Kiwiana' (pronounced: Kee-wee-ahh-na) is the term used to describe items relating to New Zealand’s unique culture and history. Here are some notable items of Kiwiana you will probably encounter on your trip to New Zealand.
This bizarre flightless, nocturnal bird is a New Zealand Kiwiana icon – New Zealanders even take their nickname from the little critter! Seldom seen in the wild – they’re very shy and only come out at night.
Worn by many sports teams – including the world-famous All Blacks – the silver fern emblem is proudly flown at sporting events all over the world. Inspired by New Zealand indigenous ferns, the silver fern was first worn by the New Zealand Native Rugby Team on their 1888 tour of Britain.
A popular children’s toy, the Buzzy Bee has been entertaining New Zealand youngsters since the 1940s. With wings that turn and make a clicking noise, it's a hit with kids everywhere and a definite inclusion in the Kiwiana Hall of Fame!
Short for 'Lemon and Paeroa', L&P is New Zealand’s very own iconic soft drink. Originally made using spring water from the North Island town of Paeroa, the origins of its name are obvious. Be sure to visit the giant L&P bottle in Paeroa – Kiwiana at its best!
Fish & Chips
You can’t get more Kiwi than Fish ‘n’ Chips – deep fried potato chips with battered fish. Costing next to nothing, and found in every New Zealand town – the corner Fish ‘n’ Chip shop is a New Zealand institution.
New Zealand’s national sport, to some Kiwis rugby is a kind of religion! If you’re not familiar with the game, then a group of burly lads chasing an oval-shaped ball around a field might seem rather strange – but entertaining nonetheless. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the game, you will no doubt be familiar with the All Blacks – the hugely successful national team.
Attend any sporting function and you will see that New Zealanders have an affinity with the colour black. Originally worn by the All Blacks, black has become the colour of New Zealand sportspeople.
Favoured summertime footwear for most New Zealanders, the humble jandal (known to Aussies as 'thongs' and North Americans as 'flip-flops') is an important part of any Kiwi wardrobe. Available in a range of colours, the jandal can be worn just about anywhere – from the beach to the pub!
Also known as Abalone, Paua shell is used by Maori in carving and jewellery. Pretty purple, aqua, green and blue tones make it popular with jewellery artists and craftspeople.
The 'New Zealand Christmas Tree', these beautiful trees burst into scarlet-red splendour over the Christmas period. Belonging to the Metrosideros excelsa family, they are commonly found along the coast – perfect shade from that hot summer sun!
Only a New Zealander could turn jumping off a bridge into a world-wide phenomenon! Inspired by a ritual performed in Vanuatu, Queenstown entrepreneur AJ Hackett is responsible for bringing Bungy to the world.
New Zealand has a human population of just over 4 million, and a sheep population of almost 40 million! The back bone of the New Zealand economy for over a century, sheep were first introduced by English settlers in the 19th century.
This tasty yeast spread may be an acquired taste for most non-New Zealanders – but you’re bound to find Marmite (or the Australian-made rival, Vegemite) in the pantry of most New Zealand households. And yes, ours does taste different to Northern Hemisphere Marmite!
Originally known as Chinese gooseberries, kiwifruit were first introduced to the country by early settlers. Since then they have become synonymous with New Zealand, and are a major export earner.
This meringue-based dessert is a perennial Kiwiana favourite. Named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, the origins of this delicious dessert are hotly contested (Australia also lays claim to inventing it) – but any New Zealander will tell you the 'Pav' is definitely a Kiwi invention!
The ultimate summer pastime, BBQs herald the start of summer. Traditionally the domain of men, on any given summer night you’ll find a collection of blokes, beer-in-hand, standing around the obligatory backyard BBQ. Traditionally only sausages and steak were thrown on the hot plate, but these days seafood, kebabs, and even the occasional vegetable are making their way on to the BBQ menu.
Synonymous with tuck shops, truck stops and cafeterias all over the country, the meat pie is a Kiwi culinary tradition. Available in a range of delectable flavours: chicken, mince, steak and cheese – and sometimes even vegetarian - they're especially enjoyed with a good smothering of Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)!
Traditional footwear of farmers everywhere, gumboots (or 'Wellingtons' to our international audience) are a tried and true piece of Kiwi attire. Though black is the preferred colour, gumboots come in a range of colours to suit any taste!
Hokey Pokey ice cream is a perennial Kiwi favourite. Small pieces of crunchy toffee (hokey-pokey) are added to vanilla ice cream to create this popular treat. Best enjoyed melting down the sides of a waffle cone on a hot summer's day!
Netball is the female answer to rugby, and is the second most popular sport in New Zealand. A fast-paced court sport, New Zealand’s national team – the Silver Ferns - are often ranked first in the world.
'Bach' is the Kiwi colloquial term for 'summer house'. Traditionally a bach will possess minimal facilities, be situated near a beach or lake, and remain in the family for generations.
New Zealand’s answer to the country fair, A & P (Agricultural and Pastoral) Shows are held all over the country throughout the summer. Showcasing rural livestock, innovations, art, craft, baking and produce, A & P Shows represent the best in rural New Zealand. Popular family events, most shows include equestrian events, sideshows, and the obligatory candy-floss (Cotton Candy) stall.