Copyright © 1996-2003 Sarah Henderson.
Kiwiana is a name given to sum up all aspects of New Zealand culture, such as the famous Buzzy Bee. I can only hope to include a small selection here, basically just to whet your appetite. If you want to explore kiwiana further, there are some good sites in my NZ Links section.
Kiwi Food pavlova, afghans, anzacs, hokey pokey, gingernuts, vegemite
Maoritanga pronunciation, haka, place names
A kiwi is a rare flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is an endangered and protected species, and has come to be a symbol of this country, similarly, I think to a bald eagle being a symbol of the US. A 'Kiwi' is also an affectionate informal term for a New Zealander. The green fruit with the brown skin that used to be called a chinese gooseberry and that Americans call 'kiwi' is known everywhere else in the world as 'kiwifruit'.
Some people don't realize that Americans don't know the difference between a
kiwi and a kiwifruit, so if you tell a New Zealander that you ate a kiwi, you
are unlikely to be accused of cannibalism, but if the NZer doesn't realise that
you mean a kiwifruit, you will probably shock & offend them (what would your
reaction be if I told you that I ate a bald eagle?). If they understand that
you mean a kiwifruit, they will probably just be annoyed.
The Edmonds Cook Book
This book is a NZ institution, it is the best selling book in New Zealand, ever!
Every house should have one. Here are some recipes from my copy for things that
might be hard to get outside NZ.
Beat egg whites until stiff, add cold water and beat again. Add castor sugar very gradually while still beating. Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla and cornflour. Place on greased paper on a greased tray and bake at 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven.
If you try to get it shaped like a cylinder, flat on top, you will probably find
that the outside shell cracks. I find it easiest to make a sort of shallow
mound, but it doesn't really matter, since all the whipped cream you put on it
hides everything. The traditional Kiwi pavlova has slices of kiwi fruit on the
whipped cream, but you can also put strawberries or anything else. It is best
to put the topping on as late as possible before you serve.
Soften butter, add sugar and beat to a cream; add flour, cocoa and lastly
cornflakes. Put spoonfuls on a greased oven tray and bake about 15 minutes at
180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). When cold, ice with chocolate
icing and put a walnut on top.
Mix together flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Melt butter and golden
syrup. Dissolve bicarb soda in the boiling water and add to butter and golden
syrup. Make a well in the center of flour, stir in the liquid. Place in
spoonfuls on greased trays. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350
Bring sugar and golden syrup to the boil slowly stirring all the time. Simmer
gently over a very low heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from
heat and add bicarb soda. Stir in quickly unitl it froths and pour at once into
a greased tin. Break up when cold. Store in air-tight jars.
Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup together. Add bicarb soda dissolved in
boiling water. Add sifted dry ingredients. Roll into small balls. Press with
fork. Bake on greased trays for 20 to 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350
Vegemite and Marmite
Vegemite and Marmite are yeast extracts. They are both very salty tasting, but Marmite is sweeter than Vegemite. Or, Vegemite is very salty, Marmite slightly less so. They all use caramel for the dark colouring, Marmite is considerably sweeter (and darker) than Vegemite.
Vegemite eaters will generally tolerate Marmite, although they find it quite sweet, but Marmite eaters can't stomach Vegemite, as it is too strongly flavoured as a general rule.
I personally eat Vegemite. The trick is not to spread it on thickly like jam or
peanut butter, but just aim to discolour the bread or toast underneath.
New Zealand's National Flag
The Union Jack in the top left represents our history as a British colony. Many
former British colonies have this. The blue represents the Pacific Ocean and
the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation.
New Zealand's National Anthem
This song God Defend New Zealand is what you will hear played every time New Zealand play at a sporting event. The song became our National Hymn in 1940, with God Save the Queen being our National Anthem. In 1977, with the permission of the Queen, God Defend New Zealand was given equal status as an 'official' anthem.
The lyrics were written as a poem by Thomas Bracken (not a Kiwi) in the early 1870's, and there was a competition to find the best musical setting. This was won by a teacher from Otago named John J Woods.
The lyrics given here are those I copied out of an unknown book about 10 years ago. If I have got them wrong, particularly the Maori translations (I am not a Maori speaker), please let me know.
Maoritanga is Maori culture; a way of life and view of the world. The ancestors and all living things are descended from the gods, who are often believed to be mountains, rivers and lakes, which is why the land is so important to the Maori. According to Maori myth, Aotearoa (New Zealand) was fished from the sea by Maui. Maui was fishing in his brother's canoe with his grandmother's jawbone as a hook, and what he pulled up was the North Island. The South Island is his canoe, and Stewart Island was the anchor for the canoe. Maui was a great pioneer and accomplished many things including slowing the sun to make the days longer and taming fire.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. The first article gave the Queen of England the right to make laws, and the second article promised the Maori full rights to their lands, forests and treasured possessions (and fisheries in the English version). The third article gave the Maori all the rights and privileges of British subjects.
Maori is now an official language of NZ, although outside the Maori community it is rare to hear it spoken except on ceremonial occasions. To preserve the language, there is a network of Kohanga Reo, or language nests, which are basically preschools where children learn the Maori language and culture. There are also Kura Kaupapa, which are Maori immersion schools, as well as bilingual units attached to many mainstream schools.
Maori culture was transmitted orally, through the telling of stories, song (waiata) and the reciting of whakapapa (genealogies). It was also represented in stylised form in carvings and woven panels that adorned whare (meeting houses). Maori music was supressed by early missionaries, and now primarily lives through waiata.
This phrase is a general expression of wishing good fortune and all other good
things to the recipient. Kia Ora is probably the most common Maori greeting.
You pronounce the word with each vowel being sounded separately but run
together. I.e. there are no dipthongs but the vowels are not lingered over.
Guide to Maori pronunciationThe five vowels; a, e, i, o and u, are pronounced in two ways:
Where two vowels are together: both are sounded but they are run together smoothly.
The ten consonants in Maori: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w, ng, wh.
The first eight are pronounced as in English. The last two are differend, with
'ng' being pronounced as the ng in 'singer', and 'wh' as wh in 'whale', or as a
'f', depending on the iwi.
Non-Kiwis are often baffled by the 'dance' performed by mostly sports groups before matches or events. At the September 1999 APEC meeting in Auckland, it was described by the US press as a Zulu dance. A haka is a challenge to the opposing tribe who may have responded in a similar way. The words are chanted loudly (shouted) in a menacing way accompanied by arm actions and foot stamping.
The All Black rugby team and subsequently other touring sports teams have adopted a haka that was originally used by Te Rauparaha (a particularly notorious chief of the Ngati Toa tribe), which is only one of many hakas. Te Rauparaha, originally from Taranaki, raided various parts of NZ in the early 19th Century settling eventually on Kapiti Island near Wellington. Here are the words and a translation of Te Rauparaha's haka.
The story behind the haka is that Te Rauparaha was being chased by an enemy
tribe. He hid in a kumara pit (sweet potato) and waited in the dark for the
other tribe to find him or to pass by. He heard sounds above and the top of the
pit was opened. Blinded by the sun, he thought he was about to be killed, but
when his sight cleared he saw the hairy legs of the local chief who had let him
hide in the pit. Te Rauparaha then jumped out of the pit and was so happy at
being alive that he performed this haka on the spot.
Maori Place Names
The following list may help you understand some of the place names around New Zealand, which can sometimes be confusing. For example, Mount Maunganui near Tauranga; maunga means mountain, nui means big, so the name means big mountain. Europeans, who probably didn't know the meaning of the name added Mount, but it is obviously redundant.