Kiwi International Hotel showcase iconic kiwiana items

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 by Mark Sandiford

Kiwiana is felt right throughout the country, even our national postal service is in on the game, having issued kiwiana themed stamps of towns such as Otorohanga, who as a result, have been able to cash in on this love of cultural representation. So it makes sense that Kiwi International Hotel embraces all that is good and love about Kiwiana.


To the uninitiated eye Kiwiana can seem a little odd and well, random. Jandals for example, you can't get much more random than flimsy footwear unless of course you have grown up with them as a summer staple item.


Jandals are nostalgic, they bring back memories of summer days - sweltering heat and the sensation of sand slipping under your feet as you walk across a hot and gleary beach. It's a sensation that is familiar to most Kiwis and the simple act of slipping on flimsy footwear can quickly evoke these memories.  With all that in mind, it's safe to say that jandals aren't random at all but actual icons of summer, of childhood and of days pleasantly spent in the summer sun.

Sam's Café - our restaurant and bar - understands the importance and nostalgia of kiwiana and celebrates and promotes the theme through many of its wall hangings.

Restaurant And Bar

So let's explore these icons of culture and understand a little more about why they hold a level of importance for us.


Buzzy _bee

Typically wooden, painted red and with rotating wings, the buzzy bee is well known to the baby boomer generation. With its solid construction and kiwi roots it gained additional prominence when one was gifted to a young Prince William during his first public appearance here in New Zealand. With cameras capturing every moment of his now historic play-time with the buzzy bee, its spot as an icon of New Zealand culture was cemented.



The US has cheerios and other sugar filled cereals as icons of their breakfast culture, the Aussies have skippy cornflakes and we have the wholesome, sugar-free Weet-Bix. The beauty of Weet-Bix is that we all have our own preferred way of eating it, whether it's with hot water, hot milk, cold milk, with fruit or without. Weet-Bix's adaptability is one of the things we love most about it and part of why it has lived for so long in our breakfast vocabulary.


Anzac -biscuits -purple -ribbon

It has long been thought that Anzac biscuits were sent to the troops in Gallipoli but there is evidence to suggest that it was actaully a type of rolled oat biscuit that was sent to the troops on the Western Front.  Rolled oats biscuits were made and sold at galas and other public events all over New Zealand to raise funds for the war effort and it was this connection to the troops overseas that gave them the name of "soldiers' biscuits".



The flip-side to jandals, gumboots (the name referencing to colonial era gum digging) are the winter item of choice, popular with farmers and kiwi gardeners alike. The Central North Island town of Taihape presents itself as the Gumboot capital of the World with a giant sized corrugated iron gumboot skulpture in the centra of town.  The loose fitting below the knee rubber boot has proudly cemented itself as an icon of Kiwi culture - with its "let's get stuck in" persona. The gumboot is found in many Kiwi homes whether rural or urban - an all terrain, all weather footwear that Kiwis just love.

The bach

Beach Bach

Traditionally New Zealanders have their summer holidays in a tent, caravan or bach.  A bach was originally a small basic and simply built holiday home, however these are slowly disappearing from the kiwi way of life and being replaced with more substantial homes that replicate and include all the trappings of home - 3 bedrooms, dishwasher and garage. The bach in its purest form is about getting away from it all and getting back to basics. It is wonderfully refreshing and a typically Kiwi ideal to leave the daily routine of the 9-5 grind and simply melt into a slower and more relaxed way of being. And the bach does that for us.

To see Kiwiana up close and personal why not visit Sam's cafe and if you are in need of accomodation to go with our great hospitality, then you are definitely in the right place.

Simply book in and choose from one of our great room options. To find out more simply visit our website or give our friendly team a call



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