It's hard not to join the critics and label Jill Caldwell and Christopher Brown's new book called '8 Tribes' as banal or simplistic pop sociology. Their attempt to define the 'hidden classes of New Zealand' is clearly more about PR talk than any real intellectual analysis. But, the book is still kind of interesting - you can read about it in the Sunday Star-Time profile on it - and you can take an interesting quiz on the 8 Tribes website to work out which tribes you below to. (Apparently I'm predominantly a Raglanite.)
The book doesn't really help understand NZ society or politics, despite what it's authors say. In the Sunday Star-Times profile, Caldwell and Brown are said to believe that 'Don Brash failed to win the election because he mixed up his tribes'. Likewise, CEO Teresa Gattung and Helen Clark can't get along because they are from different tribes, and 'If each could only try to see the world from the other's tribal viewpoint, they would understand each other better.'
This all sounds more like talkback radio than class analysis. And the fact is that the authors aren't really talking about class at all, and after reading any of the book you wonder what's wrong with understanding New Zealand through more traditional means of class analysis.