Nowadays, it's a term that treads a fine line between cultural icon and kitsch. Kiwiana has come to mean both treasures that are uniquely ours, and items that have mass-produced their way into ubiquity. Somewhere in the middle lies a collection of objects and ideas still loved by many. Depending on where you stand, these may, or may not, be some of them.
It's New Zealand, it's summer, it's the weekend. Odds are, you're reading this while wearing that icon of Kiwi footwear: the jandal. Combining the words 'Japanese' and 'sandal', the term jandal was trademarked right here in Aotearoa in 1957, steadily flip-flopping its way into Kiwi life ever since.
Learn about the origin of the jandal here:
First produced here in the 1930s, Buzzy Bees have gone on to fly their way into the hearts of multiple generations of Kiwi kids. And it seems their charms aren't just limited to those from our shores. Famously, in 1983, a young Prince William took a liking to one during a royal visit, crawling towards it on the grounds of Government House, and attempting to bite its antenna off. Captured by swarms of watching media, the Buzzy Bee was soon beamed around the world.
See Prince William meet the Buzzy Bee here:
It remains a fierce source of transtasman rivalry to this day – just who did invent the pavlova? Forget what the Aussies have to say. Confirmed below – the pav is officially ours.
Learn the history of the pavlova here:
This beautifully-shot doco offers a history of the great NZ bach (or crib, for those of a southern persuasion). In it, Maggie Barry tracks their evolution from workers' cottages to a fully-fledged Kiwi icon. Along the way, bach enthusiasts Sam Hunt, Keri Hulme, Karl Stead and Rawiri Paratene are interviewed.
Watch A Summer Place here:
It's perhaps not the most glamorous of sports, but it's one that we've certainly made our own – gumboot throwing. In the clip below we meet Curly Troon, a winning thrower from Taihape, official home of Gumboot Day since 1985. While Curly's technique is impressive, he might learn a thing or two from Olympic shot putter Dame Valerie Adams, who qualified for the World Gumboot Throwing Champs last year, after making her first competitive throw at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games.
Watch an excerpt from Champions – New Zealand Winners here:
And who could forget that most Kiwi of competitive sports – marching. Making it's first appearance in the 1930s, marching quickly grew in popularity here, remaining a New Zealand institution ever since. First screening in 1987, series The Marching Girls centres on a social marching team who decide to have a crack at the North Island champs, following their triumphs, tears and missteps.
Watch an episode of The Marching Girls here: