Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kiwi fruit

Hi there
When I was in Las Vegas last year, I went on a day bus tour.  We'd done the round robin introduction bit of all the passengers on the bus - something I detest because other passengers always sound much more interesting than I do.

Over the microphone the lady guide shouted out to me, "Do you know what we Americans call you New Zealanders?"

I couldn't imagine.  Hobbits?  Freeloaders?  Anzacs?  Magnificent examples of homo sapiens?

"Kiwis!" she boomed out.  And the entire busload of Americans burst into hysterical laughter.

I smiled politely but I couldn't understand why the word "kiwis' had caused such merriment.  On international markets, our money is called the kiwi.  Goodness, our national bird is the kiwi, and we are named after it.   We are kiwis.

It wasn't until I got back home to New Zealand - Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud -  that I suddenly thought, "Oh, maybe, the driver was thinking of-   Nah, she couldn't be.  It would be too silly if she was thinking of-  "


We call it kiwifruit (or kiwi fruit).  Americans just call it, "kiwi".    When we're talking about it, we  never ever ever ever refer to it without 'fruit' tacked onto the end.

Were all those Americans laughing fit to kill themselves over the fact that they equated us New Zealanders to our little fuzzy food ball?  Here's a picture.

Here's a pendant of mine depicting a kiwi bird (it's actually an old New Zealand two shilling piece  (pre-1967) that's been hollowed out.

Here's an actual baby kiwi.  They are endangered birds.

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