Australia and New Zealand share three main commonalities. Firstly, the urban societies of both countries were created by the British in the last three centuries and built on the invasion of a population that didn't live in cities. Secondly, around 20 per cent of the population of both countries are migrants. Thirdly, both countries are in the same part of the world.
Although both countries share some commonalities, they have been subjected to differing historical and environmental influences that have resulted in significant cultural differences. Specifically, Australia was founded to be a penal colony while New Zealand was founded to be a religious colony. Furthermore, Australia is a harsh land of droughts, snakes and desert while New Zealand is a heavenly land with lakes, glaciers and fertile soil.
European 69.8%, Maori 7.9%, Asian 5.7%, Pacific islander 4.4%, other 0.5%, mixed 7.8%, unspecified 3.8% (2001 census)
White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
Australia 20.5%, US 13.1%, Japan 10.3%, China 5.4%, UK 4.9% (2006)
Japan 19.6%, China 12.3%, South Korea 7.5%, US 6.2%, India 5.5%, NZ 5.5%, UK 5% (2006)
From CIA World Fact Book
Prior to the arrival of the English, New Zealand was discovered by the Maori, who were believed to have arrived in New Zealand from eastern Polynesia sometime before 1300. There may or may not have been people in New Zealand before the Maori. New Zealand was discovered by Europeans in the 17th century.
Some time in the 18th century a trickle of escaped Convicts from Australia made it to New Zealand and built a community based on whaling and sealing. These escaped Convicts also formed relationships with the Maori. Because the nature of these relationships offended English religious figures, in 1814 a religious mission led by Samuel Marsden set out to convert the Maori to Christianity and so protect them from the corruptive influence of whalers and sealers. As reward for accepting the gospel, the Maori were often given guns.
More free migrants followed and it was not long before guns had escalated conflicts between different Maori tribes, and between Maori tribes and colonists. To calm the war, in 1840, Britain formerly took possession of New Zealand and signed the Treaty of Waitangi with local chiefs.
Although there was division between Maori and colonists, New Zealand never had the division between different groups of colonists that led to anything like the Eureka rebellion, or Ned Kelly's last stand. Nor did New Zealand ever develop a bushranging tradition or mythology.
Today, the influence of history is best illustrated in Australians knowing less of their colonial history than New Zealanders know of theirs. Because Australia's urban history is based on 80 years of criminality, most Australians don't want to learn about it. On the other hand, because New Zealand's urban history is based on good Christians, New Zealanders do want to learn about it.
A good example of the respective ideologies can be seen in regards to Samuel Marsden. Before going to New Zealand, Marsden lived in Australia and had to deal with Convicts. He was known as a cruel man that took delight in the witness of human misery. Today, few Australians have heard of his name. In New Zealand; however, Marsden never had to deal with Convicts. Consequently, he devoted his energies towards converting the Maori and became widely respected. Almost all New Zealanders have heard of his name.
The different histories between Australia and New Zealand are also reflected in the identities of the respective indigenous populations. The Maori have a warrior-style identity, but feel that their treaty with the British was never honoured by the other side. On the other hand, the Aborigines have more of a victim identity. They feel that they were wronged by Christian missionaries, and that their peaceful life was shattered by English soldiers.
New Zealand is an environmental heaven. It receives high rainfall, has huge rivers fed by melting glaciers, and has nutrient rich soils. It is great for skiing, fishing, farming, bush walking or mountaineering. On the other hand, Australia's deserts, droughts, and leached soils are more of an acquired beauty, and for farmers they can be hell. The snakes of Australia generally stay out of harms way, but they can be intimidating for foreigners.
Because they have always lived in an environmental paradise, New Zealanders don't have the same battler mythology of Australians, who have always had to deal with drought and scorched earth.
Admittedly, New Zealand winters can be tough and it suffers earthquakes, but in terms of making a living off the land, New Zealand is a superior country to Australia. In short, the land is more productive and rainfall is reliable.
