INSIDE: Our pick of the BEST Kiwiana gifts for friends and family.
Anyone visiting New Zealand needs to know about the thing called Kiwiana.
You can’t become an honorary Kiwi, no matter how much you love the country, until you know about this phenomena.
We’ve gathered ALL the details of what you need to know about Kiwiana, including popular Kiwiana symbols, AND where you can buy goods & gifts emblazoned with these famous icons.
They may be kitsch, but they are also part of the Kiwi national identity!
Read all the details below.
FAQ: What is Kiwiana in New Zealand?
What does Kiwiana mean?
According to Wikipedia, Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand’s heritage, especially from around the middle of the 20th century that are seen as representing iconic Kiwi elements.
These “quirky things that contribute to a sense of nationhood” that have stood the test of time, include both genuine cultural icons and kitsch.
They are things that are recognised by most New Zealanders as something familiar, and heartwarming – a throwback to something comforting from one’s childhood or memories.
Kiwiana Souvenirs List
We’ve compiled the Ultimate Kiwiana icons list of things you can buy as gifts for family and friends.
First up, though, a big list of A-Z Kiwiana objects & things!
THE INSIDE SCOOP: New Zealand Kiwiana A-Z List
Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in NZ dollars, unless otherwise stated
Popular Kiwiana icons include images of:
- ANZAC biscuits
- Afghan biscuits – recognised by the lump of chocolate icing and a walnut on top!
- All Blacks NZ rugby team
- Black singlets with gumboots
- Bluebird chips
- Bungee jumping
- Buzzy Bee toy on a pull along string
- Caravans (retro style)
- Chelsea golden syrup
- Corner Dairy (milk bar) to buy sweets and treats
- Edmonds baking powder
- Edmonds cookery book – THE staple cookbook in every NZ home!
- ETA chicken flavoured chips
- Feijoa fruit
- Fish and chips (Shark and tattie from the local fish and chip shop)
- Footrot Flats, an iconic cartoon series of books by Murray Ball
- Greenstone jewellery
- Griffins biscuit packaging
- Gumboots, usually in black
- Haka, the Maori war cry
- Hairy Maclary books
- Hangi (traditional Maori feast cooked underground)
- Jandals (thongs)
- Jelly tip ice cream
- Kiwi Bach houses (the humble beach house, named after the word ‘bachelor’, as these trips are all about being on your own, without tonnes of crowds around, and “recharging your batteries” before a new week begins)
- Kiwi bird – New Zealand native flightless bird (Kiwi is slang for a NZ born person too)
- Kiwi boot polish
- Kiwi fruit – distinctive green fruit with a furry skin
- Lamingtons (also Australiana – we fight over who made these first!)
- L&P cans
- Manuka honey
- Merino sheep
- Milk bottles (empties for the milkman)
- New Zealand jade/greenstone jewellery and Maori tikis (awesome Maori gifts for friends back home)
- Number 8 wire – a staple on fenceposts around the country
- Onehunga Princess wool blankets
- Onion dip
- Paua shells – abalone shell that has a magical silvery shiny inside when polished, used in jewellery and souvenirs
- Playing bullrush in the school yard (or at home)
- Rimu timber
- Rugby All Blacks
- Silver Fern motif- as pictured in Jack’s hands above!
- New Zealand stamps with NZ flowers on them
- Sheep and merino wool
- Sunlight soap
- Swanndri jackets – waterproof and woollen. Every Southern Man, or Southern Woman has one!
- The Great New Zealand songbook (every school child had one!)
