Tell me about New Zealand

The Rodney District, to be precise. How hot or cold does it get? What’s the weather like in general? What’s there to do? What are the people like?

And some specific questions. Now, I’m all for new experiences and yadda yadda, but there are some things that would help ease a transition.

– First of all, I live for french fries. And chips are even better, IMO. Do you have the big, thick, oil-fried kind? (I don’t dig matchstick fries.) If I ordered them in a restaurant, would I get ketchup?

– Smoking. How widely is it allowed or prohibited? What brands of cigarettes are available? I smoke Mavericks, which are hard to find even in America, but they’re like Marlboros. How expensive are cigarettes, relatively?

– Bubble gum. When I don’t smoke, I chew! Paging Dr. Freud! Now, years ago, I used to be able to get orange gum and raspberry gum, but like everything else I like, they disappeared. Do you by any chance have those flavors? It would be great if they were available somewhere in the world!

– Chocolate chips. I mean, the kind you make cookies with. I love to bake, and Mr. Rilch loves to eat them. Would I be able to find them easily? Nestle or whatever?

– Hair coloring. I use L’Oreal. Is that brand available, and if not, what brand do you recommend?

– Lip balm. Do you have Burt’s Beeswax, and again, if not, what do you recommend?

– I can accept not getting to watch Lost and Galactica (they’ll be on DVD eventually, after all), but are they broadcast down there? If so, are they on the same schedule as the US? I’ve been vaguely aware of non-Americans saying, “Aaaugh! I didn’t get to see that episode yet!”

Thanks in advance!

The Rodney District (from what I’ve heard) is nice and quiet, unfortunately they’re beginning to get a lot of the northwards urban spawl from Auckland. Check Wikipedia for NZ’s weather.

Chips from any fish and chip shop are normally chunky cut. Ketchup (aka, tomato sauce) is widely available, although mayo/aioli is getting pretty popular with the fancier places. The hard part would be to find a place that does them well.

Smoking is banned in public areas, and most hotels/motels. Going outside for a puff is still ok though. I don’t smoke, but this site here seems to cover most of the common brands in the supermarket.

Err… you can get Hubba Bubba gum over here, as well as L’Oreal products and chocolate chips. Umm… do know we have hot and cold running water, and that newfangled tame lightning that comes from the plastic wall sockets, right? :wink:

Lost was shown on free to air, but was a few weeks behind iirc. I don’t think the 3rd series of BSG was shown in NZ yet. Due to our small population, it’s pretty rare for scifi shows to be shown here unless they’re massively popular (we did get Heroes). Generally we get most US shows a month or two later. At least we have the Food Channel on Pay TV.

ok, I’ll just give some quick answers, and check back in tomorrow, though some of these questions really require a females touch :smiley:

I live in south Rodney, Dairy Flat.

Rodney starts just north of Auckland between Albany and Orewa, and west at Helensville, finishes further north at Wellsford or so and goes from coast to coast. Weather same as Auckland, hot-ish, dry, wet, cool down to 10C in winter with the odd frost.

Local Government Website

Can’t answer for chips (fries) don’t get out enough :eek:

Smoking is banned in public indoor spaces, fags are taxed heavily (NZ$20?/20?) Marlbroros are available, whether they’re the same as US, I don’t know

Bubble gum is available, but I never used it, so…

Chocolate chips are available, I’d eat my mums if she didn’t hide them or cook them into biscuits.

Hair colour I know nothing about, losing it…that’s another story

Lip balm, just whatever I find, but there’s all sorts about.

Lost is available, and Battlestar Galactica too later (or better be :frowning: ), might be a bit behind the US though.

Others will be a lot better at answering some of these questions, but anything specific I’d be happy to hunt it down for you.


L’Oreal is available and advertised as a brand all over the place here. Haven’t heard of Burt’s Beeswax, but there’s tons of choice in stuff like lip balms and other skin protection products (this is NZ, after all, where the ozone hole can do funky things with the skin in summer).

Yes, Rodney is being developed, but there’s still room to move your arms about in some parts of the district.

French fries (we call them shoestrings) are usually the province of McD’s and BK. Even Wendy’s here sell the larger kind. We also have potato wedges here. In some places you can even find buffalo chips. :slight_smile:

Is this a serious thread? I’m all for helping people out with local info, but c’mon - I take it you’re moving to NZ, or at least staying for a while, and you wanna know if you can get flavoured gum, chocolate chips and shampoo like you have at home? Are those the most important questions you have to ask? Don’t be the ugly American here - you might find you actually like the place despite the lack of Mrs McGinty’s Patent Lip Goo.

And no, you can’t smoke anywhere except outside and in your own home. And leave your six-shooter at home.

Aw, crimeny. I knew someone was going to be offended.

