17 May 2010

Kiwis, Kiwis and Kiwis

When we got back from New Zealand a little over a year ago, we spent a good deal of time making a Shutterfly book of our photos from our ten months there. We really like to show that book to folks who are interested in seeing it. (And most folks are polite enough to at least pretend they are interested, which is very nice of them.) One thing I've encountered, not just in showing people our book, is that a lot of people do not know what a kiwi is.

This is the original kiwi. It's a small, shy, nocturnal, flightless bird. I never saw a live one of these in my time in New Zealand. There are many different breeds, but they have the same essential characteristics, namely that really adorable beak.

A kiwi is also a fruit (often called kiwifruit in New Zealand). It is brown or golden and fuzzy on the outside. The inside is green or golden with black seeds. They are really yummy and rather good for you.

And the thing that surprises people the most is that the people of New Zealand refer to themselves as Kiwis. If you mistake a Kiwi accent with an Aussie accent, the person you are talking to will probably say, "No, mate, I'm a Kiwi, not an Aussie." Okay, maybe they won't say that exactly. But they do refer to themselves as Kiwis. And it's not derogatory. How could it be? Those birds are really cute. And that fruit is really good. You can check out photos of some of my favorite Kiwi people here.

And one more thing. If you encounter something that is rather exclusive to New Zealand, like Pineapple Lumps, or Linley Dodd's Hairy MaClary series, you would describe that as "Kiwiana."


Mariah said...

Your description of Kiwiana cracks me up.

Ana said...

I'm a kiwi Ana that's not kiwiana :P teehee

Angela Noelle of Striking Keys said...

Three comments...all from NZers...you know how to call us out, don't ya?

Jenn said...

Speaking of Kiwiana things, my local grocery store sells Weet Bix (or some other brand's version of them). I think of you every time I see them on the cereal aisle.