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Places that showcase quirky Kiwi humour

They might bemuse tourists, but they tickle us.

1. Ngātea Water Gardens

Immaculate gardens scattered with ducks, ponds and humorous signs, expect a giggle around every corner at Ngātea Water Gardens near Thames. There are dilapidated row boats offering ‘cheap rates’ and fairy tale castles stating: ‘No witches, sorcerers or insurance salesmen’.

2. Thames Bugger Cafe

Thame’s Bugger Café comes with the tagline: Laugh a little. And you will. There’s a tractor out front poised to look as if it’s driven into a ditch, and the interior is brimming with the same dark wit. Don’t miss the toilets (lauded on Tripadvisor) and the ‘Bugger’-branded napkins.

3. Golden Bay puns

To get from Golden Bay to Tākaka, one must venture over the hill that stands in between. Thus explaining The Bay’s catchphrase: ‘It’s just a hill – get over it’.

4. Whangamomona township

Nobody puts Whangamomona in the corner. Which is why this small, sleepy township declared itself a republic in 1988 and elected a goat as president. A poodle and turtle have also run for office with elections taking place every Republic Day. If you miss the election festivities (held biennially in January), you can always pop into Whangamomona Hotel and get your passport ‘officially’ stamped. 

5. Opossum World

Opossum World predominately sells hand-made opossum fur clothes, but tucked away in the back of the store is an elaborate possum emporium. From a stuffed possum choir singing ‘On the Road Again’ by Willie Nelson to scathing possum slogans, its absurdities are worthy of a Taika Waititi film.

6. Palmy refuge

In 2005, UK comedian John Cleese described Palmerston North as ‘a good place to kill yourself’, so the good folk of Palmy retaliated by renaming their local rubbish dump ‘Mt Cleese’, and had the last laugh. Over a comedian. Now that is funny.