Aborigines stand over failed inland expansion. Maori ready their guns for war.
Maori culture is far more prominent in New Zealand society than Aboriginal cultures are in Australian society. For example, Maori is an official language of New Zealand. It is taught in schools, used in government departments and broadcast on television. New Zealand also has a Maori monarch, and a Maori war dance is performed before rugby games.
One reason why Maori culture is more prominent in New Zealand than Aboriginal cultures are in Australia is that the Maori population was relatively mono-cultural in comparison to the multi-cultural Aboriginal populations of Australia. It is not possible to make Aboriginal an official language of Australia because there is no Aboriginal language. Instead, there are around 250 languages. Likewise, there are so many cultural differences between Aboriginal tribes that it is not possible to speak of an Aboriginal monarch, or Aboriginal customs.
Due to the lack of cultural unity, in 1971 an Aborigine named Harold Thomas designed a red, yellow and black flag. This flag greatly distinguishes the modern Aboriginal identity from the modern Maori identity. Whereas the modern Aborigines affirm their Aboriginal identity by waving the flag, the Maori affirm their identity by speaking the Maori language, getting tattoos, and following traditional practices. The Maori had a flag officially recognised in 2010.
New Zealand is more racially conscious than Australia, and is less friendly to Asia. Some of the race consciousness is reflected in the use of the label "Pakeha" for New Zealanders of European descent. The word if often said to mean "other" in the Maori language, but some say it means "white pig."
New Zealanders of Asian descent are excluded from its use and some New Zealanders of European descent also find it offensive.
This exclusion of Asians causes social division when discussing national directions affected by historical issues. The morality of the discussions usually revolves around the past relationships between Pakeha and Maori, which leaves other groups as passive onlookers.
Some of the views of Winston Peters, the ex-New Zealand foreign minister, illustrate the manner that New Zealand's history and culture is used in a way to exclude the descendants of "late comers". Peters is a mix of Maori and Pakeha ancestry, and has appealed to anti-Asian sentiment in New Zealand. According to Peters:
"We say when there are projections from Statistics New Zealand showing Asians outnumbering Maori in around 20 years time because of immigration that something should be done about it."
"We are being dragged into the status of an Asian colony and it is time that New Zealanders were placed first in their own country."
"We have now reached the point where you can wander down Queen Street in Auckland and wonder if you are still in New Zealand or some other country." (3)
In 2007, Winston Peters was running second in polls showing New Zealand's preferred Prime Minister.
Both Pakeha and Maori are quite happy with racially defined identities. Arguably, the Pakeha aren't really proud of being white, but they do interpret their support for a strong Maori identity as a sign of their open-mindedness. The Maori are proud of their race, history and culture. Like many right-wing people, a strong identification with the group and the exclusion of others provides individual Maori with self esteem.
While some Pakeha and Maori are happy with their respective racial identities, it is quite easy to argue that the identities are not in the interests of the country or the individuals from either race. In some ways, the Pakeha asking the Maori to maintain their identity would be an Australian migrating to the US and being told to say things like "crikey!" and wear moleskin trousers. Although it could be used to the migrant's advantage, it would be a lag around their ankle if they ever wanted to take a meaningful role in American life. Likewise, if a black man such as Barrak Obama showed pride in his race with some renditions of Kenyan tribal songs, or some performances of African dances, he would never have any chance in a presidential election. However, by showing pride in being American, he forms an emotional bond with all other people who share the social identity.
Outback store in Australia - 1980
Chinese migrant identity
In New Zealand, people of Chinese origin tend to maintain an ethnic Chinese identity. In Australia, they are more likely to consider themselves to be Australian. The difference in identities has in turn been reflected in political representation. The National Party's Pansy Wong is New Zealand's only politician of Chinese ancestry. The low representation is somewhat surprising considering that New Zealand's political system encourages minority representation.
