Tuesday, February 25, 2020

I can’t go to New Zealand, you might think. How could I travel there while still keeping kosher? Well, this summer I traveled through New Zealand for over a month and successfully kept kosher. It’s not as easy as it is in America or Israel, but, as I found out when hiking over beautiful mountains in the Queen Charlotte Sound, soaking in natural hot pools in Rotorua, and kayaking through gorgeous Lake Taupo, it’s certainly worth the extra effort.

It’s true that there are no kosher restaurants in New Zealand. However, there are two kosher food establishments that you can use to stock up on kosher food.

The first store is Greys Ave Deli, in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, which is home to a quarter of New Zealand’s inhabitants. Grey’s also supplies the food that is served to kosher consumers on the flights to and from New Zealand. Greys is run by the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, an Orthodox organization.

The second shop is called the Kosher Co-op, which is located in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. The establishment is run by members of the Wellington Jewish community.

In both stores, there is not a huge selection of delicacies but there’s enough to get by. These stores are the only places in New Zealand from which to purchase kosher meat because properly shechted meat has to be brought from neighboring Australia. Why? Because New Zealand civil law considers shechting to be inhumane and unnecessarily cruel and therefore do not allow it.

However, for the rest of your grocery needs, you can just waltz into any supermarket and pick up what you need. It’s easy to buy kosher juices, breads, milks, and other dietary staples in every store. While the OU, KOF-K and OK symbols are not present, there are a few Kosher symbols, but they’re almost unrecognizable to the average kosher traveler. Rather, the way to identify kosher foods is with a printable PDF with a list of every single kosher food available in the country. The entity in charge of recognizing kosher foods in New Zealand is the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority. Their website, along with the comprehensive list, can be found at http://www.kosher.co.nz.

In regards to kosher utensils, every hotel, motel, and room for rent that I stayed in has a few glasses. The plates, bowls, forks, knives, and spoons are not kosher so you’ll have to carry your own. The same goes for any pots and pans that you may wish to use.

While it is inconvenient to lug around food and utensils, the rewards of traveling around a beautiful country on the other side of the world more than outweigh whatever hardships may arise.

Personal Bio: Sushi Kaplan is a JLBC intern, an incoming sophomore at Frisch, and a huge sports fan. Check out his sports blog at SushiOnSports.wordpress.com.

By Sushi Kaplan