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New Zealand, known as Aotearoa to the indigenous Maori, is a beautiful land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where a people of great faith reside. It is home to a very rich culture and people that have much pride in who they are and the way they live. The Maori culture invites these people to express their love for life through music, dance, sports, family.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is strong in New Zealand. The members are faithful and helpful in the missionary work. There are roughly 93,000 members in New Zealand. The church is growing fast on the two islands. The members are always willing to go out and do visits with the missionaries. The youth of Hamilton are very active in bringing people into the church. A large amount of members are recent converts and need strengthening from the wards and missionaries alike.
Most popular items of cuisine include: Meat pies, Lou, Lamb, Potatoes, Rice.
Many areas in the mission will have cars while some will have bicycles.
Hamilton is a relatively safe city. The people are generally very respectful and treat the missionaries well.
The Maori culture has many customs that you must learn to respect. Do not make fun of or joke about any of the parts of their culture because they never do. Learn to respect their culture and don’t try too hard to become Maori but more learn to honor and respect the way they live their culture.
Mix between British and Australian Accents. Polynesians will use a lot of Samoan/Tongan terms that you should learn as you meet them. Typical phrases of the New Zealand people include:
-“Kia ora” (a greeting such as hello, aloha, buenos dias)
– “sweet as,” “choice as,” “mean as,” (all meaning “cool” or “sweet” in American lingo)
– they will say “aye” after many phrases affirming what they said.
Ex: “sweet as aye”
A well-lined rain jacket would be very useful to bring from home. While there are a lot of things you will need, most necessities can be found in Hamilton.
PO Box 9542
Waikato Mail Center
What items were hard to get or not available?
Mexican food, Dr. Pepper, Reeses
What did you eat the most of?
The members will feed you KFC OFTEN if it is available.
What is the craziest thing you ate?
Horse and dog (Tongans eat horse)
What was most surprising about the culture
The people are incredibly relaxed. It sometimes feels like the world is in slow motion when compared to America.
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
The people are so loving, at times they will want you to be with them longer than you should. Follow your schedule, be prompt, obey the rules over pleasing the people. Always love God first, then love the people and you’ll never go wrong.
What do you wish you had known before you served?
Culture is #1 to many of the people you will meet. Sometimes they mix religion and culture so deeply that they are afraid that joining the church means leaving their culture behind, which in some cases is true. It is your job to help them understand that God’s laws are the most important thing for their personal happiness.