With a strong ethnic identity, Chinese in New Zealand have focussed their political energies on gaining an apology and compensation for their past mistreatment. In 2002, successful lobbying led to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark formerly apologising to the Chinese over their treatment from the 1880s to the 1950. In 2004, Helen Clarke formerly announced a compensation package for present generation Chinese who were still suffering the hurt inflicted on previous generations.
In Australia, Chinese have been more likely to give up their ethnic identity, which has in turn allowed Australian politicians of Chinese extraction to build a connection with a wider block of voters. These politicians include John So, Henry Tsang, Bill O'Chee, Peter Wong, Alfred Huang, and Penny Wong.
Outside of politics, other Australians of Chinese extraction with a high profile include Bing Lee, Cindy Pan, Victor Chang, L.J Hooker, Kylie Kwong, Jeff Fatt and major general Darryl Low Choy. Unlike people of Chinese heritage in New Zealand, people of Chinese heritage in Australia are unlikely to have a victim identity and there has never been a campaign to ask for a government apology for events in the 1850s.
New Zealand's economy underperforms. In 2004, per capita GDP was $US23,200, which was only about 60 per cent of American per capita GDP and even lower than Spanish GDP. Considering the country's environmental and mineral resources, the low GDP has been a cause of concern. It seems that a lot of New Zealanders don't want to develop manufacturing industries, nor do they want to exploit their abundant resources of gas and coal, or even some of their farming resources. Instead, they want a tourism-based economy like Fiji, the Solomon Islands or the Philippines.
New Zealand's major trading partners are Australia, the United States and Japan.
Arguably, the Australian economy also underperforms, although not to the same extent as New Zealand. In 2004, Australian per capita GDP was $US32,900, which was equal to the four largest west European economies, but lower than America. Put simply, Australians are nearly a third more productive than New Zealanders.
Mining is a profitable industry in Australia, and contributed 5.6 per cent to GDP in 2003. Services are the largest sector of the Australian economy.
Australia has significantly more trade with Asia than New Zealand has. China is Australia's largest trading partner, followed by Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
Some of Australia's flagship brands are BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, News Ltd, the world's largest media company, Orlando Wines, producer of the biggest selling Australian wine label in the world, and Cochlear Limited, designers and manufacturers of the cochlear implant.
Both Australians and New Zealanders have a fondness for living in other people's countries. Out of Australia's population of 20 million, about five per cent (1,000,000) are living in foreign countries. Out of New Zealand's population of 4.7 million, around 17.5 per cent (800,000) live in foreign countries.
The New Zealand diaspora is particularly high due to the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, which allows Australian and New Zealand citizens to enter each other's country to live and work, without the need to apply for authority to enter the other country. Even though New Zealand has superb natural beauty, the flow of people between the two countries has been very much a one-way street. In 2005, an estimated 449,000 New Zealand citizens were living in Australia.
Many of the New Zealanders are economic refugees trying to improve their employment prospects. Others are social refugees trying to escape the racism that flows from the Maori / Pakeha social dynamic.
Most English speaking nations have a long history of invention and New Zealand is no exception. New Zealand's record seems to show a distinct trend towards recreation. These include Zorbing, high speed amphibian car, Jet pack, referee whistle, jet-boat, artificial reef for surfing, eggbeaters, hairpins, sheeb (cycling monorail), and bungy jumping.
Australian inventions include the Jindalee radar system that transformed the $16 billion American "stealth" bomber into nothing more than an unusual looking aircraft. Other inventions include the cochlear implant, the winged keel, the electric drill, the refrigerator, black box flight recorder, nuclear fusion, differential gears, orbital combustion engine, penicillin, ultrasound, gene shears and the scram jet.
In regards to research, in total, New Zealand has produced three Nobel Prize winners. This is not a bad achievement considering that high-tech countries such as Japan have only won 13, and China has not won any. The most notable of these was Ernest Rutherford was the first in the world to split the atom in 1919. In comparison to New Zealand, Australia has produced ten Nobel Prize winners. Nine of the Australian winners were for science or medicine and one was for literature. Another eight people with links to Australia have won Nobel Prizes.
