the dairy on the way is perfectly acceptable for a single man as long as it is vanilla or hokey pokey. Never ever go to someones house to eat with one arm as long as the other. You will not be invited back. NZers are pretty mean like that!
Now a Barbie is not to be confused with a sausage sizzle. A sausage sizzle is often held in really nasty weather, outside a supermarket, to raise money for a netball team or a school camp or some other worthy cause that could use the cash. One very lonely frozen small person will be grilling sausages and onions in the carpark. You will give him a dollar coin and he will give you a sausage and a sliver of onion, if you want onion (this question will be directed at you with a point of the spatula and a raise of the eyebrow. Be observant. If you miss this imperceptible request you will miss out on the onion and he will only give you one of the little endy sausies.) The sausie will be wrapped in buttered bread drenched in tomato sauce (otherwise known as Martie Sauce not ketchup), with a paper towel loosely wrapped around the outside to save your onion from falling to the ground and your sausage from sliding out through the folded bread. Beware: the sausage will be VERY HOT. And with the butter melting it is now very slippery. This is how the cold little man entertains himself, watching hungry people trying to get bites of hot sliding dripping sausages in a cold car park, while juggling their groceries. It is a little like watching a dog try to catch a bee.
They have sausage sizzles at rugby games too, just so’s you know to take your dollar.
A dairy cow is called a cow and a cow for meat is called a beast. Though generally at the table we do not say pass the beast.
It is OK to wear your jandals to a barbie at someones house. Jandals are very thin rubber sandally things with a slim prong of rubber that slides between the big toe and its adjacent toe and a Y of thin rubber that comes up and over the top of your foot. One has to grip slightly with the tips of your toes to keep them on. To be an authentic jandal (or shandal if you want to pronounce it correctly) you must be able to feel the road through the sole of the rubber. They are very very thin and drag and slap slightly as you walk. And when they sit quietly and smellily outside the door they will curl up a little. This is good.
Never wear your shoes into a NZ house. There are a lot of dogs in NZ and very few little plastic dog poo baggies.
If you don’t eat salads go home. NZers eat a lot of salads.
NZ Fish and Chips are the best take aways in the world. You must go to a Fish ‘n Chip shop. When we are away from NZ we dream of fish and chips, steak and cheese pies or marmite. Though Fish and Chip Shops are a mine field for the uninitiated. You will order your food and then sit on a plastic chair, looking at magazines that have been rejected by the doctors, waiting while it is cooked. If you order the fish you will get shark. You should look up at the list on the wall and order the fish from there. Then you will get the nice fresh fish. You will order chips with that, they come in scoops. Chips are potatoes sliced into long thick finger shaped .. um.. chips. You almost never find an actual finger in there but it is best to be on the lookout, as these are real potatoes chopped up by real people with really big chip chopping machines. You may also order a pineapple ring, a potato cake, a hot dog, a paua fritter, deep fried moro bar or a spring roll. Be careful here. You will be judged by your order.
All of these are deep fried until explosively crispy and overdone then drained for a very short time, and wrapped in newsprint then newspaper. The paper is important as it soaks up all that delicious grease. (Actually you can call fish and chips- greasies or shark and taties, either works) You can ask for tartare sauce pronounced tartair but I wouldn’t as this is considered a bit girlie. Salt and vinegar is ok. But I don’t ask for vinegar either as it sometimes makes them too soggy and I hate soggy chips!
Now pay attention: eating the fish and chips. This is very important. If you are walking home with the newspaper wrapped package of shark and taties, tear a hole in the corner and just put your hand down into the steaming mess and pull out the first chip you come to and eat it fast. It is Ok to do this. When you get home you say. I only tore a hole in it to let the steam out so that they didn’t go soggy. Once you are home or on the beach, dump the package on the table or on a rock, grab the martie sauce, open the paper, all sit around and tuck in. NO-ONE ever uses a fork. Thank God I remembered to tell you that. Make big puddles of martie sauce or TF (I cannot tell you what that means unfortunately, but the T stands for Tucker and it rhymes) on the paper (never over the actual food- sharing remember) and just dip and gobble. No plates and no cutlery and no clean up! All good.
Tomorrow we are going to talk about the rugby and netball and dining OUT in NZ!