"Kiwianna" fun stuff you need to know

Items of Kiwiana are either unique to, or particularly common to New Zealand, mainly from the early and mid twentieth century.

Some fine examples of Kiwiana:


Are called flip-flops or thongs elsewhere in the world. The jandal (Japanese sandal!) is a piece of footwear designed for the beach but worn just about everywhere in New Zealand. Some food establishments or bars which like to portray themselves as having a ‘classy’ image will have a sign on the door ‘No jandals’.


Skellerup gumboots are an essential piece of farming equipment in New Zealand and most people have a pair for working in the garden as well.  Gumboots, or gummies as often called, are calf-length rubber boots.  Usually black in colour, but now you can buy colourful gummies as well.  A gumboot throwing competition is an iconic New Zealand game enjoyed at gala days and local agricultural and pastoral shows, particularly in Taihape in the North Island.


Also referred to as a ‘swannie’, the swanndri is an iconic New Zealand brand, with its main product being a thick 100% wool jacket worn by farmers, trampers (hikers), etc to keep them warm and dry in winter. Usually made in a tartan or check pattern and often worn with a black singlet underneath, another iconic piece of Kiwi clothing, although a little dated now.


One cannot write about swannies without writing about stubbies.  Stubbies were a brand of short shorts introduced to the New Zealand man in the 1970s.  Simple cotton shorts with an elastic waistband -loved by tradesmen.  Similar shorts are still worn, but they are currently considered unfashionable, times change and sometimes for the better!

Silver fern
Is a native tree fern.  Like the Kiwi, it has long been a symbol of New Zealand.  You will see the fern displayed on army insignia and on the uniforms of our sports teams. The silver fern flag is a favourite even though it is not the official flag of New Zealand. Our former (2015) Prime Minister, John Key, pushed for a change in our flag which would have included the silver fern. A referendum was held in 2016 at some considerable cost, several million dollars! the verdict, leave our flag alone!

Pohutukawa (“Christmas tree”)

The majestic Pohutukawa tree is a native tree that grows along our shoreline and flowers with beautiful, large red flowers in November and December, mainly in the North Island.

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