Former All Blacks captain David Kirk, now CEO of Fairfax Media, said,
"Australians are assertive, more confident, possibly more optimistic, and probably more demanding, and tend to get what they want out of a deal." (1)
Both New Zealand and Australia have underperforming film industries, but have still managed to produce actors and directors that have had great success in Hollywood.
Once Were Warriors (1994) is New Zealand's highest grossing film. It took $1.3 million at the American box office and around $6 million world wide. The movie is about a dysfunctional Maori family in which the westernised father beats up his wife and fails to protect his children. The movie blames cultural breakdown for the domestic violence, and advocates a rediscovery of traditional Maori culture to remedy the problem.
The Piano (1993) is New Zealand's most critically acclaimed film, winning four Academy Awards. It is about a mute pianist and her daughter, set during the mid-19th century New Zealand.
Peter Jackson(Lord of the Rings, King Kong) is New Zealand's most renowned director. Jane Campion (Piano) is another successful director.
New Zealand has produced a couple of successful actors. The most notable is Sam Neill.(Omen III, Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park I and III). Other semi-famous actors include Anna Paquin (Piano, X-Men) and Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider.)
Russel Crowe (Romper Stomper, Beautiful Mind, Gladiator) is sometimes referred to as a New Zealander. He was born in New Zealand, moved to Australia when he was 4, moved back to New Zealand when he was 16, and then moved back to Australia when he was 21. He was a product of the Australian film system, has an Australian passport, owns an Australian rugby league team and speaks with an Australian accent. However, he is on the Maori electoral role, and is the cousin of New Zealand cricketers Martin and Jeff Crowe. Perhaps both countries can claim influence over his socialisation.
Crocodile Dundee I (1986) and II are Australia's highest grossing films; earning $328,000,000 and $239,600,000 worldwide respectively. The films use a Seinfield style humour to point out the absurdities of modern life. Different individuals are put in different cultural contexts to cause a reflection upon themselves and the culture. It is this reflection where the humour originates from.
Australia has produced many successful actors including Hugo Weaving (Matrix) Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) Mel Gibson (Mad Max, Gallipoli, Lethal Weapon, Braveheart) Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Lord of the Rings) Nicole Kidman (Batman, Moulin Rouge) Hugh Jackman (X-men, The Prestige) Errol Flynn (Captain Blood) Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) Eric Bana (Hulk, Troy, Chopper) Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean) Naomi Watts (King Kong), Guy Pearce (LA confidential) and Russel Crowe (Romper Stomper, Beautiful Mind, Gladiator).
Successful directors include Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Truman Show), Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Puberty Blues), George Miller (Mad Max), Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge), Phillip Noyce (Bone Collector, Clear and Present Danger) Frederick Alan Schepisi (Russia House, Empire Falls), Yahoo Serious (Young Einstein).
New Zealand and Australia have different versions of English. One difference is that New Zealanders have difficulty pronouncing 'I' sounds correctly. For example, instead of saying "fish and chips" New Zealanders say " fush and chups." Another difference is that New Zealand English lacks the difference in male and female pronunciation that is a feature of Australian English. In New Zealand, men and women pronounce their diagnostic vowels in the same fashion. On the other hand, the male Australian accent is significantly different from the female accent. About ten per cent of Australian men speak like Paul Hogan or Steve Irwin, with what is known as a broad accent. Around 80 per cent speak like Nicole Kidman, with what is known as a British received accent. A final ten per cent speak with a cultivated accent, which sounds like someone educated at Oxford University in England. These speakers are chiefly women. (Australia is the only English speaking country with a gender difference in pronunciation.)
A final difference between Australia and New Zealand English is creativity in language use. New Zealanders do not use rhyming slang, idiomatic expressions, humorous expressions or profanity to the same extent as Australians.
