Along with a smile, socialising over food is an international language. No matter where you go in the world, food is how we show hospitality and care. Food features in special occasions, and in simple connections, like sharing a bowl of soup on the sofa.

New Zealanders have always been great travellers. We’ve learned to make the most of our overseas experiences because we have further to fly. Exploring other countries, meeting the locals and eating together mean our travel memories are rich and unforgettable. So when we’re at home in Aotearoa, we like to extend that hospitality to visitors and friends alike.

But this socialising comes with its own language, and we haven’t been great at explaining it. (Just ask the many people who have taken an empty plate to a gathering.)

Backyard barbecues, a morning tea shout** or a potluck*** are some of the ways we’ll get to know you when you come to NZ.

So to give you a little cultural heads-up, here’s a few definitions that will help when you meet kiwis.

*Bring a plate means bring a plate with food on it to share. For a morning tea it might be scones or biscuits, cheese and crackers. For a barbecue it might be a salad or dessert.

**A shout is when you provide (and pay for) a morning tea, a round of drinks at the pub, or a trip. When people hear “My shout!” they will suddenly feel very hungry, thirsty or adventurous because someone else is paying! At workplaces in NZ it’s common to do a morning tea shout for your birthday. Sausage rolls and something sweet – and free teabags from the staff kitchen 😉.

***Potluck is similar to bring a plate. For a dinner, everyone brings their signature dish (for example, Italian meatballs, fish curry, cheese sandwiches, or a trifle). These will not necessarily ‘go together’ but no-one will leave hungry.

The only thing to remember is to take the plate home again!

If you’re not sure – about these or any other unfamiliar terms or customs – don’t be shy to ask. We kiwis really want you to feel at home when you get here.

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