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National Stereo Types / Oceania

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General Stereotypes

  • Oceania is usually the "overlooked" continent. While other continents are continuously in the news for various reasons Oceania barely makes the headlines overseas. This leads to the impression that it is essentially nothing more than a quiet, peaceful holiday destination.
    • It doesn't help that by various definitions, Oceania isn't a "real" continent.
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  • Australia and New Zealand are usually the only Oceanic countries foreigners can summarize. The other 12 are rarely ever mentioned in fiction, save for Papua New Guinea (see below).
  • Australia and New Zealand claim the other country is having sex with sheep. All we know is that the sheep are sluts.
  • Australia and New Zealand may appear to argue a lot, but mess with one, you've got ''two'' very PO'ed countries to deal with. The ANZACs - it's Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, not one or the other.


  • See Land Down Under for the primary page on stereotypes of Australia.
  • For starters, you can't talk about Australia before mentioning at least once that Kangaroos Represent Australia. These animals are practically synonymous with the entire country. Thus in popular culture they will often be seen jumping around everywhere, even in suburban communities. Needless to say that kangaroos mostly live in the wild.
  • One of the most persistent stereotypical ideas about Australia is that its capital is thought to be Sydney. It's actually Canberra.
    • When in Sydney, always make sure that Australia's most famous monument, the Opera House, is in frame. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also essential.
    • Expect references made to the fact that the center of the country is literally and figure of speech deserted. You can travel for miles without meeting a human being. No wonder the car crashes and chases in Mad Max were so easy to make without police interfering. This also makes the country ideal for road movies, like the earlier mentioned "Mad Max", The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Walkabout ...
    • Some scenes taking place at a beach with surfers, blonde bathing suit wearing babes and sharks making a cameo appearance are not uncommon.
    • And, of course, a visit to Ayers Rock/Uluru is also mandatory.
  • Awesome Aussie: Australians are always stereotyped as white, blond, six feet tall, rough, unsophisticated, wildlife experts, bushwackers and obsessive beer drinkers. They wear a khaki shirt, short pants and a large cowboy-style hat with corks hanging from it. Their most priceless possession is a boomerang and/or a large knife. If not trying to catch crocodiles they will be barbecueing, surfing or playing the didgeridoo.
    • Stock expressions are "Crikey", "G'day, mate", "Pommie bastard", "That's bonzer, mate", "Crack a tinnie" and "Put another shrimp on the barbie" (despite the term prawn being used for shrimp in Australia).note 
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    • Most of these stereotypes are based on images reflected in Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Hunter, Mad Max and the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Bruces", where where all Australians are named Bruce.
    • Australian accents are often imitated badly in popular culture, being a weird Kiwi/Pom cross or something closer to a stereotypical South African accent.
  • Australian Aborigines are stereotyped as nomadic tribesman who live off the land. They are generally portrayed as hospitable. In popular culture the men will always have beards. Also expect them to walk around in red loincloths and covered in bodypaint, while most Aboriginals nowadays wear the same casual clothing their fellow white Australians do.
    • In the modern day, due to significant problems with unemployment and alcoholism within Aboriginal communities, a stereotype of Aboriginals as drunken layabouts exists among white Australians (see their useful notes page for more information).
  • In the 19th century the United Kingdom sent some of their convicts to Australia to work in forced labor in penal colonies. This has lead to the idea that Australians are all convicts, or have at least inherited the worst aspects of their convict ancestors.
  • New Zealanders seem to think of Australians as good-hearted but lazy. Public holidays are serious business.
  • An unfortunate sporting stereotype developed in recent years is of Australians as very sore losers who can dish out banter when they're on top, but can't take it when it comes back on them - from a Kiwi or British POV. In context, all three nations share a good deal of banter regarding sporting achievement, and for years Australia always shone in most events that the countries compete in together. This resulted in "pommy/kiwi-bashing", crowing and arrogant chat about the opposition's poor performance. However, as the tide has turned, with England as current holders of The Ashes and an uncharacteristically shocking performance by Aussies at the 2012 Olympics versus both rivals, rather than accepting the banter that they are now on the receiving end of, Aussies stand accused of a highly un-sporting lack of humility and much self-pity.
    • Some Australian media at the 2012 Olympics decided to claim New Zealand's medals (like everything else) by lumping them together with Australia's and publishing the count as "Oceania" or "Aus Zealand".
  • In (beat em' up) videogames, Australians are mostly depicted as hulking bruisers, with examples including Kano from Mortal Kombat, Craig Marduk from Tekken, Raiden/Big Bear from The King of Fighters (complete with Ayers Rock/Uluru home-stage) and shark-wrestling fisherman Jeffry McWild from Virtua Fighter. Rocker zombie Lord Raptor, of Darkstalkers fame, provides a variation, and is perhaps inspired by home-grown supergroup AC/DC. Then, there's also Saxton Hale...
  • Stereotypes within Australia:
    • Northern Territorians are troppo.
    • Tasmania is not considered to be part of Australia and all its citizens are inbred.
    • Queenslanders are redneck banana-benders.
    • South Australians are all gay.
    • Adelaide is boring and its citizens eat crows.
    • Sydney's the gay capital and/or "the city of brides".
    • Perth is 10 years and 3 hours behind Sydney.
  • Thanks to Neighbours and Home and Away" Australia also has a reputation for soap operas.
  • And thanks to Ozploitation Australian movies are often thought to be explicitly violent action movies sent in deserted Australian backlands with lots of gratuitous nudity.
  • On a lighter note, Australians have a reputation for having a pranky streak, gleefully trolling foreigners and hapless tourists alike (here's some examples). One favourite way of doing so involves describing some of the wacky wildlife present down under, usually in comically exaggerated ways.

