Uniquely Kiwi

My list of 52 Kiwi Things

(Why 52? 52 weeks in a year, 1 for each week 🙂

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Milford Sound, New Zealand

I have a love affair with New Zealand. Some of my closest friends live there which will always make it special! My husband and I lived there on a working holiday shortly after we were married for 6 months+, and those experiences and memories are deeply ingrained in our relationship. We will start laughing randomly sometimes when we think of the fun we had. New Zealand was also the first international destination we took our daughter when she was 18 months old which adds to its sentimental value. I have made several entry posts about visiting New Zealand that can be found here, (Queenstown, Wanaka, Cambridge, Waiheke Island, Bay of Islands) but today I wanted to take a moment to write a list of things that are unique kiwi and take a trip down memory lane. And take the opportunity to announce that I will feature a guest blog post by my beautiful Kiwi friend, Erin, in a few weeks! She has a little boy and has been jet setting with him!

New Zealander’s have such a beautiful culture! The Maori history of NZ shapes the countries’ culture, and is deeply intertwined with many ideas and practices being borrowed across ethnicities. The culture is worry free, vibrant, and hospitable!

1.) Sweet As: The kiwi slogan that sums up kiwi lifestyle, and that I have heard every kiwi person I know say. Plus you can find sweet as printed on tons of tourist T shirts. 🙂 My daughter and husband have matching ones 🙂 The T shirt defines it as “I am confirming that what you are proposing is good by me” but I find kiwis also use this phrase interchangeably with how we use the word awesome.

2.) Kumara: The kiwi word for sweet potatoes. It took me forever to figure this out in the grocery store. 🙂

3.) Trundle: The kiwi word for a shopping cart or buggy!

4.) ButterNew Zealand butter is sold in block form not sticks like Americans are used to. I didn’t really realize why this would be confusing for Kiwis until my friend, Erin and I were sitting in the movie theater. The American movie “The Women” was showing in the theater, and there is a scene where Meg Ryan takes a stick of butter out of the refrigerator and starts eating it. Erin leaned over and asked what it was. She didn’t recognize it was butter! But let me just say their butter is amazing! All of their cows are grass fed, and they make amazing butter!

5.) The Buzzy Bee: This native New Zealand toy is iconic! It is a pull toy on a string, and the little bee’s wings rotate and click. A picture of my daughter’s buzzy bee:


5.) Hangi: Maoris traditionally cooked in the ground in dug out holes called hangis. Hot stones are placed in the dug out oven, and food is wrapped in cabbage leaves or cloth and placed in wire baskets then covered with wet cloths and covered in the earth and steamed for hours! When our friends hosted a hangi for us it was an all day event. Vegetables had to be cleaned, peeled, wrapped. The hole dug, stones heated, food cooked, etc. It was quite the honor to have this hosted for us, and a very special memory we cherish!

New Zealand Hangi
New Zealand Hangi prepared by our friends! 🙂

6.) No tipping: You don’t tip in New Zealand. I was a waitress while I was in New Zealand as well for a fantastic award winning restaurant called FOOD at Wharepuke!

7.) Tax is included: New Zealand has GST which is a goods & service tax, but it is already included in the price. The price on the tag is what you pay. The price of the groceries is what you pay! I like that! Keeps things simple!

8.) College: Means high school to New Zealanders while university means the equivalent of USA college.

9.) Weetbix: New Zealand’s #1 breakfast cereal! I can only describe it as our shredded wheat cereal.

10.) L & P Soda: New Zealand’s soft drink. Lemon fizz is the only way I can really describe it. It is now owned and marketed by Coca Cola!

11.) Rubbish Costs: Rubbish is how kiwi’s refer to garbage, and you must pay for your rubbish bags. Prepaid rubbish bags are sold in the stores (they were green when we bought them), and your trash must be bagged in these paid bags for it to be picked up. Recycle bags are cheaper than rubbish bags. A great way to encourage recycling!

12.) Lollies: How kiwis say candy!

13.) Metric system: Like the rest of the world, kiwis use the metric system. KGS instead of LBS. I forgot about this and at the grocery ordered 1 LB of deli meat. I got 1 Kilo which is about 2.2 LBS. I had a lot of meat for 2 people!

14.) Left side of the road: They drive on the left! And they love them some round abouts!

New Zealand Car
Our “sweet as” car in NZ

15.) Celsius: C not Fahrenheit! I also forgot this one day, and set my oven to 350 C. Should have been 180 C ! I definitely burnt the chicken!

16.) Grass Fed Beef: Almost all beef in NZ is grass fed due to their abundant grazing pasturage! Even McDonald’s uses 100% New Zealand grass fed beef! It was amazing!

17.) Lamb & Mutton: There is an abundance of sheep in New Zealand. Currently there is about a 6 to 1 ratio of sheep to human. Kiwis make an amazing cooked lamb with mint.   Mutton: They eat older sheep too!

