Xenophobe's Guide to the Kiwis
Straight laced and straight faced
A good Kiwi bloke plays things down and does not stand on ceremony. The rugby player who scores a try is no longer expected to look as if he is bravely accepting a death sentence but, other than in sport, emotion is not something to be shown in public, and not much in private either. A blokess is allowed more latitude. She is even expected by men to carry on a bit.”
Optimists one and all
Whether or not there is a need to worry about something, the obliging Kiwis tell one another that it will be good as gold,” right as rain,” and no prob” (short for problem), usually qualified by one of those great reassurers in any situation, She'll be right,” or Piece of cake.”
To Kiwis, politeness is synonymous with warmth and generosity of spirit. Thus North Islanders, when complimented by visitors on their scenery, will ask anxiously, "But have you seen the South Island yet?" They do not want to be seen as hogging the best bits for themselves.
Kiwis love receiving praise about their country. However, since self-deprecation is wired deeply into the national psyche, praise is looked upon suspiciously. Kiwis fear they are being buttered up, or somebody is having them on. Both praise and criticism are reported by the media, and are hotly debated.
- Oval Books, June 2008
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