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Australia and New Zealand

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General Jinjur:
I know they're different countries - but different how? All I've got is that NZ is smaller, cooler, and wetter than Australia. Other than that, I have no idea what the distinctions are, culturally, politically, and so on. Anyone care to fill me in?

WestAussieGirl:
The indigenous cultures of the two countries are vastly different but modern culture is very similar.  Largely egalitarian and pretty laid-back about virtually every issue (except possibly sporting results).

They have very similar political systems based on the Westminster System.  Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state for both countries.  Both countries have an elected Parliament with a leader (called the Prime Minister) selected by the other members of the Government.  The Prime Minister can change without another election - he or she still remains a member of the Government though unless he or she resigns.

The two countries have agreements which allow citizens to be able to live and work in either country (but a passport is required to travel between the two).  I'm not 100% sure, but I think New Zealanders are also entitled to government health care while in Australia (and vice versa).  I think they have to become permanent residents or citizens to get social security benefits though.

Climate-wise it's hard to compare.  Australia is a big country (almost as big as the USA) so the climate varies a lot depending on where you are.  In general it is warmer and drier than New Zealand as it is both closer to the equator and a lot bigger.  New Zealand is significantly more mountainous so that impacts on their weather.  In general though the north of New Zealand has similar weather to the south of Australia.

We're friendly rivals with a great affection for each other.  The Aussies are also the better cricketers (but we won't mention rugby).    ;)

StarDrifter:
Aussie here! I know we've got a few New Zealanders on the board, must point them in the direction of this thread so they can offer a trans-Tasman view of how we differ.

We use different money- $NZD and $AUD are listed separately and (in general) the AUD has been stronger against the $USD for the better part of the decade.

Really, it's like comparing Canada to the States - same language, similar geography, similar cultures, a lot of similarities, but don't ever accuse one of being the other!

In my experience, Maori culture (Indigenous NZ population) is a lot stronger and more prevalent than the Australian Aborigines culture has been to modern Australia - when white settlers first arrived here in Aus they pretty much said 'Hey, go away, we want to use this land for a prison and to raise sheep and cattle.' and pretty much subjugated the Aborigines to white rule from day dot, whereas in NZ the Maoris were seen as more 'civilised' and there was (and still is, I think) a treaty signed between white settlers and the Maori's that meant their culture is a lot more preserved.

NZ is, obviously, physically much smaller and a little further south than Australia, it's a lot more mountainous and gets more snow, and is sitting on an earthquake-prone part of the planet. I can't actually recall an earthquake in Australia causing any major damage.

As far as international relations go, in a lot of ways the two countries are like siblings, who argue over a lot of things but really want the same outcome in the end. We're both part of the Commonwealth, both countries are nuts about sport (although NZ is more into the extreme stuff like Zorb and bungee jumping) and we both speak English, have right-hand drive cars and use the metric system.

And I seem to have just muddied the waters rather than making things clearer...

General Jinjur:
DH and I were discussing this earlier, and realized we both have about the same images of the countries in question. Namely, we envision Australia as hot, flat, and deserty, filled with cheerful tan people, and topped with an ever-present white-hot sun. NZ, on the other hand, we see as the Oceania equivalent of Oregon, with hardy outdoorsy people trooping over verdant hills while clad in waterproofs.

...At least somewhat accurate? Or way off?

katycoo:

--- Quote from: General Jinjur on September 25, 2011, 02:39:01 PM ---DH and I were discussing this earlier, and realized we both have about the same images of the countries in question. Namely, we envision Australia as hot, flat, and deserty, filled with cheerful tan people, and topped with an ever-present white-hot sun. NZ, on the other hand, we see as the Oceania equivalent of Oregon, with hardy outdoorsy people trooping over verdant hills while clad in waterproofs.

...At least somewhat accurate? Or way off?

--- End quote ---

Accurate in bits.  Australia has really tropical areas, really hot desert-y areas, cold mountain-y areas and areas where it snows.

NZ has less (no?) desert or tropics, but particularly the North Island is still very warm and temperate in summer.

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