497 Kiwi Summers


Mark talks about popular summer activities in New Zealand.

story image

Todd: So, Mark, what do Kiwis like to do in the summer?

Mark: Yeah, I think the first thing for some people to realise is that Christmas is midsummer in New Zealand.

Todd: Oh nice!

Mark: So Kiwis combine Christmas holiday and New Year holiday with a summer vacation as well.
I can remember when I was small, we’d have family Christmases and then the next day, which is Boxing Day, we’d go to the beach or we’d travel somewhere and rent a small house on the beach. They call them ‘batches’ in the north of the island or ‘cribs’ in the south island. And you just spend 4, 5 days, maybe a week, 2 weeks, just swimming in the sea, playing in the sand dunes, walks in the forest: just a really relaxing time with family and family friends.

Todd: That sounds nice, so you know in Australia they’re really big on surfing. Do a lot of people surf in New Zealand?

Mark: There is a surfing population. I think the Australian beaches are probably much larger and
maybe they have better waves, I don’t know, but several of my friends used to go on surfing holidays in summer as well.

Todd: And what foods do people like to eat when they get together for the summer?

Mark: Barbecue is almost the national obsession in summertime, you know, you’d just throw a sausage on the barbie or friends would ring up and say ‘hey, it’s a nice night, let’s have a barbie!’. I think all my friends have their own barbecue set.

Todd: What meats do people barbecue?

Mark: Again, New Zealand foods used to very much sort of be the lamb or beef, but now it’s getting a lot more varied, you can grill a nice fish on the barbecue, you can still have sausage, chicken, pork, beef, lamb, whatever you want.

Todd: Yeah, it sounds good. OK, well thanks, Mark.

Mark: OK.


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

sand dunes

Our family would spend five days, swimming, playing in the sand dunes, and just relaxing.

'Sand dunes' are big hills made of sand and are formed by the wind. Notice the following:

  1. The sand dunes look really beautiful at night.
  2. We went sliding down the sand dunes on plastic sleds.

big on

In Australia, they're really big on surfing; do a lot of people surf in New Zealand?

When a group of people is 'big on' something, they really enjoy it or do it a lot. Notice the following:

  1. I have been big on Chinese food recently.
  2. Most of my friends are pretty big on shopping, but I don't like it.

the national obsession

Barbecue is almost the national obsession in summertime.

An 'obsession' is something you are really focused on, almost to the point of being crazy about it. A 'national obsession' would mean that a whole country is really focused on it. Notice the following:

  1. Soccer is a national obsession here.
  2. iPads have been like the national obsession this holiday season.

the barbie

You'd just throw a sausage on the barbie or go to friends' having barbecue.

'Barbie' is a shortened and informal way to say barbeque. Notice the following:

  1. We have been cooking almost every meal on the barbie.
  2. It will be very casual. We are just going to throw some hamburgers on the barbie and drink a few beers.

ring up

Friends would ring up and invite you to have barbecue.

'Ring up' is another way to say 'call on the telephone.' Notice the following:

  1. I will just ring your up later and let you know what the plan is.
  2. He was really surprised when she rang him up and asked him if he wanted to go to dinner.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
sand dunes • big • obsession
barbie • rings
  1. This television program has become a national .
  2. He me up every day when he finishes class.
  3. Hold on a minute. I have to go check on the food on the and make sure it's not burning.
  4. Some of the are white, and some are red.
  5. I'm actually not too on eating meat.