Does what it means to be a Kiwi depend on where you live?

4th May 2016

What it is to be a Kiwi may depend of where you live – Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand – with the citizens of our largest city seeing themselves a little differently to the rest of us.

Colmar Brunton survey data, just released ahead of Waitangi Day, captures how New Zealanders perceive the attributes and beliefs which shape our country and what it means to be a Kiwi.

CEO Jacqueline Farman says while Auckland and the rest of New Zealand are not poles apart, there are some interesting differences in many areas.  New Zealanders have a strong identity, defining themselves as friendly first and foremost (79%) and proud (74%), with a can do attitude (73%). They care about the environment (68%) and say they are easy going / laid back (67%), determined (67%) and outdoorsy (64%).


“Kiwis’ core values are consistent with the last survey in 2013 with the exception of a marked increase in concern for the environment they live in, which has jumped from 60% in 2013, Ms Farman says.  “That’s in line with other studies such as our Better Futures report which shows a strong trend of Kiwis being increasingly influenced in their behavior by environmental factors.”

Caring about the environment is even more pronounced among Aucklanders who are 8% more likely to care for the environment than Kiwis generally – and it’s not the only difference.  “Fewer Aucklanders than those living in other parts of the country identify themselves strongly as Kiwis, which is not surprising given the large migrant population in Auckland.  What is a little surprising is that even amongst those born in NZ, Aucklanders are slightly less likely than others to strongly identify themselves as Kiwis,” Ms Farman says. “


Aucklanders also see themselves as more outdoorsy (+6%) than the rest of the country more innovative (+7%) but less friendly (-6%).

When it comes to what Kiwis are proud of, natural beauty (90%) tops the list followed by easy access to outdoor pursuits (84%), can-do attitude (71%) sporting achievements and laid back lifestyle (68%).

“Unsurprisingly Aucklanders are more proud of New Zealand’s cultural diversity, reflecting the city’s ethnic make-up. But interestingly the city has a stronger pride in its Maori culture than the rest of the population.”

The high cost of living is seen as the biggest barrier to New Zealand’s success, especially in Auckland, where 60% see this as holding New Zealand back from its full potential.  The majority of Aucklanders (55%) would stay put if cost of living and employment opportunities were equal throughout the country. But only14% of those living elsewhere in New Zealand would choose to move to the big smoke.

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