Dannevirke (Daniverk) is the major town of the administrative district of Tararua, New Zealand. I have been settling here for five weeks now and I believe this is the best time to describe what I have observed about this town so far so in the future I would have a comparison of my own ideas.
The town is comprised of different shops, fastfoods and restaurants but there is just one major grocery store which is New World and one somewhat like a department store which is The Warehouse. There is a popular store for vegetables and fruits which is called Shires and one Chinese fastfood famous for fish and chips. I have not been to every store in town yet and that will be my next quest as soon as I start to learn to drive.
There is no heavy traffic here in Dannevirke simply because there are too few people and too many roads. Parking is always easy because there are plenty of spaces all over the town. Drivers are generally disciplined and are abiding by their road code. Their road signs are excellent. You can be assured that taxes are going to the right places somehow.
New Zealand has four seasons. It’s wintertime now but here in Dannevirke we don’t have snow. We have frostings once in a while. We had hale once so far but no snow. They say that snow happens very rarely but more commonly on mountain ranges.
Weather here in Dannevirke is so unpredictable sometimes. Last week we had super strong winds that I reckon would blow our roof if I would bring our very old house here from Manila. For the record, our car door was smashed when I opened it against the very strong wind. It didn’t get broken or anything like that but it was scary alright. Sometimes I just don’t want to go outside thinking that I might literally get blown away. I admire their builders for making very strong houses and structures that doesn’t get blown by their strong winds. In the Philippines, we would already have cancelled the classes because of danger of flying roofs or broken down trees and billboards.
Sometimes we have sunshine, most of the time we don’t so we always listen to forecasts for the great sunny days when we can schedule our big laundry loads. However, even if you think your laundry would get dried because of the sun, think again. Because it’s winter the sun’s heat isn’t strong enough to fight against the cold and clothes hanging would just get dried because of winds or in the end you would decide to just bring it inside the house to get the fireplace’s heat.
New Zealanders are called Kiwi. Original Kiwis are either Maori (their country’s native people) or Pakeha (European origin). People are generally friendly. They like to talk about how their day was even if they don’t know each other and have just met at the grocery counter. They like to talk about the weather or how their famous rugby team has just lost a game. They don’t hesitate to give a smile to a stranger. However, since Dannevirke is relatively a small town everyone almost knows everyone. If friends bump into each other at a grocery hallway they couldn’t stop talking about each others lives until they have discovered and talked about their other close friends’ darkest secrets and they would still not consider it gossipping. They claim that they are just concerned about other people’s lives and that they would want to help them (by talking about them when they are not there).
New Zealand food for me is average. They like fish and chips, chicken, pasta, and all other food that you’ll find at a fastfood. Chinese fastfoods are the only places you’ll find where they are selling, we Filipinos are calling it, “real” food which consists of rice and viands. Maybe it is just us but their usual food here before I started cooking were sausage rolls, mixed veggies, minced beef on roll ups, baked chicken, and the hardest to cook so far is macaroni and cheese. I heard that at some houses they cook lasagna and other pasta but other than that almost everything here are instant food and almost all the advertisements on the television would always promote “easy cooking.” Examples are plastic bags where you put a whole chicken inside with some potatoes and bake on an oven and it’s ready. Other ones are instant rice or pasta meals that are on sachets that you just have to put on a microwave and eat.
They say “see yah” instead of “goodbye” when people are leaving. They only say goodbyes when hanging the phone up. They blow their horns and give a hand sign when they see a familiar person along the road or driving at the opposite side. Almost everyone either plays, likes, or talks about rugby.
They like to visit each others’ houses and talk about their personal lives. Children likes to sleep over at their friends’ houses. When we have more children than usual, we have to adjust the division of food, cookies, ice cream, and other treats for the children because you would want to treat them all the same.
Language and Vocabulary
Everyone that I have met so far speaks English only. I have met some Maori people but haven’t heard them talk to each other using Maori or maybe just because they don’t.
They say “I reckon” instead of “I think.” They call french fries “chips” and minced beef just “minced.” They say “sweet as” instead of “no problem” or “it’s okay.” They say “mean as” whenever they are amazed by something or they think something is so good. They always use “nice and ” something whenever they describe something. Examples are nice and warm, nice and cold, nice and friendly, nice and cute, etc. You can use “nice and” just add any other adjective and you would already sound like a Kiwi.
When they need a person to agree on something they say “eh?” which is pronounced “ei.” Cool eh? Cold eh? Warm eh? Good eh? Use any kind of adjective and add an “eh” and you would sound a local. And when they agree they say “yi yi” instead of “yes.” Sometimes you are agreeing so strongly you can keep repeating it over and over “yi yi yi” pause “yi yi yi” and the other person would still not laugh about it.
Their accent is very close to Australian accent except that they claim that they don’t whine that much. They speak on low tones, generally, but sometimes children or teens who don’t speak clearly sounds like mumbling. A is ai, E is ei, I is aai, O is aw, and U is yow. Whenever we’re doing the children’s homework on spelling I would have a hard time identifying if he said A or E or I because they all sound similar and they would say they don’t. Bear is pronounced almost the same with beer, beah. Double is pronounced dobuw and trouble trobuw. Beautiful is beautifuw and playful playfuw. They say ivryone, ivrybody, inything.
Their most popular sports is rugby. You can never go wrong by talking about rugby. They encourage students to play all types of sports. Others play soccer, netball, cricket, basketball, swimming, etc.
I’ve heard that they don’t have land snakes in New Zealand. Amazing eh? They have a lot of cows and sheep, even more than the country’s total population. They also have a lot of ducks, chickens, deers, pigeons, birds, etc. They like to preserve their wildlife and their habitat. There are lots of parks where you can feed a lot of these animals freely.
These are just some of the things I can remember. In the future I’ll be writing more on specific and very interesting topics about this place and their country. I am enjoying our stay here so far and hopeful that I would be able to bring my own family here in the future for a visit.