I Spent a Day Following WikiHow's Guide to Fun in New Zealand

To be fair, New Zealand is pretty. But if you're not hiking or binge drinking, what the hell is there to do? Luckily there's a whole WikiHow guide on how to have a great day.

by Beatrice Hazlehurst
05 August 2016, 12:00am

A screen grab from Wikihow with a perfectly positioned ad for anxiety tests. Photos by Frances Morton.

New Zealand has a reputation for being pretty bleak. We're so isolated from the rest of the world that you can go a surprisingly long time without seeing another human. To be fair there are some very nice parts of nature—a lot of dead seals and steep hills, which tourists think are pretty cool. But actually they are the absolute worst.

So if you're not bungee jumping or binge drinking, what the hell are you doing in New Zealand? Definitely not having fun, that's for sure. Unless you've been lucky enough to stumble across this step-by-step guide on how to have fun as a teenager in New Zealand. Thank you WikiHow, God's gift to the unimaginative.

Admittedly, I've hit my 20s, but even I find myself wondering way too often how someone is meant to have a good time in NZ. So to achieve maximum PG fun, I decided to do as many of the suggestions as possible in a single day.

1. Indoor Life

It doesn't get much more fun than The Block NZ: Unlocked.

The guide's first recommendation is to watch some "good quality TV." While opening a how-to with TV doesn't indicate a day of fun ahead, it's even less comforting to be told that "scrutiny" is required to find anything worth watching in New Zealand. Unfortunately, our TV only has Netflix. To counteract the danger of becoming addicted to many ubiquitous imported shows, I picked up a TV Guide as suggested and circled a couple of local goodies.

I have no idea which serial killer is attacking Shortland Street, but with cutting-edge dialogue like "stuff off" it's guaranteed to be non-stop fun. There also seems to be a lot of shows about building houses. Despite the fact no one can afford one. What the comedic antics of hot people hammering things reminds me is how incapable I am of constructing anything with my bare hands, which is a fact I rely on for a lot of self-deprecating humour. God forbid anyone be good at anything, otherwise no one would have any friends—or have any fun—in New Zealand.

2. Take Up an Indoor Hobby

Georgia learning about fun.

Next up, the guide recommends "painting pictures, ceramics, model soldiers or cars, doll faces, your friends' faces, whatever!"

There were surprisingly few dolls are the VICE office to paint on but I did have the face of my colleague, Georgia. Ironically, as a teenager I actually used to make a killing in face paint game in my hometown. So, in the spirit of New Zealand I settled on painting our national emblem, the kiwi. Also, fun fact: as a nocturnal, flightless bird, the kiwi is the most boring of our native species. Another also, Georgia was really not into it, which didn't make the process very fun.

3. Weave Some Flax

Me having a riot with a flax crown.

"Make all sorts of amazing things from flax, from baskets and hats to toys and jewellery," cooes WikiHow. I couldn't wait to get started.

Flax weaving is both an extremely difficult and specific suggestion. I plaited then stapled it into this sort of crown situation. It's accessory I may save for summer festival season.

4. Learn a New Language

It's super fun being bilingual.

The next indoor recommendation is "Learn a New Language." I put my high school Spanish to the test with a translated version of Nietzsche's banger The Antichrist. It occurs to me the advice is dangerously close to helping people leave New Zealand, which shouldn't be the plan, WikiHow, you can't make me leave.

5. Learn to Budget

Leaving New Zealand is pricey, but it will make New Zealand more fun.

WikiHow's budgeting proposal is just straight up trying to get me the fuck out of New Zealand. Why else do people budget, if not to leave? However, my job here is not to judge but to blindly trust the system. Just to see how realistic a trip to Fiji or the "famous Kiwi OE" is, I tallied my expenses and made it rain.

6. Go Tramping

Wholesome, Instagram-worthy fun

Do you like carrying all your belongings on your back like a donkey? Perhaps you enjoy walking uphill so that you become too puffed to talk to the friends. Would you eat almost ANYTHING dehydrated just to get a sweet, sweaty Instagram in a waterfall or on top of a cliff? Then tramping is definitely a way for you to have fun in New Zealand. When going off route in a bushy part of a local park, I made sure to bring my editor with me to shoot photographs in #followmeto style. It was kind of fun, vaguely romantic, and definitely gram-able.

7. Take up a New Sport

Too much fun at the skate park.

That's me sitting at the top of a ramp at a local skate park, while some dude almost gets sweet air. In this photo I'm telling myself I look like I'm shooting a cover for an upcoming EP, even if I look more "ramp tramp," that girl you grew up with who didn't skate but spent hours watching boys who did.

I'm not having a lot of fun really. I'm not "chatting, sharing in a hobby, or coming up with ideas for a new business," as WikiHow suggests. Instead I'm squinting forlornly into the sun and considering high-fiving someone on the way out. Do I do it? No way.

8. Go Swimming

"This is so fun I want to die."

It's the middle of winter and I don't want to do this, but I must, so I call a friend to see if she'll let me swim in her pool. Our conversation went like this:

"Hey I know this is really weird but can I swim in your pool while you take photos of me?"

"Yeah of course! Is this for a new DP?"

Disturbingly, Emma thought I would be so committed to a new Facebook profile picture that I'd call her on a Tuesday in the middle of winter to have a photoshoot in her pool. It was so, so cold and very little fun. I would go so far as to say fun less than just being bored in New Zealand. It's so cold that I instantly get out after having the photo taken.

So there you have it! Some highly stereotyped and largely strenuous suggestions paving your way to a great time. You may be a little alarmed at the dark portrait this manual paints of life in NZ, but take it from me, handy hints to stay alive when participating in activities that may include hypothermia, open water, and imported TV are always appreciated. At least if you're ever at risk of drowning, you can weave yourself a flax-raft and sail out of here. You may not even need to budget.

Have fun out there!

Beatrice is fun, follow her onTwitter.

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