I’ve moved enough times within the USA to know that one cannot ever take for granted being able to find this product or that service. Big changes don’t faze me; there’d be little point in going anywhere if everything was the same. But small differences can be jarring.

And I’m fully prepared to enjoy my stay. It certainly doesn’t hinge on the availability of Burt’s Beeswax. I’m also prepared to find products I like better than what I get here. I’m certainly not going to be making daily pilgrimages to McD’s and bypassing the local cuisine, for instance. Or griping about cricket being on TV and not getting to watch baseball. But as an old hand at moving, I find it worthwhile to ask in advance what to expect.

And no, those were not the most important questions. Just the most specific ones. Perhaps you can help me out and tell me the best ways to meet new people, and what topics are good for starting a conversation, and like that. And if there are any Americanisms that might offend people.

Well, obviously, or Peter Jackson wouldn’t have a career!

Seriously, I hoped not to rub anyone the wrong way, but as I said above, just moving within the USA has had its surprises. Cultural things, too, not just retail. In Pittsburgh, for instance, one does not mess with blue-collar workers. In L.A., I’ve found to my dismay that they get treated little better than house elves, and few people think anything of it. ETA: I wasn’t the blue-collar person when I discovered this; I was the white-collar person. Still an uncomfortable moment.


…ha! We are just playing Season 2 now, just watched Pegasus Part 1, so we are a fair way behind the states here…but the DVD’s are pretty easy to come by.

You should enjoy watching Lost over here, TVNZ typically re-run the previous series late nightly prior to the new series, then when the new series runs they let it run until the end without any interuption. We started out being over half a series behind, and by the end of the series we were only about three episodes behind the States…

Shout out if you make it down to Wellington!

Ooh, do tell - is Mr Rilch going to be working on a movie in NZ?

If the project happens, we’re on it. I don’t want to get completely psyched about it in case it doesn’t happen, but if it does, I want to know what to expect. The guy in charge is neither American nor Kiwi, so he can’t give us any info.

And again I say, this is not a matter of “Hmph! If I can’t get Burt’s Beeswax, I’m not going!” I’ve just had enough experiences of saying, “Yayyyyyy! Exotic cool place, leave the broom standing in the middle of the floor and go!” and then getting there and saying, “Uh, nobody told me about…” Just wanna know, that’s all.

For instance, does it rain a lot? It is an island, after all; two islands, in fact. What are the local teams and their colors? I want to go to at least one football match, if only to say that I’ve been. And perhaps cricket and rugby too. What can I do about getting driving privileges? What’s the average temperature in the summer, which is mostly when I’ll be there? What’s Christmas like? I’m already from California, so you know I won’t be saying “Aw, it’s not Christmas without snowwwww…” Do you do crackers? I’ve never pulled a cracker, and I’d love to do so!

I have some interest in New Zealand (translation: I really really want to go there).

It stretches between 37 and 45(I think) degrees south, so climatically it’s comapable to the East Coast of the US, I think, except that the warm part is in the north. Family friends went back to NZ on Sunday, and I looked at the weather for Wellington, and it was 11C and raining.

I have read that it rarely gets below -10C (even in the south), or above +30C. NZ never gets the mid-continental extremes that, say, Minnesota, or even Ontario, get. OTOH, around freezing and wet is the most heat-sucking and miserable weather imaginable. Think November in Toronto, before the real cold and snow arrive.

I was told by one of the aforementioned family friends that they don’t really do central heating or insulation in NZ, so the average mid-to-southern suburban house is a lot colder than it needs to be in the winter. Which is right now, by the way. Good idea to bring warm sweaters and plenty of blankets. When were you going?

Rilchaim, you and Mr. Rilch would be most welcome to visit our little corner of the world. Anytime.

Depends on where you are. For Auckland and Rodney, I’d say a very generalised “yes” – but we do have dry summers. Temperate climate, y’see.

No, there are three main islands – North, South, and Stewart. Plus hundreds of other islands dotted around the main ones, and some reaching down towards Antarctica. If you do get to come here, see if you can get time to go on a Hauraki Gulf cruise around the Gulf Islands. Excellent day trip out, that.

Mid-twenties to mid-thirties in degrees centigrade here in Auckland. It gets boiling hot in some sheltered places, though.

Christmas is in summer, and if it’s fine folk can choose to either have backyard BBQs, or pack up a picnic and go to the beaches. If it’s wet on Christmas Day, we moan a lot. :slight_smile:

Summer, in the mid 20’sC up to 30+ Can be wet-ish up to xmas and beyond but goes drought like from Feb. Or can go completely the other way the time you’re here :smiley:
We still have Guy Fawkes, though the do-gooders are trying stamp it out.

