THAT’S COLD – Exploding the Myth About Sub Tropical New Zealand

There is a lovely piece of writing by Linley Boniface in the Dom Post.

It’s her account about what it’s like to suffer the winter cold in a “flimsy wooden shack” (aka house) in Wellington, New Zealand.

If you’re tempted to emigrate to New Zealand and been seduced by stories about its sub-tropical climate read on. If you already live in New Zealand you’ll know what she’s talking about and will perhaps manage a laugh through your chattering teeth:

Which settler spread the myth that New Zealand was so balmy and sub-tropical that flimsy wooden shacks would suffice?”

“Without wanting this to sound like a suggested script for recruits to the sex chatline industry, I feel an urgent need to tell you what I am wearing.

There is a coat, a scarf, a pair of fingerless gloves and a hat of such hideousness that my small son almost fell down the stairs in fright when he first saw it. There are several tops, two sets of leggings and a pair of the kind of quilted sheepskin slippers rarely seen on anyone who still possesses all their own teeth.

It is, in short, an outfit offering the level of thermal protection an Antarctic scientist might require in order to spend an afternoon dissecting a Weddell seal on an exposed ice shelf. And yet, I am wearing this not on an ice shelf, but in my home office in Wellington. Although I can’t tell you exactly how cold it is in here, my gin and tonic is only a couple of degrees away from freezing over.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially in my house. Having once believed I would throw myself on a landmine to protect my children from injury, I now refuse to move away from the fireplace to allow them to defrost when they return home from school. This southern hemisphere Siberia has turned me into a warmth hog.

Walking into my unbelievably chilly house after nightfall last week, I was unable to respond to my dog’s friendly greeting because I was transfixed by a mental image of an illustration I’d once seen of a caveman taking refuge from the cold by sheltering among the still-warm entrails of a freshly killed buck deer.

My dog seemed to sense my train of thought and quickly slunk away. Luckily for her, she is a small dog and her chest cavity would be of use only as a footwarmer: if she’d been a great dane, it would have been a different story.

Ask any migrants to New Zealand what bewilders them most about this country and they will immediately mention our cold homes – as well as our insane driving, our inability to laugh at ourselves and our inexplicable fondness for cheap pies containing mince presumably garnered from recycled camel genitalia.

The cold homes, though, are most baffling, because most people consider hypothermia a symptom of being cold, rather than an expression of national identity.”

It could be worse, she could live in Dunedin.

Read the rest here Which idiot spread the myth?

The forecast for Wellington to 9am Monday 1 June : Min Temp 2, Max 8

7 thoughts on “THAT’S COLD – Exploding the Myth About Sub Tropical New Zealand

  1. I’ve been in NZ for 32 years and can’t believe that people claim it has a sub tropical climate. Obviously they aren’t smart enough to to know what sub tropical is and it sure isn’t anywhere in this country.

  2. But kiwis seem to believe this myth at heart…lol
    These VERY cold days I’ve seen people wearing t-shirts, shorts and jandals, as well as some barefoot kids and women jogging in tops….when the temperature outside is as low as 2ºC….all I can think about is why??? it’s nonsense, NZ is not Cairns/Darwin, but they seem to believe it is!
    I would be very interested in hearing your experiences/opinions about this, to help explain this ridiculous behaviour.

    • Many kiwis have this weird idea that those not from New Zealand should adapt to their weather within days of being there. Otherwise you are not a “true kiwi”…
      while for example during the winters in Germany the kiwi is all wrapped up in his thermals and exhorting those back home to “harden up!”

      It’s a very strange mindset, but I suspect it has more to do with breaking down the morale and disrespecting the visitor so that they get used to ill-treatment. After all… being told you are never good enough all the time is something many people do when they want to hire staff at cut-price rates.

  3. Turin there's enough commercially sanitized and sugar coated hype about NZ out there already. It's great to get the straight facts without all the usual BS.

  4. I could applaud your site for warning people about dangers of New Zealand society, but I do question whether seemingly continuous negativity produces the reverse affect to your agenda, that people will view your collection (that are written in New Zealand) as one sided resulting in your site being ignored. And maybe you could suggest a better place to emigrated to?

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