Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why are Kiwis called Kiwis?

New Zealand people are often referred to as Kiwis. And quite honestly - New Zealander is quite long. You can't just say, Canadian, American, Dutch, French - it's not as easy. New Zealand-an - No. New Zealandian. Nope. So here's why.

This is a Kiwi bird. It's from the Maori language and it looks like they took the call of the bird and made it a word. So basically (and I can't confirm this, as Kiwis are nocturnal and rare and I've only ever seen one at the zoo) that means the bird sounds like Keee! Weee! And that became it's name.

Somewhere in the last 50-60 years New Zealand decided to grow Chinese Gooseberries commercially. That's what a kiwi is - a Chinese Gooseberry. But in an effort to make them distinctly New Zealand they were first named a Melonette - which didn't fly. It was then changed to Kiwi - because it's small, round, brown, and fuzzy like a Kiwi bird. Cute huh? Anyways. The idea was to have all Chinese Gooseberries grown here, with the trademark Kiwifruit. But unfortunately they never trademarked it - and it became the worldwide recognized name for the fruit. Now they're grown all around the world, all referred to as Kiwis or Kiwifruit. New Zealand has now trademarked as "Zespri" which is cool - but I don't see it replacing Kiwi as the name of the fruit.

And this? This is my daughter kissing a Kiwi. Hahaha. Kiwi birds are Kiwifruit are national symbols. So it just became a nickname for New Zealanders. It's much easier to say. And cute.

And that's Eli - Oce's "boyfriend" getting kisses. His mother told her to - but she certainly didn't need much prompting. Eek! I forsee her childhood and teenagerdom being - a bit extroverted. Do you?

1 comment:

  1. I had always wondered that... thanks for the info.

    And that picture is ADORABLE!