Every country has fans who can't support their team without hating their rivals.
It's depressing to learn that some Australian fans who attended the Ireland-Wallabies Rugby World Cup game at Eden Park last weekend were subjected to abuse and boorishness. Depressing, but not surprising.
There's a strong, sometimes abrasive sporting rivalry between the two countries which has taken on an extra dimension this year because the Wallabies (on their good days) look capable of spoiling our party.
Then there's the Quade Cooper factor. You can't help but think Cooper has been poorly advised: his equivocal comments about his running battle with Richie McCaw and apparent eagerness to embrace his Public Enemy Number 1 status have added fuel to a fire that might otherwise have burnt itself out.
But no matter how much we relish beating the Aussies and whatever we may think of Cooper, the vast majority of New Zealanders would no sooner spit on a Wallabies fan than throw a rock at a koala.
There is, however, an ugly element in our sporting culture and some of our guests have had the misfortune to encounter it.
Here is former All Black Norm Hewitt, not many people's idea of a delicate flower, discussing the crowd at the ground formerly known as Lancaster Park: "The kids swear at you with their parents looking on - the number of times I was told to 'f*** off' or called a drunk while waiting to throw the ball in was amazing. If the Jerry Springer Show is ever looking for any foul-mouthed screamers, they should trawl the terraces."
Wherever I sat the last time I went to an Australia-New Zealand one-day cricket international at Westpac Stadium - and I changed seats several times - I found myself within jarring earshot of some moron chanting "Brett Lee is a wanker". The fact that it was a transtasman echo of the taunt Richard Hadlee had to put up with for much of his career didn't make it any less excruciating.
Sport brings out the worst in some people. Every country has a fringe of fans who are bad losers and insufferable winners and who can't support their team without hating the opposition. Most countries also have their share of people who should be avoided at all costs when they've had too much to drink.
It would be as preposterous for us to deny that we have our fair share of such people, as it would be for Australians to insist that we have a monopoly on them.
I was at the Sydney Cricket Ground for Shane Warne's comeback test following his year-long suspension for taking a banned substance. As he was being accorded a rapturous reception, an Australian friend suggested to some compatriots that perhaps they should tone down the adulation given that Warnie had disgraced the baggy green cap. He duly received a barrage of the homophobic abuse which seems to be the sports oaf's weapon of choice.
Yes, it is incumbent on New Zealanders as tournament hosts to welcome all visiting fans, but did last weekend's events really warrant the Sydney Morning Herald headline 'Kiwi hate vibe is marring World Cup'.
The SMH's justification would probably be that the story provoked robust debate. Among the 360 responses, there were plenty from Kiwis living in Australia along the lines of "now you know what we have to put up with" and a fair few from Australians encouraging their compatriots either to take a look in the mirror or grow up.
But, depressingly, most of the respondents were ready to endorse a cartoonish stereotype of Kiwis as embittered proles and ascribe far-reaching significance to a localised outbreak of boorishness.
One of the benefits of living in - as opposed to visiting - other countries is that your first impressions get put to the test of time.
On my first day as an Australian resident, I was sitting in a pub on Sydney's salubrious inner north shore when a fight broke out. When the dust cleared, the vanquished lay semi-conscious and ignored on the floor while those wanting to shake the victor's hand had formed a queue.
Over the next 11 years I became well acquainted with the Sydney pub scene. I didn't see another punch.
If my experience of Sydney was confined to that first weekend, I might have spent the ensuing years advising people travelling to Australia not to leave home without their mouthguards. I'd like to think, though, that I would've resisted the temptation to construct a negative stereotype on such flimsy evidence.