While New Zealand might not be up there with the likes of Thailand or India when it comes to culture shock, there’s plenty of behaviours and classic Kiwi-isms that are still anomalies to western travellers – bare feet in the supermarket is a bit odd, let’s be honest.
Taking to TikTok, Seán Rós – a new arrival from Ireland – has shared the customs and conventions he finds particularly discombobulating in the Land of the Long White Cloud, including Chemist Warehouse, of all things.
Rós moved from the county town of Mullingar to Auckland at the end of last year, and has since found navigating Kiwi culture a bit of a minefield.
In a clip shared earlier this month, Rós – who first shared his culture shocks in a viral video in January – followed up with a second list, which has since amassed almost 100,000 views and more than 15,000 likes.
“Here’s part two of my culture shocks coming to New Zealand from Ireland – straight off the bat, we have Chemist Warehouse,” he began.
“This place is so hard to comprehend as a foreigner… it’s chaotic, it’s bright, it’s loud, it’s crammed. I love going, but I’m a little bit scared of Chemist Warehouse.”
Up next, Rós admitted he was stunned when he first saw people walking barefoot in public spaces.
“I’m not talking about beaches, I’m talking about supermarkets, or restaurants, cafes, walking around the street barefoot,” he explained. “It’s really odd. Where did your shoes go? Is this a nation of hobbits?
“I don’t want to be looking at your damn hogs while I’m picking up my vegetables.”
Thirdly, Rós said he is yet to comprehend the concept of one of our most infamous Kiwi-isms: the classic “yeah, nah”, or the “nah, yeah”.
“Which is it, is it yes or no? Which one am I supposed to go off of?” he lamented.
On a slightly more positive note, Rós said he appreciates the kindness of cashiers in Aotearoa, noting that in Ireland, supermarket workers will rarely pack your bags for you and instead, “scan your stuff and throw it at you”.
“Here it’s like, ‘scan, I’ll put that in your trolley for you, no problem’ – it’s really nice,” he added.
Concluding the clip, Rós clarified that he loves living in New Zealand, citing the people, the food and the culture as “incredible”.
Many Kiwi viewers have found Rós’ examples of culture shock hilarious, with one reassuring him that Chemist Warehouse is equally as terrifying and confusing to locals. Another responded: “Chemist Warehouse is sensory overload two seconds in but I shall be bare-feet walkin’, thank you.”
“Here in New Zealand we’re born with these special ‘off-road, all-terrain’ feet, shoes become optional,” another joked, with a third adding: “Shoes are for the weak.”
When it comes to his “yeah, nah” conundrum, several advised Rós to focus on the last word, explaining that in most instances, “yeah, nah” means “nah” and “nah, yeah” means “yeah”.
The clip follows his first compilation of things he has found “culturally shocking” as a foreigner in Aotearoa, which has garnered almost 200,000 views since it was shared in January. In the video, Rós – who at that point had only been in Auckland for two months – called Pak’nSave “unhinged”, branded pukekos “weird, blue chicken birds”, complained about the number of KFCs – which he labelled “D-List fast food” – and said he felt “harassed” by ‘Tina from Turners’. On the positive, he praised the prevalence of the food waste disposers InSinkErators.