Kiwi, Kia Ora, Haka, Wellington, Nature… Do you know what I´m talking about? For the first time I attended a small talk session in our language school. I really didn´t know what to expect, but something was clear to me, I was willing to discover everything related to the topic: “New Zealand”.
As for the small talk session, Geoff Stagg was the speaker. He works for the Embassy of New Zealand. When he started talking the atmosphere changed and the session turned out to be fun and enjoyable. Obviously, as a native speaker, his level of English was great. However, I sometimes struggled to follow him because, as he warned us in advance, he could speak very fast when he talked about things he loved. Nevertheless, the videos that he used during the speech were fantastic and helped me to understand everything better.
Regarding New Zealand, this is a country located in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean and it consists of two main islands and many small ones. To get an idea, it’s about three hours by plane from Sydney, Australia. The capital city is Wellington, but the largest city is Auckland. Its territory is like half of Spain, while the population is around 5 million people. As for the official languages, English is the predominant one, but Maori and sign language are also official. New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth. Its currency is the New Zealand Dollar. Some important features about this country are its marvelous natural landscapes, its rich mix of cultures, its great food products (lamb and seafood) and its high quality of life.
Finally, I would like to briefly describe some words which I think summarize the essence of New Zealand:
Kiwi: The word has three meanings. This is a species of bird that is only found there; People who come from New Zealand are also called “Kiwis”, and they are proud of this; Kiwi is a fruit as well. They renamed the fruit because it looked like the bird.
Kia Ora: It is an informal greeting in the Maori language. It has a great meaning, it is like “Pura Vida” in Costa Rica.
Haka: It is a traditional dance or challenge in the Maori culture. The most popular Haka is danced and sung by the national rugby team.
All in all, if you have the opportunity to attend these small talks, they enrich your knowledge about different aspects. At the same time, we improve skills like listening, and boost our vocabulary. For me it has been rewarding, so I hope to see you next time.