Study up, bro: Kiwiana course to explore our culture

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 20:01 24/10/2012
buzzy bee std
BUZZY BEE: Kiwiana is pivotal to New Zealanders' pride.

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University of Canterbury students may soon be donning Swanndris and jandals while chowing down on mince pies and kiwifruit in the name of learning.

Associate professor Katie Pickles is starting a course on Kiwi culture next year where students will learn about Kiwiana as a way of understanding our culture and how New Zealanders like to portray themselves.

Pickles believes Kiwiana is pivotal to New Zealanders' pride and sense of belonging in changing times.

''In times of rapid change, Kiwiana offers something warm and fuzzy for us Kiwis to turn to. The less relevant it is to daily life, the more it seems to be in our faces. The more diverse New Zealand gets, the more simply we want to define our Kiwiana.''

She said Kiwiana was closely associated with traditional Kiwi culture.

''It is the popular culture of New Zealand - the products, images, people, sayings, ways, food and anything else that reflects the typical iconic Kiwi lifestyle.''

The course would come under the history faculty, Pickles said.

It would cover all aspects of Kiwi history from beauty to sport to music, the environment and peace,'' she said.

''It's about the history of Kiwi culture and how we have invented our culture and national identity over the years. We learn what is indigenous to us and what has come from overseas.''

Kiwiana was often about nostalgia, Pickles said.

''The Kiwi bach is a simple hut in the bush or on the water's edge, or a holiday home of the past. But new grand waterfront residences have seen prices soar as the humble Kiwi bach slowly disappears,'' she said.

''Meat pies, rugby, racing and beer are still going strong today but they have to share a spot with fine cuisine, ballroom dancing, opera and wine.''

Pickles hoped the course would prove popular with students.

''I think it will. It's really important for people to understand where we came from and how that affects who we are today. Our culture is constantly changing. It's not static.'' she said.

What are your top 10 pieces of Kiwiana? Here are some ideas:
1. Jandals
2. The buzzy-bee toy
3. Swanndris and red band gumboots
4. Plastic green tikis
5. Pohutakawa trees
6. The Edmonds cook book
7. Fred Dagg
8. No 8 Wire
9. The Kiwi bach or caravan
10. Paua shells

Top 10 Kiwiana Foods
1. Pavlova
2. Hokey-pokey  icecream and Trumpets
3. Mince pies with tomato sauce
4. Anzac biscuits
5. Whitebait fritters
6. L&P
7. Pineapple Lumps, Minties and Jaffas
8. Flat whites
9. Fush and chups
10. A slice of beetroot in your burger

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The alternative top 10 Kiwiana
1. The Tui billboard - Yeah Right
2. Chillybins
3. The rising intonation at the end of a sentence
4. Wellywood
5. Bungy jumping
6. Trade Me
7. The Beehive
8. Shortland Street
9. Flight of the Conchords
10. New Zealand slang - Chur bro, eh?

- The Press

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