What Are the Cultural Differences Between Australia and New Zealand?

In many ways the cultures of New Zealand and Australia are very much the same. They are both island nations, both colonies, both very friendly, both love to travel and both are passionate about sports and the outdoors. However, there are a few cultural differences between these two neighboring nations. If you are considering applying for a Visa for Australia or moving to New Zealand from the UK, it is important to know about these differences so that you can decide which culture will be the best fit for you.
Image credit to http://www.co-operativetravel.co.uk
So what are the major cultural differences between Australia and New Zealand? There are quite a few differences and both nations will be quick to let you know that they are quite distinct from each other (although not in a bad way - they have an amiable relationship). Here are a few examples:

Relationships with The Indigenous Population
The indigenous Maori people have a far more prominent position in society in New Zealand than the Aboriginal cultures in Australia. In New Zealand, Maori is an official language and it is used in government departments, broadcasts on television and taught in schools. The country also has a Maori monarch and a Maori war dance is performed before every rugby game. One of the reasons why Maori culture is more prominent in New Zealand is that the Maori population is monocultural, compared to the multicultural Aboriginal populations of Australia. It’s difficult to make Aboriginal an official culture or language when there are hundreds of different dialects and tribes.

Relationship with the UK
The two nations have a differing relationship with the United Kingdom, which goes back to their history. Australia was founded by the British as a penal colony, so Australians still have a strained relationship with England. New Zealand was founded by the British as a religious colony, so they have a much better relationship with the “motherland”. For example, New Zealanders still retain “God Save the Queen” as one of the two official national anthems.

Differences in Politics
Australia has a compulsory preferential voting system, which usually results in two strong political parties in a similar way to the USA. However, New Zealand has a voluntary proportional representation voting system, so this usually results in political representation from a wide range of political parties and special interest groups.

Loud and Proud Vs Quiet and Polite
Another cultural difference is that, in general, Australians tend to be more brash, loud and crude and New Zealanders tend to be more quiet and polite. It is more likely to be the Australian who is telling off colour jokes and playfully teasing their friends, while the New Zealander is speaking more softly. When you meet a New Zealand they will be more reserved initially, yet very polite and hospitable.
Also, it is said that Australians are more tolerant of swearing and are more likely to swear in public. Most New Zealanders think swearing in public is offensive and they tend only to swear in private with friends.

Of course, this is not true for everyone in either country - as generalisations can be. The typical joke is that a Kiwi will say that you can hear a loud and proud Aussie coming a mile away and an Aussie will say that if you want to visit New Zealand, you will need to call ahead and wake them up first.

Adopting New Things
In general, New Zealand society tends to be more open to adopting new things. Almost every shop had an electronic payment system within five years of it becoming available and New Zealand also had the fastest uptake of internet connections of any nation in the world. Australia in comparison is slow to adopt new things and technology moves at a slower pace.

These are just a few of the differences to consider between Australia and New Zealand. Not one country is better or worse than the other, they are just different. If you are considering relocating to one of these nations, you will need to consider which one is best suited to your personality and the way you want to live your life. You will feel more at home in either New Zealand or Australia, so take a look at the cultural differences between each nation to determine which the best choice is for you.