Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand's heritage, especially from around the middle of the 20th century that are seen as representing iconic Kiwi elements. These "quirky things that contribute to a sense of nationhood" include both genuine cultural icons and kitsch.
Items of kiwiana are generally either unique to, or particularly common to New Zealand, particularly from the early and mid twentieth century. Although the term is sometimes used to describe any and all New Zealand icons, it is more commonly used to describe pop culture items such as toys or branded foods. A few more serious national icons have become kiwiana through heavy use in advertising and the souvenir industry. These include the kiwi and the hei-tiki. Kiwiana is generally seen as a form of kitsch.
A number of products widely regarded as kiwiana, such as Weet-Bix, Watties tomato sauce, Marmite and L&P, are made by non-New Zealand companies. In some cases this is because the original New Zealand company has been purchased by an overseas corporation, in others the product has always been made by an international firm. A number of companies with products deemed to be 'kiwiana' have enthusiastically cashed in on this. For example, a Watties advertising campaign has claimed that "you'll never be a Kiwi 'til you love your Watties sauce", even though the company is now American-owned, and a Sanitarium campaign in the 1990s claimed that "Kiwi kids are Weet-Bix kids". The advertisement was a dubbed version of an Australian advertisement that claimed that 'Aussie kids are Weet-bix kids' and the landscape in the background of the advertisement is recognisably Australian. Other companies have attempted to create their own Kiwiana. For example, McDonald's has an off and on 'Kiwiburger' sold within their stores in New Zealand; which was an attempt to duplicate the traditional New Zealand style of burger. Its main distinguishing features were a slice of beetroot and a fried egg, and its advertisement was essentially a sung list of kiwiana items; the item most recently appearing from August 2011 as a part of the Rugby World Cup. A series of L&P commercials, featuring Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, are based around Kiwiana themed items, and were very popular with New Zealanders.
In recent decades kiwiana has become a subject in itself, and several celebratory books have been published. A range of products using kiwiana motifs have also been produced, including Christmas tree decorations, cards, T-shirts, garden ornaments and jewelry. There are Kiwiana sections in many New Zealand museums, and some are dedicated to showing Kiwiana only. In 1994, New Zealand Post released a set of stamps depicting kiwiana items including a pavlova, fish and chips, rugby boots and ball, and a black singlet and gumboots.
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- Afghan biscuit — a cookie/biscuit which contains cornflakes with a soft biscuit base, chocolate icing on top and a walnut
- All Blacks — national Rugby Union team.
- Bach (or crib) - small modest holiday home
- Buzzy Bee — wooden child's toy.
- Cardigan Bay — a famous racehorse from New Zealand, who was the first trotter to win a million US dollars.
- Chocolate fish — confection of marshmallow covered in chocolate, in the shape of a fish.
- Cookie Time cookies — a large chocolate chip cookie often sold individually and typically heated up before being consumed.
- Edmonds 'Sure to Rise' Baking Powder, the distinctive Edmonds factory (demolished in the late 1980s), and the Edmonds Cookbook.
- Footrot Flats — popular cartoon strip by Murray Ball.
- Foxton Fizz - retro brand of soda drink from Foxton. Dates back to 1918. Was originally distributed in Foxton and as far south as Otaki, and north to Sanson. In 2010 it began enjoying a resurgence in popular cafes and some bars.
- Four Square supermarkets — especially Mr Four Square, the marketing logo.
- Gumboots — calf length rubber boots, usually in black
- Haka — traditional Māori war dance, now widely used as a challenge by sports teams.
- Hāngi — Method of cooking using heated rocks buried underground in a pit oven.
- Hei-tiki — Māori neck pendant, often in plastic versions sold to tourists.
- Hokey pokey ice-cream — plain vanilla ice cream with added small, solid lumps of toffee.
- Jandals — beach footwear with a bit of sole but very little else. AKA flip-flops, thongs (USA/UK, Australia)
- Jaffas — red, round sweets from Cadbury
- Kiwi — native bird; its stylised image or shape frequently appears on things associated with New Zealand.
- Kiwifruit — fruit from a vine originating in China but selectively bred by New Zealand horticulturalists to obtain egg-sized fruit with green or gold flesh. In New Zealand it was originally called "Chinese gooseberry".
- Koru a pattern used by the native people, the Maori use the Koru in carvings and drawings on their art.
- Lemon & Paeroa, also known as L&P, a popular fizzy drink "World Famous in New Zealand since ages ago".
- The Longest Drink in Town — since 1968, this iconic blue and red giraffe image has appeared on the side of paper cups used by dairies and icecream parlours for milkshakes
- Marmite — a New Zealand-made dark and salty spread made from yeast extract, similar to Australia's Vegemite.
- Number 8 wire — a gauge of wire often used inventively and practically for applications other than for fencing. It is also used as a term that epitomises the "kiwi bloke" as someone who can turn their hand to anything.
- Paua — the polished shell of the native paua (abalone) shellfish, turned into jewellery and souvenirs or ashtrays. Once considered kitsch, it is starting to regain its popularity.
- Pavlova — a light and fluffy meringue dessert invented in New Zealand named after the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova
- Whittaker's peanut slab - a chocolate and nut confection manufactured in Porirua that comes in various chocolate varieties
- Phar Lap — a horse from New Zealand, who won many prestigious races in Australia and North America.
- Pineapple lumps — confectionery made with a pineapple flavoured centre covered in chocolate.
- Railway crockery — a typically heavy style of crockery used in the state railway system
- Silver fern — native plant; its stylised image or shape is displayed on army insignia and by many of the national sports teams.
- Slice of Heaven - popular song by New Zealand musician Dave Dobbyn that reached Number 1 in the New Zealand music charts in 1986.
- Southern man - Male farmer, hunter or bushman hailing from the deep rural south.
- Swanndri — a 100% waterproof woollen overcoat. Popular amongst farmers due to it being 'warm in winter, cool in summer'. Typically made in a tartan/patch work pattern. Often blue and black, or red and black in colour. Often worn in conjunction with Gumboots and/or Stubbies.
- Tip-Top ice cream.
- Watties tomato sauce (especially when served in a plastic container shaped like a tomato).
- National symbols of New Zealand
- Canadiana — a similar concept in Canada
- Americana — a similar concept in the United States
- Australiana — a similar concept in Australia
- Rhodesiana – a similar concept in Zimbabwe relating to items made in its colonial (Rhodesia) era
- "Government and nation - Kiwiana". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Government and nation - National animal and flower". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Kiwiana". NZ Post.
- Peden, Robert, Farm fencing: Types of wire fence Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 20 November 2008.
- Bardsley, Dianne, Rural language: No 8 wire Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 20 November 2008.
- http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Reference/FoodDrink/NewZealand/Icons/,Iconic Kiwi Food
- Stephen Barnett and Richard Wolfe (1989), New Zealand! New Zealand! in praise of Kiwiana.
- David McGill (2000), Good old Kiwi identities: the folk who put the kiwi in kiwiana.
- Richard Wolfe and Stephen Barnett (2001), Kiwiana! the sequel.