- The Haka Maori tribal dance
- Tiki, the Maori neck adornment
- Watties Baked Bean cans
- Watties Spaghetti in Tomato sauce
- Watties tomato sauce
- Weetbix breakfast cereal
- 4 Square supermarket signs
Famous Kiwiana desserts & sweets
The best New Zealand biscuits, slices and sweet treats include:
- Hokey pokey ice cream (toffee chunks in vanilla ice cream)
- Lolly Cake
- Afghan biscuit
- Squiggle biscuit
- Custard slice
- Louise slice
- Melting moment
- Shrewbury biscuits
- Peanut brownie
- Sultana pastie
- Marshmallow slice
- Caramel slice
- Peppermint slice
- Chocolate weetbix slice
- Cookie time biscuits
- Steamed pudding
- Fairy bread
- Whittakers chocolates (see Lollies below)
No Kiwiana menu at a Kiwiana themed party would be complete without these things!
Best Kiwiana Gifts NZ has for Friends and Family
These are the best New Zealand Kiwiana souvenirs we love to give, and receive.
No.1: Kiwiana Homewares
- Kiwiana teatowels
- Kiwiana oven gloves
- Kiwiana cushions & Kiwiana cushion covers
- Kiwiana doormat
- Kiwiana luggage tags
- Kiwiana keep cup
- “The Longest Drink in Town” plastic cups set
These things make great Kiwiana wedding gifts or Kiwi Christmas gifts!
Looking for outdoor gear?
Head to The Warehouse NZ to find:
- All Blacks folding camping chairs, and
- All Blacks umbrellas.
No.2: Kiwiana Home Decor
Looking for kiwi gifts for the person who loves to decorate?
- Kiwiana art
- Kiwiana prints
- Kiwiwana wall decals
- Kiwiana stickers
- Kiwiana posters
- Kiwiana duvet covers
Those who really want to up their Kiwiana interiors style can even buy Kiwiana wallpaper!
Head to New Zealand Fine Prints to find all kinds of gorgeous illustrations including:
- the famous Mr Foursquare cartoon from the Supermarket logo
- All Blacks flag prints
- New Zealand maps
- Kiwi campers prints
- native New Zealand flora and fauna prints, and more.
Image credit: Gummies NZ
No.3: Kiwiana clothing & fashion
- Kiwiana earrings
- Kiwiana gumboots
- Kiwiana t shirts
- All Blacks clothing and merchandise
No self respecting Kiwi could ever be without a pair of gumboots but why stick with boring bland black ones?
Check out the Gummies website to find the most adorable kiwiana inspired gumboots for women and children.
Head to the Warehouse to find hats, beanies, jade jewellery, and paua jewellery.
Online, Kiwi Silks sell beautiful hand painted silk scarves and art panels, some of which features Kiwi birds such as Tui birds, Pukeko and Fantails.
No.4: Kiwiana Christmas decorations
Want to bring some New Zealand spirit into the festive season and make a Kiwiana Christmas?
- Green koru fern christmas decorations
- Red Koru Wharenui meeting house decorations
- Haka man decorations
- Tui bird decorations
- New Zealand birds on Christmas baubles
You might even find a Fish & Chip Santa, or a Bungee Santa!
My favourite is the Pukeko Hanging Christmas decoration (as pictured above) from Studio Sixty Seven giftware.
Buy some Kiwiana Xmas tree decorations for your tree too.
Try the Wellington Christmas Company.
No.5: Kiwiana Toys
A Kiwiana childhood is not complete without these iconic inclusions, the most important of which is the much loved Buzzy Bee pull along toy!
- Kiwiana costumes
- Kiwiana nesting dolls (Hot tip: buy a UNIQUE set of Maori nesting dolls needle felted from NZ merino wool here)
- Kiwiana jigsaw puzzle
- Kiwiana Buzzy Bee
- Kiwiana Games
- Kiwiana Colouring Pages
- Kiwiana Alphabet Frieze or bunting
Head to the Warehouse NZ to find a wide variety of New Zealand toys and games, inlcuding New Zealand Monopoly boards, and Kiwi children’s books.
Pohutukawa in Mount Maunganui has lots of New Zealand toys for kids, including Kiwi bird soft toys, cute baby clothes, Kiwiana finger puppets, Alphabet Kiwi flash cards and a kiwiana memory game, Pukuko soft toys, soft wool sheep plush toys, Tui soft toys, and even a Tuatara lizard soft toy!
