Fall in love with a Kiwi Christmas: Learn how New Zealanders Celebrate Christmas in a special way

New Zealand has a unique seasonal pattern that is sure to amaze you. From winter falling in June to summer in December, it is surely a surprise treat for all.  On the North Island, December can still feel like spring even though it is technically summer, with some rainy and cooler days.

The long daylight hours (December 21 is the longest day of the year) make the month of December a good time to enjoy Christmas festivities and sunny evenings. For Kiwis, summer is a time of indulgence and celebration, with December being the peak month for family gatherings. Just like their unique weather New Zealanders have their own unique ways of celebrating Christmas. No blankets of snow, Jack Frost nipping at your nose or hot chocolate beside the fire to warm you up. Here are top 4 unique Kiwi Christmas experiences only to be seen in New Zealand:

2. A Picnic under the Pōhutukawa:

On Christmas Day, Kiwis visit one of the many local parks. With a picnic in hand, it’s a great place to go, especially if one can find a spot in the shade of a Pohutukawa tree. The Pōhutukawa tree, with its ruby red flowers, is known in New Zealand as the traditional Christmas tree and is an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. The blazing red flowers bloom around Christmas time, occurring naturally in the upper half of the North Island. Pōhutukawa often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, and has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad.

2. The Kiwi Christmas Barbeque:

In New Zealand, a Christmas tradition is to BBQ a variety of fresh seafood and quality cuts of meat which are complemented with exotic salads and seasonal vegetables – an emphasis on simplicity, organic, home-grown and healthy. Kiwis love their BBQs, and Christmas is no exception. BBQs are also a practical choice as a quick and easy way to feed a large group of family members and friends. 

3. Special Kirihimete carols:

As New Zealand’s winter is the opposite of a winter wonderland, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a few Kiwis have tweaked the lyrics of some favorite carols or written brand-new Christmas songs. A few favorites that are played every year are Te Haranui, Christmas in New Zealand, A Kiwiana Christmas, and Sticky Beak the Kiwi. Some of the carols, such as Silent Night, have been translated into  the native Maori language, in addition to rewriting the 12 Days of Christmas as A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree.


  1. The beach style Christmas:

On Christmas Day, families and groups of friends from all over the country go to their favorite coastal spots. From swimming to sunbathing, from sandcastle construction and more, Kiwis love to indulge in these all-time favorite beach activities. One could also spot Santas on the beach. These summer Santas could be seen surfing, jetsking, paragliding and sailing, and even doing deliveries by water in a traditional waka Māori canoe.


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