Doing Business in New Zealand
Overview of the specifics of local business culture can be put to the following. New Zealanders usually great each other with a handshake and the expressions like “Good morning” or “Good Afternoon”. Men must wait until a woman gives her hand first for a handshake. A smile and a meaningful (but not disturbing) eye-contact are also important elements of greeting procedure.
In Maori business culture greeting ritual includes a special welcome ceremony, which is leaded by a head (Powhiri) and usually embraces a series of welcome speeches from the host side, a speech from the guest side, a special traditional singing followed by traditional Maori greeting hongi (touching noses). For the majority of the situations, conservative dress code is preferred in New Zealand, and it is always necessary to keep in mind climatic specifics of the country. Weather conditions of New Zealand resemble the ones of London, with a great number of rainy days.
That is why a raincoat and umbrella are essential things. It is polite to bring gifts for the hosts, which must be wrapped and given in the beginning of the meeting. The best gifts are considered to be a pack of chocolates, a book or a souvenir from the home-country. Usually, meetings must be scheduled not less than a week beforehand by fax, phone or e-mail. Punctuality in everything is absolutely vital in New Zealand. One must never be late either for formal or informal meetings; otherwise it will be understood as rudeness.
Since people of New Zealand are friendly and outgoing, even in terms of business relationships they tend to show their good attitude and move to first names very fast. Nevertheless, it is recommended to use the last names and titles of local businessmen, until it is offered from their side to start using the first names. As a rule, meetings or negotiations start with a small informal talk about the weather or latest cultural events. During the negotiations or presentation of own business project, the best strategy is to operate with factual information and concentrate on the very business idea, but not on own personal commercial skills.
Such tricks as loud voice, high pressure or too enthusiastic behavior during the presentation will not impress New Zealanders and, therefore, it is better to be self-possessed, calm and respectful. It is good to keep some eye contact during the presentation, as well as some certain personal space. Table manners practiced in New Zealand are continental and no special knowledge is required. Before a formal or informal dinner it is necessary to wait to be shown where to sit. When eating, one must not talk and must not keep elbows on the table.
When the meal is finished, it is necessary to place the fork and knife parallel on the plate. Eating ceremony of Maori society is a bit more complicated: it is leaded by Powhiri and includes the procedure of “blessing the meals”. As a rule, the guests are placed among the locals in order to have a better opportunity to get to know each other (Kwintessential). Thus, New Zealand can offer not only a series of unique tourist attractions, but also great opportunities for businessmen to invest their funds in various developing industries, starting from agriculture and ending with informational technologies.
Such important factors as flourishing economy, transparent governmental system, low risks and sophisticated national infrastructure stimulate and encourage foreign investors to enter local market. However, anyone must remember that working in a foreign business environment “…demands careful preparation, the development of an understanding of the cultural mores and rigorous attention to the subtleties of meaning that lurk behind what is actually being said” (Mackenzie, 20).
“Doing Business in New Zealand. ” Kwintessential. CommunicAid Group Ltd. 24 Mar. 2008 < http://www. kwintessential. co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/new-zealand. html >. “Index of Economic Freedom 2008: New Zealand. ” The Heritage Foundation. 2008. 24 Mar. 2008 <http://www. heritage. org/research/features/index/country. cfm? id=NewZealand>. Mackenzie, Rod. “The US and Us. ” NZ Business Oct. 2000: 18-20. Liu, James H, Tim McCreanor, Tracey McIntosh and Teresia Teaiwa, eds. “New Zealand Identities: Departures and Destinations” Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press. 2005. “Staring a Business in New Zealand. ” Immigration New Zealand. 2005. 24 Mar. 2008 <http://www. immigration. govt. nz/migrant/stream/invest/startingabusiness/>.