Travel Flashback: Rugby and Life in New Zealand

Rugby is probably the only sport I’ve ever really been interested in. It all started about four months into my working holiday in New Zealand in 2008. I was living in a 13-bedroom house in Christchurch, and a few of my flatmates were hardcore rugby fans. I always ignored the television when it was on, instead preferring to update my Facebook and do Tim Tam Slams.

And then I saw him. The camera zoomed in on his face right before he kicked a goal into the bar thingie. I was instantly hooked.

Dan Carter (NZL) by r9M, on Flickr
Dan Carter (NZL) by r9M, on Flickr

His name is Dan Carter. And he is an underwear model. And he is sexy.

And so began my fascination for the All Blacks and rugby in New Zealand in general. The first rugby game I went to was the Christchurch Crusaders versus the Sharks of South Africa. It was one of the coldest days in Christchurch that year, at -1 degrees Celsius. I thought my toes would fall off.

my first New Zealand rugby match
me and my flatmate at my first rugby game (wearing my first real winter jacket)

Fun facts about Rugby, Dan Carter, and Me:

–       I was once interviewed by Glenn Osborne of Maori TV while walking the streets of Christchurch. He asked me if American girls thought that the Haka was hot. I said yes.

–       Sports betting is very popular in New Zealand. If you bet on the All Blacks, you will probably win a million dollars.

–       Dan Carter suffered an injury while playing with France’s rugby team. That’s about the time that I lost interest in rugby.

–       I used to be a bartender at Base Nightclub in SOL square in Christchurch. Dan has a store in the same area called Gas. He came into my club once, right before I started working there. He also went to his store in Christchurch often, but I never saw him. This is sad.

–       Oh you wanted a real fact? From 1996 to 2009, the All Blacks won the Tri Nations 9 times.

Random Things I Love About New Zealand and Strange Bits of Travel Information for First Timers:

–       Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. His face is on the five dollar bill. You should know who he is.

–       The Australia/New Zealand rivalry is one of the most hilarious in the world. They both make fun of each other’s accents. Aussies love to talk about how many sheep there are in New Zealand. You should not mention the sheep.

–       Tui Beer has some of the funniest ads in the world. If you’re looking for  insight into real New Zealand culture, Tui ads won’t steer you wrong.

–       Awesome Kiwi movies to watch: Eagle vs. Shark, Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider

–      My favorite places in New Zealand: Milford Sounds, Hanmer Springs, Cape Palliser

Kiwi Words and Phrases You Should Know:

  • Brekkie = breakfast
  • Chilly bin = A cooler, or an insulated box to keep your food or beer cold
  • Choice = also means cool, but was more popular a few years ago
  • Eh = This word takes a bit of practice to get it down right, but it can be used to add weight to a point (She’s pretty, eh?) and also used to express the question What did you say?
  • Flash = something fancy, expensive, or really nice
  • Good on ya, mate = great job buddy!
  • Heaps = a lot (There’s heaps of beer in the chilly bin.)
  • Jandals = flip flops
  • Nappies = diapers
  • On the piss = heavy drinking (After work, he went on the piss until six in the morning.)
  • Root = sex, to have sex (Did you root her when you were on the piss last night?)
  • Sweet as (bro) = cool (That shirt is sweet as!)
  • Ta = thank you
  • Take the piss = making fun of someone (Don’t listen to him, he’s just taking the piss.)
  • Tidy = pretty (That girl is tidy, I’d like to root her.)
  • Togs = bathing suit (I forgot my togs at home, looks like we’ll have to skinny dip!)
  • Whinge = whining, complaining (All he does is whinge about work.)

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