The xmas cracker thing is alive and well, though you pays for what you get. Generally a weak pop and laughter at the junk that falls out. School holidays start a couple of weeks before xmas and go to end of January. Most people take 2 or 3 weeks holiday after xmas, so alot of the country shuts down over this time. This has an effect on the weather of course with one or 2 massive storms sweeping through with things calming down after the 3rd week of January :smack: :smiley:

Rugby and League finish well before xmas and start up in March or so. There’s a stadium in Albany that has mainly some pre-season games. For cricket most areas have there local field, so a drive around should spot a game in progress, or get to Auckland for the big games. Softball is about, and there was a small gridiron league too, not sure what’s happened about them.

Depends where you are living, but this part of the country has 2 coasts within easy drive, so there are a lot of ocean activities. The east coast has the classic safe gentle beach, while the west coast beaches can be very hairy, big surf with under-tows. So you can surf, fish, paddle, swim, walk, explore, windsurf etc. Just check with a local about the west beaches before getting carried away.

There are bush walks, though only one day ones, though that doesn’t stop people getting lost and needing rescue.

If you live in the south, entertainment is just a drive away, Auckland in non rush hour is only 30 mins away. Orewa and Helensville are small towns, with nothing much in them except cafes. Movie theaters are on the North Shore with a multiplex opening in Albany soon-ish.

Further north, you are in classic no-horse small towns and the services they supply :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve trying to think what would bring an US couple to Rodney, the only US based co I could think of was Irwin, which made me feel sorry for you :smiley: So film eh, Xena outdoor scences iirc were filmed in west Rodney or so, so that might give you some idea.

And on preview Sunspace is right about the houses up to a point, newer ones are properly insulated, but A/C is rare. If you are coming here I can give more advice housing later. But as you’d be renting, there’s not much you can do.

You should be able to drive on an US license for up to a year. link

Damn you Ice Wolf, I’ve spent an hour pecking this out :smiley:

Okay, I don’t have any dogs in this hunt, but since there are so many kiwis in one place, I gotta ask. How’s the sailing?

Oi! Your reply had way more intelligent and informative information than mine. So there! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

Just read something on a site here called the Spareroom. I can see now why NZ gives rise to a lot of curiousity!


Right now, bloody cold out on the water, I’d say. Ask us again when it’s warmer. :slight_smile:

Sunspace: We will be there roughly October to August, if it happens.

Ice Wolf: Thank you for the welcome! And Christmas in “summer” is not really new to me, being an Angeleno. If BBQ is traditional, then Mr. Rilch will be in his element!

dynamitedave: No, not Irwin. Kelly Park. And our accomodations will be up to them. I believe the guy in charge has rethought the caravan idea, thank Og.

I’ve heard something about a law in NZ that limits or bans political satire.

A misunderstanding. :wink:
Parliament wanted to limit the uses of photographs and video from the debating chamber so they weren’t used to satirise the politicians. The media said “Get stuffed”, and that’s where it is at the moment.

Heh. I’m from Aus, but spent a week touristing in the North Island last year. So I am OBVIOUSLY qualified to chime in :wink: (OK, I have spent a great deal of time in NZ on business, but touristing is different!)
Wellington is a must see. The main Museum, te Papa, is great. If you belong to your local State museum, see if they have a reciprocal membership. Our local museum, the Powerhouse, does, and has reciprocal membership with a bunch of US museums as well. Wellington has a good food culture, but a tendancy to be mostly shut on Sunday. Don’t expect the shops to be open the same hours as in the US.

There is also a strong women’s fashion industry. And an excellent beer culture. So I am covered both ways!

We went up the cable car to the cable car museum and observatory - unexpectedly enjoyable.

The North Island reminds me of Pennsylvania. Wellington reminds both Mr Mame and me of SanFrancisco 30-odd years ago, but without the hippie stuff!

The drive between Wellington and Rotorua is phenomenal - scenery unlike anywhere else. And Rotorua is spectacular - the earth’s crust is apparently thinner in Rotorua than anywhere else on the planet surface, so the geothermal parks are just stunning. You can easily spend a couple of days touristing in Rotorua alone.

I can also really recommend a hotel in Rotorua if you are interested. The rooms were large and clean and relatively inexpensive. We appreciated that they were good about recommending things to do which were free/inexpensive/interesting. They also had a geothermal bath and drying room on-site and ran things like the laundry room on an honour system.

Oh, I wouldn’t have found your questions offensive if they were applied to Sydney. I thought they were sensible.

Of course you are not going to stamp your tiny feet and refuse to go if Burt’s Balm isn’t available everywhere. I assumed you were asking so you know whether to take a supply, or if anyone local can recommend a better one.

If you have a hat, take it or be prepared to buy one. Also be prepared to wear sunscreen in summer.