Christmas in New Zealand

How do I wish someone there a Happy Christmas?

  • Merry Christmas or Meri Kirihimete in Maori.

When do they give presents?

  • Christmas Day

Who brings the presents?

  • Santa Claus

What’s on the menu?

  • Traditional roasts are still popular, but barbecues are fast becoming a festive tradition. They’re followed up by pavlova covered in strawberries and kiwis.

Any other traditions I should know about?

  • Falling in the summer holidays, Christmas is likely to be spent outside in the sunshine. It’s the same for Santa. He’s often seen dressed in sandals and shorts, or surfing, jet-skiing or delivering presents by traditional Maori canoe.
  • New Zealand has its own version of the Christmas tree – the pohutukawa. This native tree lines beaches and its red flowers have become closely associated with the festive season.
  • The national bird – the kiwi – might not be able to fly, but it finds its way to the top of many Christmas trees as a replacement for the more traditional angel or star.
  • A Santa parade has been held in Auckland for the last 85 years. Taking place in late November, it floods the streets of the country’s biggest city with floats, marching bands and inflatables.