During my time in New Zealand, I have had the opportunity to encounter people from all over the world. Dunedin especially holds a varied cultural center. Visitors from the U.S, Australia, Asia, Germany, and Polynesian islands are all common sights in town. My time abroad has allowed me to garner more knowledge about different cultures and religions. One stereotype that I have reconsidered was that of the Maori people. Although I did not know much about the Maori people, I already held assumptions about their operations. I had assumed that the Maori people’s opinions held little weight in politics and other important matters. I was so used to the way the Native American’s were treated here and assumed the Maoris are treated in the same way. However the situation is quite different here. Maori people hold their own political party which holds a significant amount of power. Furthermore government organizations take Maori beliefs into consideration. For example, police have the ability to spiritually cleanse a crime scene in order to make it noa (or make available for everyday use). Hospitals use certain elevators to transport the dead and label them in order to let people know which elevators are tapu (sacred).
Within my host culture I have learned that there is a stereotype with Asians. There are many Asian tourists who come to visit New Zealand and they carry their own cultural values. Some people in New Zealand see these tourists as rude, obnoxious, and constantly in the way. There is also a stereotype that Asian tourists are poor drivers. Granted not all Kiwis think this way, but there have been a substantial number of encounters where I have witnessed such comments.
Based off of current events, many Kiwis believe that the majority of Americans are Donald Trump supporters. I have received these assumptions in casual conversation and in one of my lectures where my teacher referred to a Trump quote solely because there was a large number of Americans the class. Clearly this stereotype isn’t justifiable, not every from America supports Donald Trump.
One of the stereotypes I had about New Zealand was that all of Kiwis would be highly interested in outdoor activities. While there are Kiwis who love the outdoors, I have also met a substantial amount who absolutely despise the outdoors. One of my Kiwi friends said, “I can’t wait for it to be winter so I can sit inside and do nothing.” Clearly this stereotype was not valid and each person is unique and has his or her own interests.
The cartoon I chose was an image of a person shaving a sheep. New Zealand is known for its extensive sheep population and many people assume that is all that is around. The sheep is saying just the usual because when you sheer a sheep, you only shave off all of the wool. I have learned that although there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand, it does not take many people to maintain them all. For example, my Kiwi host had worked on a sheep farm for three years. On his farm he only had two other men and a sheep herding dog. This small team was responsible for about 5,000 sheep and I think this clearly shows that not everyone needs to own sheep. New Zealand may be a country with a lot of nature and agriculture, but they still have industry, business, and an extensive amount of other opportunities available for employment.