New Zealand is a young country as compared to some like Italy, China and even in the Persian Gulf where the earliest civilizations go back several centuries. While originally New Zealand was only Maori, later it became bicultural with colonial and rural values. Contemporary New Zealand is a cosmopolitan culture and part of educated, developed Western society. So if you are planning a trip to the Southern hemisphere in search of socializing opportunities, stop by New Zealand and check out its men.
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The hands-on pioneer
Men in New Zealand are believed to be quite efficient in a practical and active kind of way. They are considered to be good with machines and animals , particularly horses, besides being able to turn their hands to nearly anything. This stereotype of the pioneer man has something in common with the frontier men of North America as well as the settlers of the Australian outbacks. The image of the rugged male Kiwi probably goes back to the time when men in New Zealand were the first settlers and had to make their living off the land. Tough and practical, they could fix anything with a length of fencing wire and were sure to come up with a workable solution for almost any kind of problem. And though now the vast majority live in cities and work in offices where there’s little use for fencing wire, New Zealand men are still proud of the image of the hands-on pioneer who is good at the tasks which rural life requires. So your New Zealand male friend may not speak five languages but you can surely depend upon him to mow the lawn and change a flat tire.
Suspicious of intellectualism
The image of the male Kiwi as a strong, rugged and active guy goes together with a deep distrust of intellectualism. New Zealanders do not have a particularly high regard for intellectual activity, especially if it is more theoretical than practical. This is unlike many Europeans but similar to what people in Australia and some in America too think about purely intellectual pursuits. Instead what is more valued is the 'kiwi ingenuity' according to which all problems are better solved by seeing what works than by applying a theory. This lack of faith in intellectual theorization goes back to the country’s social policy of the early and mid twentieth century, which historian Michael Bassett described as 'socialism without doctrines'. Later a series of reforms introduced during the 1980s under the free market ideology further entrenched the people’s distrust of intellectual theory since the reforms were perceived as having ushered in higher poverty and inequality. In their daily lives thus New Zealand men may depict a laconic manner and mistrust of conversation. Having said this, don’t be surprised to find that your male friend has gone to college and holds a white collar job. Despite the people’s skepticism about intellectual pursuits, New Zealand has a fairly high participation rate in tertiary education. And the country has produced its own share of academicians and scientists like Ernest Rutherford, J.G.A. Pocock and Alan MacDiarmid.
Love of sports
Yet another common trait of New Zealand men is their love of sports. Whilegolf, netball, tennis and cricket are the four top participatory sports, soccer is the most popular among young men and rugby union attracts the most spectators. In fact rugby tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the late 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity as distinct from their larger neighbor Australia and the “mother country” England. New Zealand's national rugby union team is often regarded as the best in the world and is the reigning World Cup holder. New Zealand is also known for its extreme sports and adventure tourism as well as strong mountaineering tradition. Thus men can be found seriously involved in hiking, mountaineering, biking and camping while other outdoor pursuits such as fishing, swimming, running, tramping, canoeing, hunting, snow sports and surfing are gaining increasing popularity.
Rather private people
New Zealanders, both of European descent and those of Maori roots, are considered as rather individualistic people. The men take any kind of intrusion into their personal lives very personally, especially when it occurs onto private land. According to social psychologists, this can be traced back to the 'Frontier' image of the European settler culture besides being mirrored amongst the indigenous people for whom land holds a great deal of spiritual value in addition to its commercial use. A fall out of their intensely private natures is that men here are not very emotional. It is not in their nature to give eloquent tongue to their deepest feelings. Faced with a pretty girl, a Kiwi guy will tend to hang his head and look at her warily as if she has turned up with the sole purpose of turning his life upside down. So if you are interested in a Kiwi guy but losing hope of getting a few words of romance out of him, be patient since they are not really comfortable about expressing matters of the heart.
Prone to violence
An unfortunate fallout of the New Zealand stereotype of the rugged, physical man of action is that some of them are rather prone to violence. For many years this was seen as an evidence of spirited macho culture and was best embodied by popular sporting heroes like Colin Meads of the Rugby Union team, All Blacks. Voted 'New Zealand player of the century' by New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine, Meads was the second player of the All Black team to be sent off the field and even known to assault other players during games. He was also a supporter of sporting contact with apartheid South Africa. In recent decades the macho attitude has been both criticized as dangerous both to men who embody it and those around them. It has been blamed for New Zealand's culture of heavy drinking and its high male suicide rate not to mention higher incidence of domestic violence perpetrated on women. Now both the male populace and the government are waking up to the downside of this physical macho culture and are encouraging a greater regard for general safety.