New Zealanders love rugby union and for most of the last 100 years their national team, the All Blacks, has been the best rugby team in the world. The All Blacks have won around nine out of every ten games they've played. Oddly, the only time that haven't been the best has been during the rugby World Cups. New Zealand has only won two World Cups. The first was the inaugural tournament in 1987 on New Zealand soil and the second was in 2011, also on home soil.
In Australia, rugby union has largely been confined to private schools in two Australian states. It is the least popular of the four football codes played in Australia. Despite union's lack of popularity, Australia has won two World Cups as well. Furthermore, Australia won both World Cups on foreign soil.
New Zealanders also like cricket. Unfortunately, they aren't very good at it. It took them a world record of 27 years to win their first test match. Needless to say, New Zealand has never won any cricket World Cups, and has never struck fear into other cricketing nations around the world.
Like New Zealand's underperformance in rugby, it is not easy to explain New Zealand's under performance in cricket. Admittedly, New Zealand's population is only around four million, so they have a small talent pool to choose from. That said, Australia and West Indies have dominated countries such as England and India that have much higher populations. In total, Australia has won four cricket World Cups.
It is only in netball where New Zealand has performed to a satisfactory level. In total, New Zealand has won three world championships (1967, 1987 and 2003.) On the other hand, Australia has won eight (1963, 1971, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2007).
A final sporting difference between New Zealand and Australia is that New Zealand never invented its own team sports like Australia. New Zealand's sports have always come from other countries. Australians have also embraced foreign sports, but they have also invented some of their own, such as polocrosse, indoor cricket, touch football, surf life saving, and Australian football.
Australia and New Zealand have had different kinds of social disputes over the last two centuries. As a result, their political systems have been designed to address those disputes. In Australia, voting is compulsory. In New Zealand, it is not. Australia uses preferential voting in which candidates are ranked in order of preference. New Zealand does not. Australia uses a first-past-the-post system that gives the seat to the candidate that gets the most votes, or preferences. This results in two major parties dominating. New Zealand uses a proportional voting system. This results in some major parties, but also representation from minority nationalist groups, business lobbies, environmentalists and parties aligned with specific races. Australia has a senate. New Zealand does not. Australia does not have seats reserved for any racial group. New Zealand has special seats reserved for Maori.
The major parties of Australia are the Australian Labor Party, which uses American spelling, and the Liberal Party of Australia. The major parties of New Zealand are the New Zealand Labour Party, which uses British spelling, and the New Zealand National Party.
The Queen of England is the head of state of both countries.
The Australian national anthem is Advance Australia Fair. It has plenty of critics in Australia. It sings about 'wealth for toil', and being 'gurt by sea.' New Zealand has two national anthems of equal status - God Defend New Zealand and God Save the Queen. God Defend New Zealand sings about loving peace. God Save the Queen is the national anthem of Britain.
When it comes to international pressure, New Zealanders have consistently shown that they are more than willing to ignore what others suggest they do. The different approaches towards the international community between Australia and New Zealand were expressed in sporting tours to South Africa in the Apartheid era, the breakdown of the ANZUS treaty and the joint-bid by both countries to co-host the 2003 rugby union World Cup.
In the 1970s, the international community imposed boycotts on South Africa in protest against its apartheid system. While most countries, including Australia, joined the boycotts, New Zealand continued to send the All Blacks on rugby tours and continued to receive Springbok tours to New Zealand. In protest against New Zealand's actions, twenty-five African nations boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Another difference between Australia and New Zealand can be seen in regards to the ANZUS Treaty. The ANZUS Treaty is a military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States, to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean. It used to bind New Zealand and the United States as well, but in 1986 New Zealand banned US nuclear powered war ships from entering New Zealand waters. In response, the United States suspended its obligations to New Zealand; saying that the country was a "friend but not an ally."
Whether New Zealand was principled or pig-headed really depends on perspectives.The banning of the war ships provided no benefit to New Zealanders aside from making them feel better about themselves. The cost of banning them; however, was a lack of defence cooperation with the most powerful military in the world, and a free trade agreement with the largest market in the world.
