The same but different

Honesty boxes are sometimes seen in the outer lying suburbs and farming areas, where unattended tables or stalls are set up on the side of the road and are stocked with fresh, home-grown produce or flowers.  The first time we drove passed an “honesty box” I didn’t quite know what it was or how it worked and my immediate thought was “Why is the stall unmanned and who checks that the goods are actually paid for?”  These boxes rely heavily on the honour system, so you take what you need and leave the amount of cash owed in the box at the stall.  From what I’ve heard, this generally works out fine, with people doing the honest thing and paying for what they’ve taken.  Unfortunately there are a few people out there who have abused these boxes and they’re becoming a lot less common than they used to be.


Sadly, something like this would not work in South Africa, even though it would probably benefit a lot of underprivileged people who do try to make a living by growing and selling their excess fruit and vegetables.  Not only would the stall be vandalised and the money box stolen, the whole thing would be stolen; honesty box, product and stall!  It’s common to see someone sitting on the side of the road under the hot, blazing sun, selling their wares in South Africa, as leaving the stall unattended would mean a loss of everything that they own within a matter of minutes!


There are a few things that New Zealand either just don’t have or that they do differently. Like photo developing booths, the self-service ones where you plug in your SD card or flash drive and print your own photos, they don’t have many those here, you might find one at The Warehouse Stationery or the odd pharmacy but they’re not easily found like in South Africa. Smooth cottage cheese is apparently a South African thing, as New Zealand cottage cheese is always chunky (I learnt that the hard way).


Rusks are something given to teething babies, although you can find a box of buttermilk Ouma Rusks in supermarkets International Food aisles but they’re very expensive, so I’ve been making my own.  There’s nothing like dunking a rusk into a mug of coffee on a cold winter’s day!


Shaved turkey was always our cold meat of choice for lunches or picnics, but I haven’t seen that anywhere yet and I’ve checked all the supermarkets. Feta cheese comes in a vacuum packed block, like ordinary cheese, and not in rounds or cubes submersed in brine.

Cooler boxes are called chilly bins, sweets are called lollies and suckers are called lollipops. Fruit and vegetables are something you don’t buy in a supermarket unless you’re prepared to be ripped off. The abbreviated NZ spelling is ‘vege’ and not ‘veg’, and the plural is ‘veges’ and not ‘veggies’ like it would be in SA.  The stand alone fruit & vegetable stores are a lot cheaper, sometimes between $2 and $8, depending on what you’re buying and which grocer you go to!

Passion Produce

When shopping at a supermarket, there are certain brands that are exactly the same but are pronounced differently, e.g.: Maggi is pronounced “Maggie” in SA and “Magi” in NZ, or else the products are marketed under a different name with the same logo, adverts, jingle, etc.  E.g.:  Shield deodorant is Rexona,  Axe deodorant is Lynx, Omo washing powder is Persil (same “dirt is good” tag line too).  Ola ice cream is Streets, Marmite is still called “Marmite” but the bottle looks very different.  I don’t know if it tastes the same as I haven’t tried it, I’ve been eating Vegemite instead!  I haven’t seen “Lays” chips (crisps) here which is odd, as they’re available in so many other countries.  Oh, and red, yellow and green peppers are called Capsicums and aren’t referred to as peppers!