|Kiwi Definitions (under construction):|
Land of the Long White Cloud. A name allegedly given to New Zealand by the
Maori but not in common useage until after the early settlers arrived. It's origin is
often attributed to Hine-te-aparangi, wife of the Maori navigator Kupe. She is said to
have called out "He, ao" ( a cloud), on sighting land at the time of the first
canoe arriving here from the legendary land of Hawaiiki . Other suggested meanings of the
name subsequently used by Kupe include "long white world", "long bright
world" and "long,lingering, daylight". Aotearoa is Now in common useage as
a name for this country.
New Zealand: The name given by Abel Tasman when he
first dfiscovered this land in 1642. New Zealand was later visited by James Cook four
times beytween 1769-1777 and first settled in 1840 by the British. The region became a
colony set apart from Australia in 1841. The current population is around 3.5 million.
Maori: Native of New Zealand, or belonging to New Zealand. First use of the word in English was noted in 1850. Often used in Maori to distinguish from the supernatural, as in tangata Maori or man, human being, as opposed to the supernatural or whetu maori as in the lesser stars. A variety of kumara. About 9 per cent of the New Zealand population is Maori.
Pakeha: A person of predominantly European descent, foreign, as in kai pakeha: an imported variety of kumara. Connotations of silver eel or flea. Perhaps derivative from pakepakeha: imaginary beings resembling men, with fair skins. Also a sense of awkward, outlandish, disordered or disarranged (as of hair blown about).
Blokesses: The female equivalent of a bloke. In less politically correct days known as a Sheila or chick.
Endeavour: One of the ships in the fleet which carried Captain James Cook to discover New Zealand in 1769.
International debt: New Zealand has been struggling against a large international debt since certain governments overspent on "think big" projects, many of which never reached their promised revenue generating capacity. Recent governments have had to sell off public assets such as Telecom New Zealand to pay off our debtors, however the $4billion for Telecom only paid the interest on our loans for one year. Serious repayment programmes are now underway but New Zealand's social infrastructure has suffered as there's been less cash for health, education and other essential services as New Zealand leads the way with its free market economy and user pays philosophies. The international debt as at March 1997 was $NZ26 billion.
Mealmate: A cracker biscuit which was publicised with a TV commercial grossly overusing the
shared Australian and Kiwi greeting "Mate", an affectionate term of endearment
as in "Gidday mate", "How yer goin' mate", "Whatcher been doon,
mate", a threat as in "Watchit mate", "Don't look at me like that,
mate", " I'll punchya head in mate" or simply an expression of surprise or
appreciation as in "Maaate".
Number 8 wire: A thick fencing wire that has been used to create on-the-spot solutions for just about every problem down on the farm, from creating a Taranaki Gate (temporary gate using wire and timber to close a hole in a fence of create a temporary opening), to securing the bumper or exhaust of a tractor or car or creating a temporary aerial for your car radio.
Mountain climbers: Sir Edmond Hillary was the first to reach the peak of Mt Everest, the world's highest mountain in 1953 . Today, sir Edmond, in his late 70s, regularly visits Tibet, travels the world as an ambassador for New Zealand and lends his name and a message of encouragement to young people throughout the world to stick at things, to get through the difficulties and hold on for the results. He features on the New Zealand $5 note. (Sir Edmond has a copy of Buzz Words.)
Missionaries: New Zealand has sent more missionaries to the poorer nations of the world, per head of population than just about any other nation in the world. Ironically it has one of the lowest rates of church attendance.
Pipi: Univalve mollusc, cockle
Ruapehu: Live volcano in the Tongariro National Park in the central North Island of New Zealand which began blowing its stack again in 1995-96.
Steam engining time: A quote from Charles Fort, the father of Fortean phenomenon. The idea is that everything has its perfect time - the steams engine was being invented concurrently all around the world, it's just that Stephenson got to the patent office first. Curiously Neil Hannan, the recording engineer on the Buzz words project is a distant relative of Stephenson.
Tohunga: In Maori terminology a wizard, priest or skilled person who shows or points out, directs, guides, instructs or advises. Often a practitioner of the dark arts but in modern parlance this connotation seems to have faded.
Wireumu Ratana: Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, prophet, healer and politician who gained a massive nationwide following among Maori people through his compassion for their needs and his call for repentance after he had a visitation from God in 1919. Ratana actively campaigned against the old tohunga who held sway over much of the population through fear and occult arts. His efforts to unify Maori under a common faith in one God were extraordinarily successful although the established churches of the time saw him as a threat. Ratana became very politically active and rallied Maoridom as a political force resulting in four Maori seats of Parliament being established. His ability to perform miraculous healing and deliver stirring prophetic speeches resulted in his followers, against his wishes, eventually forming the Ratana Church. Ratana lore is kept very low key. Members of the movement however, still rally to his original farm at Ratana Pa, near Marton every January to celebrate his birthday. NB: In 2006 Reed publishing released Ratana Revisited, the 20-year project of Keith Newman looking at the life and time and historical context of Ratana and the movement he founded.
Sources: Collins English Dictionary, A Dictionary of
the Maori Language - H W Williams (1988), the New Zealand Encyclopedia, and from anecdotal
and cultural information
|© Keith Newman 1997|