Aside from maintaining sporting relations with white South Africa and devaluing the ANZUS treaty, the nature of New Zealand's international relations can be inferred from their bid for the 2003 rugby World Cup. Initially, both Australia and New Zealand were awarded the right to co-host the cup. Despite agreeing to certain commercial stipulations governing sponsorship, advertising and ticketing when making the bid, New Zealand backtracked once the right to host the cup had been awarded. The International Rugby Board warned New Zealand to conform to the pre-agreed commercial stipulations but New Zealand remained steadfast that it couldn't or wouldn't. The International Rugby Board then stripped New Zealand of its right to co-host the cup and Australia held it on its own. When stripping New Zealand of its right, the IRB issued a statement declaring:
"Generous accommodations made by RWCL to meet the needs and problems of the NZRU were repaid with consistent failures and wholly inappropriate behaviour. Despite this, the Council determined to give full and fair hearing to New Zealand's position and to its most recent submissions. However, the outstanding Australian proposal held an attraction, a professionalism and a logic which were irresistible. " (4)
Attitude to England
With its Convict foundations, Australia has always had a strain of people defined by their hostility towards England. For example, Henry Lawson, a poet writing at the turn of the 20th century, wrote:
"Why on earth do we want closer connection with England? We have little in common with English people except our language. We are fast becoming an entirely different people. We are more liberal, and, considering our age, more progressive than England is. The majority of English people know nothing of Australia, and even the higher classes understand neither us nor our country. The latter entertain a sort of good-natured contempt for us which is only the outcome of their contact with our own shoddy aristocracy, which is several degrees more contemptible than that of England.
The loyal talk of Patriotism, Old England, Mother Land, etc. Patriotism? after Egypt, Burmah, Soudan, etc. Bah! it sickens one. Go and read His Natural Life, and other natural lives, by Marcus Clarke, and then talk of the dear old Mother Land that gave us birth. " (2)
Because it lacks a Convict heritage, New Zealand has been far more united in praise towards England than has Australia. This was seen in 1982. New Zealand joined Britain in the Falklands war against Argentina and broke off diplomatic relations against its South American enemy. Then prime minister Robert Muldoon said:
"With the Falkland Islanders it is family…Don't forget. In New Zealand, we are still a member of the same family."
God Save the Queen is still an official anthem of New Zealand, and their national sport is typically associated with the private schools of England. Such is their loyalty to Britain, Australians have referred to New Zealanders as "South Sea Poms."
Anzac Day is the day for both Australia and New Zealanders to remember fallen soldiers. It is celebrated on the
25th April, which marks the anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps' (ANZAC) first landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915.
While it is a day for both countries, the remembrance of Anzac day, as well as the traditions associated with it, were Australian led. On the 25th of April 1923 at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first ever observance of an ANZAC Day dawn service. It wasn't until 1927 that the first official service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph. After being embraced Australia wide, the tradition spread to New Zealand.
New Zealanders sometimes feel that Australia has hijacked the Anzac legend, and ignored the achievements of fallen New Zealand soldiers.
Australian and New Zealanders both like to insult each other with jokes. Traditionally, when Australians joked about New Zealanders, they would have some kind of lewd twist on the New Zealander's affection for sheep or refer to them as South Pacific Poms (English). When New Zealanders joked about Australia, they would have some kind of twist on Australians being stupid. For example, when former New Zealand prime minister Robert Muldoon was questioned about increased levels of emigration from New Zealand to Australia, he responded that these migrants "raised the average IQ of both countries."
The lewdness in Australian jokes can be seen as a penal legacy. The Australians-are-stupid tradition in New Zealand humour is the same tradition used by the English when insulting Australians.
Australian jokes about New Zealanders
(1)Mark Revington, ‘Across the Ditch,’ Unlimited (1 April 2005), http://unlimited.co.nz/
(2)HENRY LAWSON Autobiographical and Other Writings 1887-1922 ANGUS AND ROBERTSON, Sydney 1972