The Chatham Islands wave and why it's important

If you're ever thinking of visiting Rekohu - the Chatham Islands - there's something you really need to know.

Driving across the vast wilderness of the Chatham Islands can be a lonely experience, with more cows and weka than people. But every now and again, you stumble across someone - and that's when protocol matters.

It's a local road rule, and unlike on the mainland, it's not something you can waive.

Visitors are told when you drive past a local, it's considered common courtesy to wave to say hello. 

"Everyone has a different style, but mine's just lift the hand up," one person says.

"I tend to go for the standard full mitt really," another adds.

But which wave works best? Newshub decided to see for ourselves.

Most of the time, locals will respond with a wave of their own - and depending on that wave, you'll know where you stand.

"There are some weird ones out there. The younger ones do a little flick like this," one person demonstrates.

The tricky bit is when you head back to the mainland.

"You're sitting in a street and you start waving to people and then you think, 'oh, everyone probably thinks I'm a little bit crazy' - haha. It's a lovely custom and I hope we never lose it," one local chuckles.

I'll wave to that.