New Zealand is a nation that is
cut off geographically from a large portion of the
rest of the world.
Though predominantly European in
ancestry, New Zealanders are also made up of a large
number of Polynesians, Asians, and Maori. It is
therefore not surprising that this situation should
lead to a humor that is often based on the newcomer
attempting to integrate themselves into the new
The intermixed waves of British, Maori, Polynesian,
mainland European, Asian, and Indian that have made
their home in
New Zealand each view the land and one another in various
ways, and the humor of the country have as a focal point the
humor generated by these differences.
Minority group comedians such as Jacob Rajan and Raybon Kan
often make use of these diversities in their acts. In New
Zealand, unlike in the United Kingdom, the word “Asian“
means those are of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean,
Those who are from India, Fiji, the Indian
subcontinent, Pakistan, etc. are usually called
The agricultural and remote nature of New Zealand is
also a common catalyst for comedy, especially the
famous ratio between sheep and people in the nation.
The backwoods, pioneering spirit is also a common
source of comedy.
There are Fred Dagg as the
stereotypical farmer and Barry Crump, the New
Zealand writer famous for his yarns.
But the most typical butt of humor among the Kiwis
are the Australians (and the other way around).
is true even at the highest level of diplomacy.
asked to comment on the ever rising number of New
Zealanders moving to seek employment in
Australia in the 1980s, then New Zealand Prime Minister
Robert Muldoon said that this action would help boost the
average IQ of both nations.
Australians, in general terms, are stereotyped in the humor
of New Zealand as being boorish, brash, lazy and more than a
return, New Zealanders, are viewed by Australians as
being stupid, dull, and ridiculed as 'South Seas Poms' because of their allegedly closer relationship
with the U.K. The slang word for the people of
Britain by the Australians and New Zealanders is 'pom'
(short for “pomigrants”, a term used for those from
the U.K. whose faces turn as red as the inside of a
pomegranate fruit as soon as they land on New
Zealand or Australian soil).
There is a huge amount of mostly crude jokes about
sheep. In keeping with thebiiter rivalry of
trans-Tasman, Australians make quips about New
Zealanders, and New Zealanders make quips about
The English, then again, make sheep jokes about the Welsh.
few sheep jokes also take into account the dissimilarity in
In one such joke, a farmer who is engaging in unnatural
activities with a sheep is questioned if he wouldn’t want to
be shearing the sheep instead. He vehemently replies that he
is not shearing the sheep with anyone.
In this instance, “shearing” is taken to be the enunciation
of the term sharing said in a New Zealand accent, as some
New Zealanders pronounce that words “sharing” and “shearing”
the same way.