As someone who doesn’t have a spiritual connection with the Christmas holiday, I’ve always been drawn to finding out more about other major celebrations around the world. When I got the chance to attend thanksgiving here in New Zealand I was very excited. Luckily we had two resident Americans and one Canadian to show us how it’s done!
What is Thanksgiving like in New Zealand?
Our hosts for the evening, one American and a Kiwi, rent a beautiful wee house on a farm in the outskirts of Auckland. With doors concertina opening onto an outdoor dining area overlooking the farm, it was the perfect setting for an early summer gathering.
Without a major sporting event to entertain us, we caught up with friends not seen since last thanksgiving and engaged in a game of rage cage while the food was being prepared.
What are people thankful for in New Zealand?
Before we ate we shared what we were thankful for which unsurprisingly for many of us included some variation of gratefulness for the food! Specifically “the potatoes!”, but we also seem to have a lot else to be thankful for in New Zealand.
“I’m thankful for my working holiday in New Zealand.”
“I’m thankful for my dog buddy.”
“I’m thankful for coming to thanksgiving and meeting new friends.”
When it came my turn to give thanks I said…
“I’m thankful for being lucky enough to have got to travel around the world and reconnect with old friends since being back in New Zealand.”
Then finally it was food time! There were several vegetarians and vegans at our party, so our turkey was a cucumber stuck in hummus with vegetables spread out as feathers. Cornbread, chicken, stuffing, gravy, candied kumara (sweet potato) and “cauli-turkey” (roast cauliflower) also featured on the main menu.
Where can you buy American food in New Zealand?
Thanks to The American Store in Mt Wellington, we also had pumpkin pie for dessert and traditional Smores (Hershey’s chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between Gram Crackers) toasted over the fire.
Though I’m not familiar with the background of the thanksgiving tradition, it seems to be the type of holiday most people can get involved with and enjoy, regardless of their beliefs. Though it’s been a tough year for me personally, it was a great chance to remember everything I do have to be thankful for and just be content in the present moment.