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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

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New Zealand

New Zealand Christmas tree

What do they call the Christmas tree in
New Zealand?



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The New Zealand Christmas tree is called Pohutukawa.

The Pohutukawa flowers are an amazing crimson red and blooms around Christmas time. A self decorating Christmas tree!

People do not cut the tree down and bring it inside the home, like we bring a fir tree inside.

New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of the UK.
When we start school at 9am in Britain, it is 10pm in New Zealand.
When school day ends in the UK, it is the next day in New Zealand.

 Summer time

New Zealand is on the southern hemisphere (south of the equator).

It is summer time in New Zealand.

"We believe that if the Pohutukawa flowers early they will have a long hot summer. It didn't flower early this year (2009) :-( "
Jacqui Sharp, Auckland

New Zealanders do not have snow and ice at Christmas, instead they celebrate Christmas in the warm summer sun.

A beach in New Zealand

It is Summer time in New Zealand, so for New Zealanders, Christmas is a time of holidays, picnics, barbecues and beaches.

Can you imagine celebrating Christmas on a hot sunny day?
How would you celebrate Christmas if it was a hot/cold day?

iconNo School

In New Zealand Schools break up (on vacation) in December for 2 months. That means children have almost two whole months to enjoy their Christmas present! In the UK, we have two weeks off school over the Christmas and New Year period.

As well as schools closed for the Christmas summer break, adults are on vacation too. As soon as Christmas is over, families head out for their summer vacations.

Christmas Dinner

As it is usually hot on Christmas Day, many New Zealanders eat their Christmas dinner outside. They have a picnic or a barbecue. Some people follow the British tradition of having a hot turkey dinner, whilst others have a cold dinner.

Some of the Islanders around New Zealand, eat raw fish in coconut for their Christmas dinner.

The traditional Christmas dessert eaten on Christmas day is a fluffy Pavlova (meringue confection made of whipped egg whites and sugar).

(We have Pavlovas in the UK, but it is not a traditional British christmas food.)

Did you know?
Pavlovas were created by a "Kiwi" (New Zealander) who worked as a chef in Australia. Both countries therefore have a claim to the 'invention' of the pavlova.

Maori Families

In Maori Families, it is traditional to have a Hangi: a feast of traditional Maori food cooked in an earth oven (a hangi).

First they dig a hole in the ground and heat it by putting hot stones inside. They then put various types of meats and vegetables, such as kumara or sweet potato, wrapped in leaves on top of the stones. The opening to the oven is covered and the food is left to cook. The hangi feast is served late afternoon or in the evening.

Message from a teacher in New Zealand
"Christmas is at the start of our 7 week summer holiday.

We have Christmas in the Park where people perform on a stage and everyone has a big picnic while they watch.

A lot of people have a barbecue, go to the beach or go camping over Christmas, and you have to stay up late (after 10.00 to wait for it to get dark enough to see your Christmas lights!) But the skies are clear and dark so the stars make a fantastic display.

Our church sometimes has a service down by the river before Christmas and it's so hot you are sitting putting sun cream on!

The Christmas best outfit is shorts and a t-shirt.


In many small towns and villages, Santa visits all the children on Christmas morning riding on a fire engine. They hear him coming because the siren warns them to come out of their homes and stand by the road so he can toss sweets (candy) to them.

Boxing Day

The day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day just like it is in England.

Click here for facts about New Zealand

Find out about Father Christmas


23 days till Christmas!

"Christmas Is Coming"!

Advent Calendar

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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website.
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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