New Zealand Culture

New Zealand has a culture that is shaped by several historical factors. One of the most prominent is the local Maori civilisation. Another is the early Pakeha people who brought British cultural elements to the nation. In recent years there has been a broadening of New Zealand cultures thanks to the emergence of globalisation. Events of the past have had a lasting impact on national ceremonies. For instance, Waitangi and ANZAC Day are held annually to remember those lost during worldwide conflicts. Multiculturalism has been firmly established in New Zealand for decades.


That of Polynesia has influenced the food of the Maori people. The main difference is that the Maori have had to adapt their dishes for the colder climate of New Zealand. Their most predominant meat sources are fish and birds. A mixture of taro, fern root and sweet potato are often utilised as ingredients. Traditionally the meals were cooked using natural sources of heat such as hot springs and earth ovens.

Pakeha dishes originate from Britain or at the very least, are heavily influenced by it. Meat is used much more heavily in Pakeha meals compared to British ones. Red meat was favoured for many decades but has decreased in popularity recently. Pavlova is considered a national dessert in New Zealand.


The film industry of New Zealand is much smaller than that of Hollywood and Bollywood. Despite this, a number of directors have risen to prominence. They have helped to legitimise New Zealand as a place to make movies. The most famous figure in this regard is Peter Jackson.

He started out by creating low budget horror films such as Bad Taste and Brain Dead. These became popular abroad due to their mixture of slapstick gory violence and silly humour. Jackson then utilised the landscape of New Zealand when making the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It became one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time.

Taika Waititi is another famous film figure from New Zealand. He works predominately in the comedy genre. His early work included quirky indie movies. One of Waititi’s most revered films is What We Do in the Shadows. It follows a group of vampires and takes a satirical look at the horror genre. Waititi was later recruited by Hollywood to work on the Marvel superhero franchise.


New Zealand musicians who are recognised for their talent often become international successes. A good example of this is Lorde. After posting her original songs onto the internet, she received a lucrative record deal. Lorde is now one of the biggest female music artists in the world.

Flight of the Conchords are a duo who also used the internet to help spread awareness of their work. Their songs are humorous and sometimes mock the music industry. They were given their own American television show in which they showcased their top tracks.

There is also a big indie country and folk scene in New Zealand. Most of the artists are relatively unknown and do not perform full time. Luckily they are able to gain some recognition by uploading their songs onto popular streaming sites. For instance, the country singer Katie Thompson live-streamed herself singing and this led to her performing with Elton John.