What makes New Zealand Kiwi.

Summer BBQs

Where Kiwi blokes gather to tip back a beer, swat away the smoke and trade stories about the one that got away.When you hear the males scraping clean the BBQ for the first fire-up, you know that summer has truly arrived.


Kiwis love pies – they are an iconic national food. Every year for the last 15 years the Bakels New Zealand Supreme Awards are held, and bakers from all over the country fight to be in the top. In 2011 there were 12 catagories: Mince & Gravy, Steak (diced), Vegetables & Gravy, Chicken & Vegetable, Gourmet Fruit, Gourmet Meat, Vegetarian, Bacon & Egg, Mince & Cheese, Steak & Cheese, Seafood, Commercial/Wholesale, and Supreme.

Like I said – we eat a lot of pies.

Fish & Chips

Okay – so we did not invent these. But we do them best. Sitting at the beach with the kids in tow, watching the sunset, a large piece of paper laid out as you help yourself to hot fish and chips. It’s a Kiwi institution.

Watties Tomato Sauce.

For all the above Watties tomato sauce has been on Kiwi tables for decades, and there is no other tomato sauce that can match it.

Of course it is best eaten at BBQs, with pies, or fish & chips, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly acceptable to slather it on anything you please.

And no bach should ever be without a good supply on hand.

The Bach

The Kiwi bach is a small beach house or holiday house. It became popular in the 1950’s when the improvement of roading made taking the family on holiday more accessible. Typically a Kiwi bach is a basic structure, based on the old style shed and cabins from early farmers. Usually the building materials were recycled from old timber and iron. Often a caravan was nearby.


New Zealand rugby is a national passion. I’ve learnt not to get between a Kiwi and the TV when a match is on. You just may end up tackled on the floor.

In May 1870, the first rugby game played by official rugby rules was played in Nelson, a small city on the top of the South Island.

By 1879 the first rugby unions were being formed in Canterbury and Wellington.

In 1884 New Zealand had its first touring New Zealand team, when they played and won in Australia in an eight game series. The New Zealand team sported the fern, but it was golden.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union was established in 1892. In 1903, New Zealand beat Australia in their first official test match.

The black jersey with the silver fern was first seen in 1905 when the ‘Originals’ toured Britain, Europe, and the USA  in their first tour outside of Australasia. It was also on this tour where the term “All Blacks‘ first originated.

In 1987 Australia and New Zealand co-hosted the first ever Rugby World Cup, which New Zealand won defeating France 29 – 9.

And after 18 years, I’m still not sure how it works. Shhhhhhhhhhh…


Every farmer has them – actually nearly every Kiwi has a pair, from the time they can walk. Gumboots are such a part of life that in Taihape, the residents and visitors have a gumboot throwing contest every year. Now the aim of this festival, is of course to break the world’s longest gumboot throw record. But not to worry, should you miss the festival, be assured that on any day of the year you can toss a gumboot in the official Gumboot throwing lane behind the main shopping centre.

Black Singlets

Now what would a gumboot wearing farmer be without his black singlet to hide the dirt, soak up the sweat, and allow enough free arm movement to toss the required gumboot.

Fred Dagg
Fred is a fictional character conceived by John Clarke. Fred hails from Taihape, hangs round with a bunch of blokes all named ‘Trev’, and was Clarke’s way of taking the piss out of the stereotypical Kiwi farmer and bloke.





This dessert was made in honour of Anna Pavlova when she toured in the 1920’s. Australia likes to claim it as its own invention – however, according to Pavlova’s biographer the dish was dreamt up as a tribute to Pavlova’s tutu by a chef, during her stay in a Wellington hotel.

The Pavlova is ours !!

Pohutukawa Trees

The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its startling crimson flowers is an established part of our New Zealand Christmas tradition.

This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, is found on greeting cards, postcards, in poems, and in song.

Cape Reinga

On the windswept cliff at Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northern most tip, is a venerated pohutukawa tree.  For Maori this pohutukawa is known as ‘the place of leaping’. From this place the spirits of the dead will begin on their journey to Hawaiiki. Their spirits leap off the headland, then climb down the roots of this 800-year-old tree, descending into the underworld.

L & P

Lemon & Paeroa is  a New Zealand drink made from combining carbonated mineral water from a spring in Paeroa with lemon juice. Pronounced “pie-ro-a’. The drink can only be found in New Zealand or in overseas NZ speciality shops. It’s the drink that is “World Famous in New Zealand.”


Jandal is derived from ‘Japanese sandal’ – it became a part of the New Zealanders’ vocabulary in the 1950s, when they were first produced here. Known around the world by other names – thongs, flip-flops. Jandals has become part of the New Zealand language.


