I’m a Kiwi and proud of it. At school I was taught that a dutch explorer called Abel Tasman ‘discovered’ New Zealand and subsequently, the country came to have its name recognised with a dutch place name reference (not even AT’s first choice!).
Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud) is the indigenous people’s (Maori) name for the North Island (extended to cover all the islands of New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands) and its alternative, official name.
Meanwhile, one of the national symbols of the country is the flightless native bird, the kiwi. The rest of the World has come to recognise people from New Zealand as Kiwis, whether; on the sports field, in battle, in business innovation, or in the overseas workplace.
My proposal is that the citizens of New Zealand have a national referendum ASAP, with three choices on the ballot for the future name of the country; Aotearoa, New Zealand and Kiwiland.
If it then came to pass that Kiwiland was overwhelmingly the most popular choice, it would eliminate some confusion for foreigners (tourists and traders alike) and encapsulate biculturalism in the name itself – the Maori ‘Kiwi’ and the English-speaking ‘Land’. New Zealand exporters (tour operators, wine labels, record labels, film makers etc) could also market the kiwi association more strongly. And by eliminating the prefix ‘New’ it would subtly indicate the country has come of age in its own right.
Food for thought?
Having lived for at least a decade in each country, here’s my humorous take on the differences between Kiwis and Brits.
Hopefully it won’t offend anyone reading this…
Kiwis – enjoy a pioneering spirit. Brits – enjoy a lager.
Kiwis – take the scenic route. Brits – form an orderly line.
Kiwis – think of their country as Godzone. Brits – think of their football team as Godzone.
Kiwis – recovering from the bicultural divide. Brits – recovering from the class divide.
Kiwis – think ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Brits – keep calm and carry on.
Kiwis – feel that she’ll be right. Brits – know that she’s always right!
Kiwis – love to beat the Aussies on their home ground. Brits – love to beat anyone on their own ground.
Kiwis – watch TV when they get tired of reality. Brits – watch reality TV.
Kiwis – visit their mates for a BBQ. Brits – visit B&Q.
Kiwis – are thankful for the trans Tasman gap. Brits – mind the gap.