Sunday, 21 October 2007

Now that I've been at home for just over a week, I'm beginning to remember the things that make us NZers something different. There are things to treasure in our culture, and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Did you know that a Kiwi is a native bird, round and stubbly? The famous Kiwifruit was named after it, I guess because it's round and stubbly too. We the people also call ourselves Kiwis, and the fruit is never called anything but Kiwifruit, except for very old people who used to know it as a Chinese Gooseberry, which is what it actually is.

Did you know that the word "taboo" comes from our native Maori language and originally meant "holy, untouchable"?

Did you know that the kumara is a national vegetable, like sweet potato, and it tastes best baked in an earth oven (hangi) buried with hot stones?

Do you know the difference between rugby league and rugby union, and can you discuss the pros and cons of each? Perhaps you've seen our team, the All Blacks, performing their haka (war-dance) before a game? I bet you didn't know that the words of the war-song describe a man emerging from a kumara pit where he'd hidden from his enemy.

I guess that's enough for today. The picture above is the upper end of the Waitemata Harbour, seen from a residential area in the central west North Shore. The one below is the wide part of the harbour just inside its opening, looking from the city wharf area to the southern North Shore.

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