Kiwi lingo confuses Letterman viewers
28 Sep 2009
Americans have a better idea of where New Zealand is but have questions about the local lingo after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s guest appearance on David Letterman’s Late Show.
Terms like ‘Whanau’ the Maori word for family, 'bach' the New Zealand equivalent of a holiday home, chilli-bin (cool box or ‘eskie’) and "slap on your jandals" (put on your thongs or flip flops) were all terms Mr Key used in his list of Top 10 reasons to visit New Zealand.
Mr Key’s appearance on the popular chat show has sent Americans on line to search for a translation and explanation. Social networks Facebook and Twitter have been buzzing with comments indicating the Prime Minister’s bid to spread the word on New Zealand, paid off.
Late show banter
The Late Show with David Letterman has an audience of around four million and the Top 10 guest appearance by Mr Key, who is also NZ Minister of Tourism, was seen as a golden marketing opportunity for New Zealand.
As well as giving viewers a taste of local Kiwi lingo, Mr Key offered to personally pick any Americans up from the airport if they visited NZ in the next 30 days.
"Only a convenient 20-hour flight away", "like England without the attitude", "70 percent of our energy is generated through renewable hydropower - look these don’t all have to be jokes" and "unlike most of the world, we still like Americans" were all on Mr Key’s "10 reasons" list.
Letterman joked about New Zealand’s distance from the US and said the country was his favourite country he has never visited.
Letterman has a fear of flying, but said he took a great interest in New Zealand.
Knowing Letterman was a motor-racing fan, Mr Key presented him with an Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon T-shirt.
After joking with Mr Key Letterman described New Zealand as "a wonderland" and highlighted the fact that the country had been named among the top destinations by Condé Nast Traveller for the past five years.
Other ‘Top Ten’ guests
Other public figures to have read the ‘Top Ten’ on The Late Show have included President Barack Obama (during his presidential campaign), Britney Spears, U2 singer Bono and Hillary Clinton.
Mr Key has also met President Obama during his visit to the United States.
Their first face-to-face meeting was at the United Nations General Assembly when Mr Obama revealed that he had heard a lot about New Zealand from friends.
"He says he's got a friend down there. And he says he hears fantastic things about great golf courses, fabulous places for skiing and it being a great place for kids," said Mr Key.
Asked if he had invited Mr Obama to New Zealand Mr Key was noncommittal.
"You never say never, but he's obviously got a lot on his plate," he said.
John Key's top 10 reasons for visiting New Zealand:
10. Auckland airport now has cinnabon (a chain of American baked goods stores and kiosks)
9. We have the loosest slot machines in the Pacific rim
8. It's only a convenient 20 hour flight away
7. It's like England, without the attitude
6. Leno's on at 9 o'clock
5. Get the whanau together, stay in a bach, crack open the chilly bin and slap on your jandals
4. Visit in the next 30 days and I'll pick you up at the airport
3. 70% of our energy is generated through renewable sources - They don't all have to be jokes
2. We drive on the left side of the road, like the British and Lindsay Lohan
1. Unlike most of the world, we still like Americans
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