A little understanding will go a long way towards a successful Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup organisers are calling on Kiwis to welcome foreigners in the wake of guidelines issued in Britain on how not to inflame cultural sensitivities during the Olympics.

The Olympic guidelines say "Pom" is a term of endearment for Britons and not an insult, Japanese people smile when agitated and it is rude to "steal the nose" of a South African.

Here in New Zealand, those preparing for next year's Rugby World Cup say there are no plans to put out a similar list and are expecting Kiwis to be perfectly behaved hosts.

Leaflets will be released to encourage all Kiwis to be respectful of the different cultures who will be visiting.

A spokeswoman for NZ2011 - the Government office that is organising the festival associated with the tournament - said last night it was calling on all New Zealanders to be welcoming hosts to all peoples next year.

"Part of that is understanding and respecting other cultures," she said.

"In the lead-up to the tournament, the NZ2011 office will be workingwith communities around thecountry, encouraging everyone tobe great hosts through things like adopt-a-second-team programmes."

That idea will involve people being encouraged to support not only the All Blacks but also another team of their choice, to make international teams feel more welcome.

For example, "sometimes a place that has a lot of immigrants from a certain area - like Italians in Nelson - will adopt that team," said the spokeswoman.

"They might go to that team's games wearing their colours or put on an event to recognise their culture," she said.

About 85,000 people from around the world are expected to be in New Zealand for the World Cup next year, according to Tourism Auckland figures.

Most travellers are expected to come from Australia, England and South Africa.

Those arrivals also include expatriate Kiwis from around the world.

Smaller numbers of visitors are expected to come from Japan, Scotland, France, Wales and Ireland.

CULTURE LESSON
* Japanese tend to smile when angry, embarrassed or sad.
* Placing your thumb between your forefinger and your second finger (as if you were "stealing a nose") is an obscene gesture to a South African.
* Don't call a Brit a "Pom" - it may be taken as an insult.

WHEN IN GODZONE, DON'T ...
* Ask which road leads to Australia.
* Demand "fish and chips" recitals.
* Offer to buy the North Island.
* Beat the All Blacks.

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NZPA