Above, you will see probably the prettiest photo in this blog post - pavlova. This is a legendary Kiwi dessert of a pile of meringue topped with cream and fruit. It's not simple to make but is well worth the effort - easily my favourite dessert, when I'm in a mood for sugar. The classic pavlova should have a ring of kiwifruit around it; at least, that's what always turns up at church shared lunches and the like, but I couldn't find a photo of that. [NB: Australians think they created it but they didn't! It was US! Not them!]
Above, we have the Swanndri. The Swanndri was created sometime back when some clever farmer got sick of rain combined with woolly jersey, and created the brand we know today as Swanndri - waterproof wool. This is a southern institution and any Kiwi will recognise the shtunning tartan design and has probably owned at least one in the course of their lives - that is, unless they're a JAFA (another term you need to know, which stands for Just Another F#$%ing Aucklander, as they are invariably referred to by most southerners).
Marmite. I suppose I should mention Vegemite too, but my personal preference is Marmite. There is quite a feud between Marmite-eaters and Vegemite-eaters and passionate reasons for eating either - rather like the Montagues and Capulets, although it hasn't quite come to suicides yet. Marmite is a spread for toast made from yeast extract. It looks rather like tar and has an unforgettable taste. I have it every morning on my toast and it is the best spread ever. [Australians also try to steal this off us. Bastards.]
L&P. This stands for Lemon and Paeroa, and is a Kiwi-invented soft drink. It is almost a legend in New Zealand now, partly because of clever marketing and partly because it is actually very, very nice. There are also some very funny ads featuring L&P and stubbies, aka very short shorts on males, another Kiwi institution I didn't think it would be polite to feature. Yes, this huge statue of L&P stands, in a town called Paeroa in the north. Kiwis have an unfortunate habit of erecting massive statues to odd things.
Watties Tomato Sauce! As the jingle goes, "You'll always be a Kiwi, you'll always be a Kiwi, you'll always be a Kiwi if you love our Watties sauce!" That could almost be our national anthem because Watties tomato sauce features in every home, on almost any meal (within reason), at any barbecue (in fact you couldn't have a barbecue without it). I have a nephew who, from age three to five, refused to eat anything if it didn't have Watties tomato sauce on it. From Watties has come another Kiwi institution - sausage wrapped in a slice of bread with tomato sauce and onions, the classic $1 fundraiser outside shops on Saturday mornings for school trips or community projects.
Lastly, I think it crucial for all truly multiethnic and diversity-loving people to have a few Maori phrases up their sleeves. Besides being, obviously, the language of the future, you can say cool things in it and no one will have a clue what you mean, outside New Zealand (and quite possibly within, too). I took most of these phrases from a handy little book called Instant Maori.
Does my bum look big in this? = Kei te nui te ahua o taku nono i roto i tenei?
Surf's up dude. = Hei tino pai te ti karekare e ho.
Tomato sauce please. = Homai te hinuki tomato e ho.
Some of my best friends are Pakeha (non-Maori). = Ko etahi o aku tino hau he pakeha.
Now isn't that the most useful blog post in a while?