Lifestyle

Go for a traditional Maori-style Christmas celebration

The year-end is near, and with it comes the bountiful festive celebrations with close friends and family. Like Singaporeans, Kiwis (affectionate term for New Zealanders) celebrate a warm Christmas in New Zealand during the summer months.

Why not add a new twist to your reunions and parties this festive season and indulge in a bit of barbeque, cricket and ice cream for the holidays?

Here are four ways to introduce Kiwi Christmas traditions to your gatherings at home!

Impress your guests with interesting facts about Christmas in New Zealand

While Kiwis celebrate many familiar traditions of this jolly occasion, there are some key differences that your friends and family may not know about.

The Pohutukawa tree (above), with its ruby red flowers, is known in New Zealand as the traditional Christmas tree and is an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. The blazing red flowers bloom around Christmas time, occurring naturally in the upper half of the North Island.

Pohutukawa often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, and has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad.

If you’re waiting with your little ones for Santa to come bearing gifts at midnight, it might be helpful to know that he also responds to Hana Koko! Don’t forget to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in Maori by saying, “Meri Kirihimete!”

Set the mood with festive New Zealand music and the Maori versions of iconic Christmas carols

Iconic Christmas songs and carols are a must for any Kiwi Christmas celebration. Some hymns, such as Marie te po (Silent night), have been translated into Maori to give them a special New Zealand touch.

Show off your vocals with famous carols that originated in New Zealand such as Te Haranui, Christmas in New Zealand and A Kiwiana Christmas. Listen to a peaceful rendition of Te Haranui’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdiED5uymE0

After the singing, keep the music coming with Tourism New Zealand’s Kiwi Christmas Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2qyB3qquUZjvSS16M9pCu0?si=ACtT4m1mRruqG03IhCAMdg&nd=1, with specially curated Christmas tunes that are popular in New Zealand during Christmas for a celebratory ambience.

Feast on New Zealand Christmas staples like barbeque, seafood and pavlova

A Christmas feast often includes Kiwis enjoying the outdoors in their jandals (or flip-flops) gathered around a piping hot barbeque of fresh seafood and juicy meats.

For sides, why not create a Kiwi onion dip to serve with small bites like crackers, bread and chopped vegetables?

Get the three-ingredient recipe here: https://www.maggi.co.nz/recipes/original-kiwi-dip/

Finish the meal with the classic Kiwi pavlova, a sweet and decadent dessert topped with fresh fruits. Check out the recipe here: https://www.zespri.com/en-US/blogdetail/kiwi-pavlova.

Head to the beach on Boxing Day

Boxing Day in New Zealand on 26 December involves packing up the Christmas leftovers and heading down to the sunny beaches for a cooldown.

 

Photo Credits: Merle Bishop, Jet Productions, Michael Hishon, Camilla Rutherford

Unwind at your nearest beach like in Sentosa or East Coast Beach after your satisfying Christmas meals and indulge as the Kiwis do in fun-filled activities like Petanque beach cricket, touch rugby, swimming and surfing!

Finish your relaxing day with a scoop of ice cream.

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