So many visitors associate New Zealand with Peter Jackson and Mt. Doom, but for those looking to stay for the long haul, there’s more than tours of Hobbiton and references to Bret and Jemaine. As a country with some of the greatest variety of ecosystems in such a small area, New Zealand isn’t very densely populated, but still provides a number of ways to let residents know who’s made it their home.

1. Maori greetings and simple phrases come as naturally as “hello” and “goodbye.”
2. People keep complimenting your blonde hair… you were a brunette last month.
3. You’ve climbed and/or jumped off of everything the eye can see.
4. You know people aren’t complimenting your sweet ass, but just expressing their contentment… it is pretty sweet, though.
5. Lamb is a staple of your diet.
6. You invest in White Island tours. Sure, it’ll probably explode, but what a view until then.
7. You’re the one explaining to tourists that sand can actually be black.
8. You’ve shared a few beers with more than one All Blacks player.
9. You would never think of answering your phone while driving.
10. You start thinking of magpies, or any bird for that matter, as vermin.
11. You always check the label on any bottle or product, just in case you need a laugh.
12. You’ve dated an actor or actress in an Air New Zealand safety video.
13. You can actually say the name of that hill in Hawkes Bay.
14. You just laugh when others complain about mozzies… they will never know the horrors of avoiding sandflies.
15. Instead of cranking up the central heating in winter, you know to stockpile tinder… but expect to freeze anyway.
16. You understand “how’s it going?” is more than just a banal platitude. People actually want you to answer.
17. Lawn bowls is a regular part of your schedule.
18. You’re convinced there’s still a moa somewhere on the North Island.
19. You don’t care about the words to God Save New Zealand, not when everyone just associates the country with the haka.
20. You’re actually sick of Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Conchords references.
21. You know when it’s time to have a cuppa.
22. No animal scares you… except white-tailed spiders.
23. You spell it Whanganui but still pronounce it correctly.
24. You’ve read a story about flax above the fold of a major newspaper.
25. It takes you 17 hours, 42 minutes, and 6 seconds to upload something to YouTube… but no worries in exchange for everything else NZ has to offer.

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