New Zealand

  • New Zealanders are usually portrayed as being Māori. Usually the Māori sticks out his tongue or makes ugly faces.
  • White New Zealanders are rural farmers, rugby players, horse racers or workmen who have a gift for solving every kind of problem. Supposedly a Kiwi man can do anything with Number 8 wire.
  • Characters who visit the country will always encounter New Zealand's national birds, the kiwi. The animal has become a national symbol in New Zealand and New Zealanders are often nicknamed "kiwis" as a result. This is despite the fact that many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi, especially not in the wild—they are both very shy and very rare.
  • New Zealanders are often depicted (mostly in either New Zealand or other Commonwealth nations) as obsessive world travelers and backpackers, getting absolutely anywhere armed with backpack and travel guide. This comes from the New Zealandian trend of going abroad for a year or two after finishing university. They're also champion mountain climbers/trampers (aka hikers).
  • They are supposedly interested solely in the three Rs: Rugby, Racing, and beeR. Rugby and beer are still popular, but racing has declined in popularity.
  • New Zealand women are depicted as being more independent and somewhat ugly (epitomized in former Prime Minister Helen Clark). New Zealand was the first nation to permanently give women the vote, and at one point all high-level government positions were filled by women.
  • Very few people will recognise a New Zealander unless told; some jokes will probably be made about the bizarre-sounding (to foreigners) accent, including pronouncing short E's (as in dress) as short I's (as in kit) and short I's as schwas (the A in comma), and attempts at guessing their background will vary from British to Australian.note 
  • Invariably, a joke will be made about the number of sheep in the country being greater than the number of people. Sheep in New Zealand outnumber humans by seven-to-one.note 
  • Their alleged fondness for sheep tends to be the most common point of mockery.
  • More recently, New Zealand has become famous through its association with the The Lord of the Rings movie, making people think of it as being one big film set.
    • Foreigners also think New Zealand has a sizable population of 3ft 6in (1.07 cm) tall people. This is partially true, but New Zealanders call them five-year-olds.
  • Due to their performance in various 20th and 21st century wars (especially WWI and Vietnam), ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand forces) are typically depicted as badass soldiers.
  • Within New Zealand:
    • Aucklanders see the rest of New Zealand as rural, unsophisticated, and backwards. Meanwhile, the rest of New Zealand sees Aucklanders as brash, arrogant, latte-sipping people, living in houses with million-dollar price tags.
    • Dunedin is seen as full of poor students (who are always partying and "getting on the piss") and Scots.
    • Wellington is thought to be populated by hipsters. Not to mention that the city is constantly in the grip of a gale north-westerly.
    • Cantabrians are stereotyped as conservative - religious (at least compared to the rest of the country) and slightly racist. They take rugby seriously, even by New Zealand standards. They also earned the status of Iron Woobie after the Christchurch earthquakes.
    • When Aucklanders aren't the butt of the joke, Hamiltonians fill the role as residents of a (supposedly) hopelessly boring city where nothing exciting happens, except maybe outbreaks of STDs.

Papua New Guinea

  • Despite being one of the most heterogeneous nations in the world with hundreds of ethnic groups present in the country most people see it as a country full of black Papuans living in tribes. They all wear grass skirts, feathers and leaves and rejoice in cannibalism. Another pastime is body painting and/or tattooing.
  • The entire country consists of nothing more than a bunch of volcanoes, coral reefs, beaches and impenetrable tropical rainforests.
  • A negative association with Papua New Guinea is its sexual violence towards women and children. (Gang) rape and sexual abuse of minors are rampant.


  • A bunch of tropical islands full with primitive tribal communities who are a mix of Māori and Papua stereotypes. Palm trees are present with coconuts falling on your head. Tattoos are popular. All women have long black hair and wear a flower in it. Local people will be dancing Hula and Luaus. Despite being a subregion of Oceania many of the individual isles are (former) colonies, part of other countries in Asia, South America, North America or Europe.
  • Some isles you might have heard from: Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tahiti, the Solomon Isles, the Cook Isles, the Marshall Isles (known for the Bikini atoll, which inspired the bikini clothing piece) and the Easter Island. Apart from the Easter Island, best known for its huge Moai statues, most people wouldn't be able to name one specifically unique thing about these isles.
  • Expect savage and intimidating wrestlers to come from here. Most of them will be Samoan, while the rest will be Tongan.
  • The place is known for tranquility and a simple trouble free atmosphere. Everyone lives close to nature, drinks coconut milk, goes swimming, sails by pirogue and enjoys the fact that the world doesn't seem bigger than the isle itself. Yet it's not always that peaceful: hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earth quakes are not uncommon problems. Also, the atolls are a frequent target for nuclear tests.
  • Apart from that it's best known for famous Americans and Europeans who paid a visit to the region or lived there for several years: explorers (Jacob Roggeveen, James Cook and Thor Heyerdahl), anthropologists (Margaret Mead) and cultural icons (Paul Gauguin, Jacques Brel, Marlon Brando,...).

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