If you thought college rivalries were intense, then you’ve obviously never heard of the trans-Tasman rivalry. Trans-Tasman relations involve the two island nations of Australia and New Zealand. It’s called that because New Zealand and Australia sit across the Tasman Sea from each other. People tend to describe the countries’ relationship as akin to sibling rivalry: It’s all in good fun but gets rough at times. Here’s a chance to get informed on how the Aussies and the Kiwis treat each other down under.
Australians are often the butt of many New Zealand jokes, and it goes the other way as well. A good portion of these jokes, told by both Australians and New Zealanders, are typically crude jokes involving sheep. They also come in the pun variety. “Ewe-phemisms” involve puns on song titles where people include the word “ewe”.
There is also a myriad of exaggerated (and funny) stereotypes held by both countries about the other. People from New Zealand are often stereotyped as “behind the times”, and are called “South Sea Poms” (“pom” is a slang word for a British person). From the other perspective, New Zealanders characterize Australians as rude, ill-mannered and lazy.
Pronunciation is another key part of the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia. New Zealanders think Australians pronounce the word “six” more like “sex”, and mockingly speak with a Steve-Irwin-style Australian accent. This goes the other way as well. Australians joke about how people from New Zealand pronounce “fish and chips”, as it sounds more like “fush en chups”.
The sporting rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is absolutely huge and encompasses the sports of netball, cricket, rugby union, rugby league and much more. Both countries have competed against each other at the Commonwealth Games since 1930. The netball rivalry between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns is one of the fiercest in the world. The countries’ intense cricket rivalry and anger have been built on an underarm incident in 1981 that was legal, but many considered unfair play. Australia and New Zealand hosted the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, and each country has two championships under their belt.
Now that you have a brief idea about all of the rivalry that has been going on down in the Southern Hemisphere, you can see that sometimes it's not really a laughing matter. Just like a big brother might treat his little brother though, these countries know that they're just messing with each other....right?