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New Zealand Business Etiquette & Culture

Etiquette and manners for New Zealand                    New Zealand etiquette, manners, culture, gift giving, protocol,  and more  

New Zealand Introduction

New Zealand has a population of slightly less than 4 million people with most living in the key cities. The large majority of the population (89%) has a European heritage, primarily English. Therefore, English is the predominant language and Christianity the largest religion. The Maori, a Polynesian people who were the earliest inhabitants of New Zealand make up the remaining population. There is little racial tension between the Maori and the predominately European/English people. Though Maori and Europeans freely intermarry and have similar ways of life, each maintains its identity, so social and cultural aspects remain distinct for each group.

The standard of living is high, and their literacy rate is 100%. The state provides extensive social services for the welfare of its citizens, and has one of the most comprehensive health care programs in the world. Adding to their quality of life is the nation's geographic location and size. No one is greater than 75 miles from the ocean and the climate that encourages outdoor activities. This nation actively participates in hiking, fishing, sailing, and competitive sports.

Although New Zealand is often mentioned in the same sentence with Australia, New Zealanders do not appreciate this mutual reference, as they are an independent nation.

 

New Zealand Fun Fact

This country was very forward thinking. Not only did these people believe in individualism, they created the environment for it to thrive. They also understood their obligation to the people who worked to establish and maintain the society. In 1893, this British Commonwealth gave women the right to vote, and in 1898, established an old-age pension, the first Commonwealth member to do so. If you are walking down the street and see two people pressing noses, they are Maoris using their traditional greeting. The Maoris are also highly regarded for their tattooing art.

 


Geert Hofstede Analysis for New Zealand


The Geert Hofstede analysis for New Zealand demonstrates that similar to other English speaking countries with Western European heritage (see Great Britain, Canada United States, and Australia), New Zealanders have a very high individualism ranking. Power distance is low indicating their approachability and open communication style. They do expect their personal privacy to be respected. More Details

 

Religion in New Zealand


* WORLD FACTBOOK 2002

We have defined a predominantly Christian country as over 50% of the population practicing some form of Christianity, other than Catholicism. In this group, the primary correlation between religion and the Geert Hofstede Dimensions is a high Individualism (IDV) ranking. (See accompanying article)

New Zealand Appearance

International Business Dress and Appearance   When conducting business in New Zealand, you want to dress conservatively and tending toward a more formal look.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Men should wear darker colored suits with a conservative tie. To maintain formality, a white shirt would be worn.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Women should wear a suit, a dress, or skirt and blouse with a jacket. The wardrobe should incorporate classic styles and colors (navy and gray).

International Business Dress and Appearance   Umbrellas and raincoats are necessary most of the year because of the climate and rainfall. The climate is temperate, not tropical. A medium weight wool gabardine would be a good choice of fabric for your basic wardrobe.

International Business Dress and Appearance   When not involved in business meetings and activities, your wardrobe may be casual. To maintain a professional, though casual look, keep your clothing classic in neutral colors (navy, gray, camel, ivory, and white). Make sure your casual shoes are properly maintained.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Do not use the "V for victory" sign while in this country.

 

New Zealand Behavior 

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Always be on time or early for all appointments. Punctuality is part of the culture. "Fashionably late" is not an option in this country as most social events start on time.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Maintain a reserved, formal demeanor, especially when first meeting someone. Take your lead to become more relaxed by following the behavior of your New Zealand hosts.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Normal business hours are Monday – Friday 8:30am-5:00pm and Saturday 9:00am-12:30pm.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Talking is minimal while you are eating a meal. The conversation will occur before and after your meal. Dinners are reserved for social interactions only, therefore not business is discussed at these occasions. Lunch is used for business conversations.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Boisterous behavior is always inappropriate, even when you are drinking. Pace yourself to maintain the proper reserved and polite behavior.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Afternoon tea is between 3:00 - 4:00pm.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Tea is between 6:00 - 8:00pm, and an evening meal is served.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Supper is a snack served much later in the evening,

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  A tip may be refused, as tipping is rare.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Entertaining is frequently done in a person's home. A small thank you gift of flowers, chocolate, or whiskey may be taken to the host and/or hostess.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Cover your mouth if you must yawn, and do not chew gum or toothpicks in public.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Ask permission before you attempt to photograph someone.

 

New Zealand Communications 

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  The official language is English.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  When meeting someone, and when leaving, use a firm handshake with good eye contact. Good eye contact means looking into the other person's eyes when shaking hands, not looking down at your hand. The eye contact is maintained during the handshake. You are not staring at the other person, but showing genuine interest in meeting or seeing the person.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Men generally wait for a woman to be the first to extend her hand for a handshake. Women do shake other women's hands. Use your same firm handshake with good eye contact.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  When your are meeting someone, say "How do you do?" A more relaxed greeting, such as "Hello", is reserved for the meetings after you've had the opportunity to get to know the person.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  The people are reserved, but always very warm and polite when you meet them.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Address a person using his/her title, or Mr., Mrs., Miss plus the full name.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Honesty is the best policy. Don't hype your product or service, and don't be a braggart.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Do not allow your voice to get loud. Maintain a reserved manner.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Politics, sports, and weather are good conversational topics, and may be hotly debated. In order to be a good conversationalist, stay current and informed on critical topics. One in particular is New Zealand's "nuclear free" zone.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Avoid confusing or comparing New Zealand with Australia, as they are two distinct countries. If you are not familiar with New Zealand, spend time before your trip to learn about the history and culture.

 

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Page authored by: Stephen Taylor



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