New Zealand Sheep
Visiting with New Zealand Sheep

18.) Gorgeous: An adjective used to describe food that is delicious  “The chicken is gorgeous”

19.) Partners: People in relationships refer to their significant other as a “partner” even if you are married which I always found very confusing!

20.) Alcohol: Drinking age is 18!

21.) Taking off your shoes: It is considered rude to leave your shoes on when entering a person’s home. You always take your shoes off and leave them at the door! At least that was my experience; I know from Real Housewives of Auckland they don’t all adhere to this motto.

22.) Tea Time: Kiwis love their tea!

23.) Cafe culture: Cafe culture is BIG in New Zealand. Lots of specialty coffees, teas, pastries, dining options, etc.

24.) Good on ya mate: Another kiwi phrase meaning job well done. This slogan was popularized by beer commercials.

25.) Kia Ora: I can’t believe I left this one for so late in the list as it is an integral phrase of New Zealand marrying Maori culture with the mainstream. It is used in their tourism slogans as well. Kia Ora is interrupted as a Maori hello greeting, but means have life and be well which I think is lovely!

26.) Shoes optional: So many people view shoe wearing as optional even in grocery stores at least in the Northland where we set up base!

27.) Pavlova: Meringue dessert with fruit topping and oh so good! There is a debate as to New Zealand or Australian origin, but the kiwis claim it passionately!

28.) Jandals: Kiwi word for flip flops

29.) Jumper: Kiwi word for sweatshirt

30.) Togs: Kiwi word for swimsuit

31.) All Blacks: The national Rugby team! They also perform the haka before every game which is the traditional Maori war dance which is sweet as!

32.) EFTPOS: Their debit system. (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale). And make sure if you open a bank account you have unlimited EFTPOS transactions. We did not when we opened ours. 😦

33.) Fried eggs and beets: These are burger toppings!

34.) Pakeha: A term used to describe people of European descent, but which most kiwis say translates “white pig” There seems to be much debate as to if pakeha actually translates this way, but this is how it was explained to me when I asked the meaning!

35.) Manuka Honey: Native to New Zealand. It is a monofloral honey produced by bees pollinating the native manuka tree. It has one of the highest antibacterial properties of any honey, and is amazing!

36.) Paua: The equivalent to abalone shell, but uniquely kiwi due to their pattern and color which is only found off the coasts of NZ.

37.) Crayfish: The equivalent maybe to our lobster, but yet different. I’ve heard them described as US crawfish, but NZ crayfish are much larger than crawfish!

38.) Holiday: Holiday refers to vacation. You go on “holiday.” And most New Zealanders get 30 paid days off vacation time and public holidays!

39.) Aotearoa: Another name for New Zealand. Aotearoa is a Maori word meaning “land of the long white cloud”

40.) Bookabach: New Zealand’s equivalent of airbnb or vrbo. A bach refers to a holiday home.

41.) Feijoa: This can be found in other countries around the world, but is also native to New Zealand. It is called the “pineapple guava”. I love the juices that have feijoa in them! I miss this about NZ!

42.) Screwcap: New Zealand is known for its screwcap wines. Almost all wines are screw cap. They had an initiative for this.

43.) Shout: Someone has offered to “shout” you a drink. It means their buying. 🙂

44.) Horn: Its illegal to use your car horn after 11:00 pm and before 7:00 am unless for an emergency. Stay quiet my friends!

45.) Snakes: There are NO snakes in New Zealand. They were never introduced to New Zealand.

46.) Spiders: Unlike their Aussie neighbors, there are no poisonous spiders in NZ.

47.) The sun: The burn time is appx 12 minutes in NZ without sunscreen!

48.) Kauri: Native trees in New Zealand. These trees are majestic. The largest Kauri tree is Tane Mahuta located in the Northland, and is estimated to be as old as 2,500 years.

49.) Capsicum: The kiwi word for bell pepper.

50.) Half & Half: It doesn’t exist in New Zealand. If you want half & half you make your own with cream and milk.

51.) The Tui bird: A beautiful native bird of New Zealand. Often overshadowed by the more widely known kiwi bird which leads to…

52.) The kiwi bird: And my favorite for last. New Zealander’s take their nickname as kiwis from their national bird. A flightless/ almost blind bird more active at night. They also lay the largest egg in conjunction with their body size! Pretty cool! Plus they are really cute in my daughter’s opinion!

Matauri Bay Drive, New Zealand
My husband, Matauri Bay Drive, New Zealand
Walter Peak Farm, Queenstown New Zealand
Walter Peak Farm, Queenstown New Zealand

We are currently moving house so I will be taking a two week break from blogging, but when I return please check back for my Kiwi friends featured blog!


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