Funky Signs: No Standing on the Toilet Seat

STAFF, FUNKY SIGNS, NEW ZEALAND — By on October 17, 2011 at 01:17

Story by staff writer JM Merchant. Photos Copyright © Joanna Abram.

MATAMATA IS A peaceful little Kiwi town not far from the city of Hamilton. At least it was peaceful, until March 1999 when tons of heavy machinery moved in to transform the surrounding farmlands into The Shire. Yes, the Bagginses come from Matamata, New Zealand, now affectionately known as Hobbiton.

No Standing on the Toilet Seat

No Standing on the Toilet Seat

As you can imagine, since then it’s become something of a tourist hotspot. The local council were baffled to discover that toilet seats in the public ladies bathrooms were breaking on a regular basis. They soon found out why. Korean ladies do not like toilet seats (when I came through Korea on my way to NZ, the seats in the airport toilets were wrapped in plastic which was replaced after every use!), but rather than hover—as I’m sure more than a few of us have had to do in our time—they were standing on the seats and squatting. This lead to the rather delightful signs that you now see in many of the public bathrooms around Matamata. No idea if it’s helped at all.


Guest blogger JM Merchant

JM Merchant

JM Merchant (or Jo Abram to most) lives in the North End of London, although she aspires to the West End. An occasionally employed sound engineer and stage manager, most of her time is currently spent reading pirate tales as she works on her first novel. She blogs and posts short stories at Am I A Writer Yet? and tweets as @JMMerchant86.



  • Samantha says:

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing some bathroom culture with us 🙂

  • JM Merchant says:

    Isn’t it strange the little quirks some cultures have 🙂
    Glad you enjoyed Samantha, thanks for reading.

  • So funny to see these kinds of differences country to country — it always makes me think about how visitors to the USA react to what must seem like a constant stream of odd signs and expressions. I guess it proves that it’s all about what you’re used to!

    • JM Merchant says:

      The locals still find it amusing, our bus driver was the one who told us to keep an eye out for these signs.

      Can’t think if we’ve got any amusing signs here in the UK, but as you say, it’s what you’re used to so I might be missing them 🙂

  • betsyv says:

    LOL! This is so funny.
    Man they must have great balance. I have a hard enough time when I have to hover.
    The only time I ever stood on a toilet seat, was when I was in high school and I didn’t want to get caught smoking in the bathroom. It’s been many MANY years since I did either. I guess that makes me OLD! LOL.
    Cute article. Thanks!

  • Ann says:

    Wow – it’s amazing how different cultures are! ….and that is a FUNNY sign! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jade says:

    Hmmm…number 2 could be interesting (: