8 Things Unique to New Zealand for International Students to Discover

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

In honour of our No.8 wire mentality, we bring you eight things that New Zealand alone is known for. Some of these things are endemic, some have been developed others are just popular quirks about our people and culture. No matter how or why they came to be, all these things are unique to New Zealand and Kiwis.

The most famous of all the native birds is the one the people of this country are named after. It is also arguably the most unique as it is flightless and nocturnal so will spend most of its hours awake and foraging on the forest floor for small insects to eat.

Rotorua’s Smell

There is nothing like being welcomed to a city by the smell of rotten eggs. Rotorua as a city and smell are so unique, it’s hard to find a place like it anywhere else in the world. Because of its constant geothermal activity and the sulphur in the air, you will smell Rotorua before you enter the region. Luckily, you get used to the bad smell after a day or so and the town is great to explore, so don’t let the smell keep you away from visiting.

Gumboot throwing in the gumboot capital
Taihape lays claim to be the gumboot capital of New Zealand (and the world), and hosted the national gumboot throwing championships, during the Rural Games competition in the Palmerston North region this year.

Like something out of science fiction film, these alien-like creatures can be found across New Zealand in caves, backyards and in trees. Giant flightless crickets, they are one of the heaviest insects in the world and are generally nocturnal. These distinctive insects are endemic to New Zealand and were the inspiration for the world famous Wētā Workshop.


Do you want to see a truly remarkable creature whose ancestors were dinosaurs? How about a creature that has a third-eye? Or maybe you want to meet an animal that will potentially live even longer than you will? Look no further, the tuatara is a truly incredible reptile species. “This ‘living fossil’ is the one remaining member of the Order Sphenodontia which was represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs, some 200 million years ago. All species apart from the tuatara declined and eventually became extinct about 60 million years ago.”1

The accent and slang

Let’s talk about the accent – it is truly a unique thing! Kiwis are well-known for our pronunciation of i’s like u’s (i.e. sux instead of six and fush instead of fish). We are also known for our hard to understand slang (sweet as, yeah nah, chilly bin, jandals and chur). A truly unique feature of our culture!

Not wearing shoes/going barefoot

Hint: We don’t just walk barefoot at the beach! That’s right, Kiwis will go barefoot everywhere, especially in summer. We go barefoot at supermarkets, cafes and even at some events, nowhere is off-limits.

The Flat White (and coffee in general)
Kiwis love to brag about the quality of our coffee and the fact we invented the flat white. Chances are you’ve had a chance to sample our coffee by now, if you have, we hope that you agree!


Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we create this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.