I’m not talking about the cute feathered fellas that run around in the bush – or maybe I am…

But there’s over 4,000,000 of us now.

And not one of us are alike, thank God.


What Makes New Zealand Kiwi – Part 2


  1. Fish and chips? Pies? Tomato sauce? It sounds like Blighty. Not so much with the gumboots here, though.

    The Kiwi Christmas tree is lovely. And I want that L&P poster.


    1. That poster is pretty cool
      If you watched Fred’s video you’d change your mind about the gumboots…LOL
      Shhhhhhhhhh…had to look up what ‘Blighty’ was…


  2. I learned a lot from this post and got inspired to make pies. Yum! The myth of that tree being the entrance to the underworld is pretty cool.


  3. Love this! Just wanted to add that I have awarded you a Seven Links Award! You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to but I couldn’t not include your blog when I was doing mine 🙂 If I knew how to link in a comment box I would link my post that explains it – you’ll just have to go look at my blog! Lol – some of us are soo challenged!!


    1. So glad you liked it. I’ve still got a few more for the follow up – thought I’d better save some – I could have gone on for pages. LOL


  4. Wow, I think a lot of people in the US here lump New Zealanders with Australians. I’m a history teacher, so I knew each culture was unique, but I learned a lot. Thanks!

    I’m new to vB and hope to connect with you 🙂


  5. Wow, thanks for teaching me so much about New Zealand! My great aunt Ruby is from there, but I never got to speak with her much about the place. Ever since seeing LOTR though, I would love to live there, but I’ve heard that you have to either be born there or have a LOT of money and have had the same job for 20+ years, etc. in order to live there. In any case, I feel like I know a lot more about it now. 🙂 Thanks for teaching me something new, and I agree with Mary – you’ve made me hungry!


    1. Yes it is pretty hard to get in here these days – while I understand the need for some constraints a lot of the time it seems haphazard who they do, and who they don’t allow in. ;(
      After reading that you were hungry – well, I went back over the post. Hmmmmmmmm – I did put rather a lot of food in this post. Next one I will try to make less appetising. Hehehehe


  6. At last — I feel like I know a little about New Zealanders in their own right, as distinct from the Other Down Underers — who maybe are better known here.
    Love your text and photos!


  7. This was fun! NZ is definitely a place I am not familiar with in the least, so it’s intriguing to know some cool facts about the place & the people! Those pies sound absolutely divine. I’ve spent some time in N. Ireland & that’s the only place that I’ve had “true” fish & chips; good to know I should be on the lookout for them if I’m even in NZ! NI is also the only place I’ve had Pavlova & it was absolutely the yummiest thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Delicious!


    1. Lovely that you stopped by. 🙂
      yep – our pies are so good even my Aussie friends comment, and shush – don’t tell em I said this, but they think they are great pie makers.
      You should make it a priority to try NZ ‘fish & chips’, sitting on a beach as the sun sets – life will never get better than that !


  8. A beautiful country with amazing landscape and people. There was a time I wanted to move to New Zealand after watching Lord of the Rings and hearing from friend who’d been there how magical place. Sometimes I wish I did. Wonderful post. Thanks.


  9. Thanks. I feel that I’ve learned some important & some less important facts about New Zealand now 😉
    Nice post, but the gumboot sing was horrible! Had to turn it off after 3 seconds! It’s a dream of mine to get to see New Zealand and also one of your neighbouring countries (I won’t mention the name..) .

    I hope you’ll have a good summer. Here, on the other side iof the planet, we’re getting ready for winter.


  10. Hey, that’s a wonderful post – been dreaming about emigrating to NZ, and now I’m even more like doing that. And I have wonderful red gumboots!!!


  11. Hello from Mexico City! Months ago I visited an expo about Maori art in my City and it was amazing, since then I would love to visit NZ, so in the meantime it was great to know more facts about kiwi life by your post. Thank you. About movies, one of my favorite movies is “Whale Rider”, a co-production between New Zealand and Germany, I really recommend it. I would love to know more about Pohutukawa Trees in Maori world view. Can you recommend a book about this theme? I really like your post, Jo! By the way, thanks for visiting my blog “Exploring the world: photography, travel, art”
    Kind greetings,


  12. Very late catching up with this post, but much better than never!
    So educational. Now I know what makes a kiwi a kiwi. (At least part 1, till I get back above to part 2.) This was WONDERFUL. Obviously one thing that makes a New Zealander is a GREAT sense of humor.


  13. Hey, i found your blog via a search for a cute kiwi… i have used the picture in a cocktail post of mine, and linked back to your blog. It will publish Saturday around 5pm GMT Hope you don’t mind. May i also say that I LOVE NZ! And this post is wonderful! Keep up the great work!


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