A Number of Things about New Zealand I Need to Get Off My Chest

Hopefully you can all see I've dedicated a whole new page to my brother's e-mails. What do you think?

The latest instalment is here for your delight and delectation! Enjoy, I know I did


Hi Fay,

So it’s all good news on the cancer front then?  Not according to mum and dad.  They say you just can’t wait to get the rest of the scans and stuff out of the way and get on with your life.  But then I’d have no reason to write you an e-mail every week.  So think on…

After having a whinge about meal planning and Eva’s fussiness last time (to add to the whinges this week she wanted her chickpeas individually peeled and less ice in her ice cream) there’s a number of things about New Zealand I need to get off my chest.  It’s not all Lord of the Helicopter Shots and Top-Ten-Places-To-Live-In-The-World in New Zealand, oh no, the place has it’s serious down sides for me.  Like for example …

There’s a lot of Americanisation of the English language here in New Zealand and one of them is naming “crisps” as “chips”.  That would be fine if they went the whole hog and named their “chips” “French fries” but they don’t.  They call “chips” (as in fish and chips) “chips”.  So someone can say they’re having chips for lunch and it could mean (a) crisps or (b) chips.  That’s madness.

Especially as some fast food outlets advertise “hot chips” for “chips” so you don’t get confused between “chips” and “crisps”.  But who wants “cold chips”?  I don’t. I tried to explain once that advertising your chips as “hot chips” is bordering on being a pleonasm but you know, they were selling chips out of a burger van and for some reason didn’t give a f*ck.

It’s Ugly
Not the scenery, which is smashing.  No, I’m talking about the towns.  If you want to get an idea of how ugly nearly all New Zealand town centres are just get yourself some shoe laces, some shoe boxes, a pair of scissors, some glue and a stack of magazines.  Lay the boxes out in a grid fashion, cut out adverts from the magazines and stick them all over the shoe boxes.  Then string the shoe laces up between the boxes to represent the power cables.  Now lie down on the floor and look at what the typical New Zealand town centre looks like.

Of course you can save yourself some time and do a Google Street View if you want but afterwards you wont be able to stomp all over the miniature town while pretending to be Mr Stay Puft from Ghostbusters.

No Exit signs on roads
In the UK you have the words cul-de-sac written on a street entrance to indicate that it’s a dead end.  Of course the word cul-de-sac means something like “bottom of the bag” which makes no sense really but if you think about the words “No Exit” like I have then this makes even more no sense.  It’s the Hotel California of road signs - "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."  You have a road with “No Exit” sign next to it, so once you go in it goes all Stephen King on you and you can never leave?  That is what the sign is saying, I can’t be the only person here who’s noticed.

Apparently I am.

Verbally abbreviating words
Remember the halcyon days of the eighties when we watched Neighbours and Home and Away and we exposed to the verbal abbreviations such as “barby” for barbeque and “uni” for university?  Weren’t they great?  But at some point a line needs to be drawn.  I heard a breakfast radio show where some New Zealand broadcasters were laughing at Australians abbreviating the name “firefighters” to “fireys”.  They were laughing because “fireys” was said by a voice of authority a news reader; “a fire broke out at such and such as street last night but fireys were dispatched and the blaze was brought under control.”  They laughed in a “shine on you crazy diamond” way at the Australians and then went into a traffic update where the traffic update guy verbally abbreviated the word “avenue” to “’av”.  This wasn’t done as a joke, he does it all the time.  “There’s some roadworks on Connington av so you may want to avoid the area this morning.”  Av?  What next, you going to start doing the verbal abbreviation for street or will that make you sound like a reject from The King’s Speech?

Stop doing this now or I’m going to send Eddy Grant around to your house to beat you up.

The New Zealand Accent
Harsh I know, especially as you think I’ve picked up a bit one already but here’s the secret to putting on a New Zealand accent.  If a word has an “e” in it, try saying the letter “i” before pronouncing the “e”.  I was asked by a telephone company call centre guy if I had a “pin ready” and I said that I hadn’t been issued a “PIN” to which he replied “No, a pien, something to write with, or perhaps a piencil.”  Come on!  I tried to explain to someone once that the letter “e” should be pronounced as a monophthong and not a diphthong like New Zealanders do but all I got was “look, you got your hot chips, you’re just holding up the queue now.”

Ha, see what I did there?

Okay, these are minor annoyances but so is having to wait a bit longer to get over Teddy Cancer.  Of course you’ve covered this in your Reasons to be Cheerful bit of your blog when you said you get more time to do your hobbies and of course mum and dad could be wrong about you being fed up, but you know I write these e-mails off the cuff and can’t help but feel like it’s naturally evolved into something a trendy vicar would write for a Sunday morning sermon.  Probably need to add in a few more “f*cks” to stop that happening next time.

Mark xxx
Did you find yourself trying out the accent? I know I did. I also had to look up a couple of the longer words on Google, he's obviously more intelligent than me too! But at least he's reading the blog! So with that in mind, why don't you leave him some comments and show your love?

And Mark, I'm sure you know already but......


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