A New Zealand Style Sweet 16 – Shopping, Pizza and Ice Cream

As a girl growing up in the suburbs of Chicago my Sweet 16 party was a milestone. Here in New Zealand, 16 is just another birthday.

In the states, at least in the town where I grew up, the gifts were huge too. Some of the kids even got a car. Here in New Zealand, it’s just another birthday.

My baby turned sweet 16 yesterday. Hard to believe time goes by so fast.

Even she looks surprised.

Sweet 16 birthday

Actually, it is the pizza that has her so excited. Like the rest of the family, she is thrilled to find a New York pizza in Auckland. It’s beyond belief that we have been whining about New Zealand pizza for 10 years, only to discover great pizza exists only a short drive away.

Big thanks to Ellen of The Cynical Sailor and his Salty Sidekick for telling us about Sals Authentic New York Pizza. We had hoped to meet her there, but birthday pizza took priority. And it is awesome. Check out our vegetarian pizza. As you can see it is huge (especially by New Zealand standards), loaded with fresh toppings and very American in its flavor. Sal’s even has Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, and red peppers to sprinkle on top.

It even looks like a New York pizzeria. Hubby grew up in New York, I was there for the first time (except for a quick trip to a conference in High School) last July, so now I am an expert (just kidding).

Sals pizza for sweet 16

So, the question is, did I do the American thing and make a big fuss, or did I treat it like just another birthday?  The answer is both, amazing pizza is a big deal.

Did she really get a car?

You tell me:

Sweet 16

At least she didn’t get stuck this time.

Does your family have big Sweet 16 parties? What’s your favorite pizza? Did you get a car for your 16th birthday?

Submitted to Silly Sunday at Comedy Plus

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose here. We paid full price for our pizza, and car ride.

Pohutukawa, The Kiwi Christmas Tree
Photo Highlights 2013 (New Zealand, Alaska, and More)
About Rhonda Albom

When I met my hubby he was looking for a traveling companion. Together we have moved to New Zealand and visited over 42 countries, most with our now teenage girls. Things rarely go as planned, and generally we have an amusing tale to tell. That's what Laugh Quotes is about - the fun side of our adventures and our expat life.


  1. Happy birthday Melissa, you’re becoming so mature! I’m glad that even though you’ve become a lovely young woman, you still have adventures and fun.

  2. Hi Rhonda – congratulations to your ‘baby’ Melissa on reaching 16 tender years .. those were the days! The Pizza looks very delicious .. enjoy the birthday festive end to the year .. cheers Hilary

  3. Happy Birthday to Melissa …looks like she had a brilliant time that pizza looked delicious and huge heheh!

    I don’t think you got her a car but I’m sure she was just as happy with the Pizza :mrgreen:

    Our big parties here are usually when someone turns 21 (which I do in February) :-)

    Have a pizzatastic week ahead ;-)

    • Thanks Steve. The pizza was huge, just like the ones we had in New York. I am pretty sure she would rather have a car than a pizza. Will you be getting pizza for your big birthday? BTW- 21 is the big one here as well.

  4. The pizza looks super awesome Rhonda. I hope she gets many miles/kilometres outta that car. Nice shiny red…

  5. I would miss real pizza living there! Glad you finally found some authentic New York style.
    I didn’t get a car for my birthday. I had to buy my own in high school.

    • Pizza and Mexican food, those are the two I miss the most. Or should I say missed – finally, we found great pizza. Sorry, you didn’t get a car :( I didn’t either, but some of the kids I grew up with did.

  6. How fun and everyone loves a great pizza.

    Our family doesn’t have sweet 16 parties.

    My favorite pizza is pepperoni and mushroom.

    I didn’t get a car when I was 16 either.

    Have a fabulous Silly Sunday. :)

  7. No car. I don’t remember but, we were so poor then that my birthday may have been skipped.

    For my kids birthdays we always did something nice and it included all of Carol’s relatives and many friends. We always made a big deal out of it. No cars but, lots of attention and fun.

    That pizza looked good. A little sausage would make it perfect.

  8. Vegetarian pizza – nom, nom!

    I didn’t even get my driver’s license until I was out of high school, so obviously I didn’t get at car for my sweet 16.

  9. Sixteen was never a big deal in our neck of the woods. Maybe it’s a Skokie thing.


  10. Happy belated Sweet Sixteen to Melissa! That pizza looks delicious! Happy New Year to you, and your family, Rhonda!

  11. What a great way to spend your sweet sixteen! I hope she enjoyed the pizza and had a wonderful birthday. You’ll have to call to order one for delivery of pick-up sometime as they guy who answers the phone and takes the order has such a great American accent you might almost believe you’re back in NY! Happy New Year to you and your family.

  12. Lisa Ross says:

    belated happy birthday Melissa I can’t believe you’re 16! :-)
    No sweet 16 parties in my upbringing. 21 is the biggie.
    Favourite pizza: vegetarian :-)
    No way did I get a car for my 16th, but I did get my sister’s hand me down car when I was 19

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