In Christchurch, visit the Toy Collector shop at 36 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central, or Kmart.
Head to Aotea Gifts or Whitcoulls in Queenstown.
Kiwiana dress up ideas
Dress up in Swandri top and gumboots, or a black vest, short shorts, a bucket hat and gumboots, and you’ll be in the National dress.
Or check out these costumes from First Scene including:
- Kiwi bird
- Pukeko bird
- Southern Woman
- Air New Zealand flight attendant
- Fred Dagg
- Georgie Pie shop assistant
- Mr Four Square
- Milky Bar Kid
No.6: Kiwiana Lollies
There’s no need to spend a fortune on Kiwiana gifts and souvenirs for friends and family.
Some of the cheapest and best Kiwiana gifts come from the local supermarket – New World, Pak ‘N Save, & more.
Take a trolley in.
Pack it with small NZ souvenirs for classroom teachers, kindy teachers, neighbours, children of good friends, the local librarian, and anyone else you plan to buy a little kiwi souvenir for.
- Pascall minties
- Pascall milk bottles lollies
- Pascall wine gums
- Perky Nana bars
- Pineapple Lumps
- Chocolate Fish
- Eskimo lollies
- Smokers pink musk balls
- Whittakers peanut slab
These Kiwiana New Zealand treats won’t be in the cupboard for long!
No.7: Kiwiana food ideas (Kai)
Here’s a list of Kiwiana foods for friends and family who love to cook and eat.
Hot tip: Pick up the Edmonds Cookery Book – it’s a NZ staple in every household.
- Fish and chips (with Watties’ Tomato Sauce)
- Potato fritters from the fish shop (alt: potato cakes, or potato scallops but FILLED with soft potato and sometimes veg)
- Steak and mushroom pie
- Mince and cheese pies
- Maori Fry Bread
NZ Onion Dip Recipe?
- Onion dip made from reduced cream and Maggi packet onion soup mix (best with Bluebird potato chips!)
- Roast Lamb
- Whitebait fritters
- Feijoa fruit
- Silverside Corned beef with mustard sauce (served with potato and green beans)
- “Boil up” boiled meal of pumpkin, potato, sweet potato kumara, carrots, onions etc. Can add pork tenderloin, lamb shoulder chops, or sausages as the meat. Jazz it up by adding some ‘doughboys’ dumplings made from flour and water. (Find the recipe here)
But top of the list is a meal from a Maori hangi, cooked underground.
There’s nothing quite like a big plate of roast lamb and pork, complimented with chunks of taro, potato and sweet kumara potato!
Try one for yourself on a Tamaki Maori Village tour in Rotorua.
(Read our review here to find out all about it)
No.8: Cute Kiwiana baby gifts
Check out ASideProjectNZ for a collection of baby onesies and body suits, or Kiwiana baby bibs.
Or All Blacks baby clothes
A pair of lambwool booties for baby is another option.
Or buy one of these Kiwiana baby toys:
- Cuddly lamb soft toy
- cuddly Kiwi bird soft toy
- Pukeko soft toy made in NZ
- Kiwi Babies board books
- rubber duck in Maori patterns
- Inflatable kiwi toy decoration for the nursery
No.9: Kiwiana Crafts
- Kiwiana fabrics
- Kiwiana embroidery
Check out the range of Kiwiana fabric Spotlight has to offer.
They stock Buzzy Bee fabric, as well as fabrics emblazoned with:
- Silver Ferns
- Koru fronds
- Pukeko birds
- Tui birds
- Paua shells
- Maori symbols, and
- flowers such as the Pohutukawa and flax designs.
MORE of the Best Places to shop in New Zealand for Arty Crafty Design Loving Folk!
- Best New Zealand Fabric Stores
- Best New Zealand Wool Shops for yarn for knitters, and wool fleece for felters
No.11: Vintage Kiwiana
Search all the garage sales and yard sales you can and you might find a vintage souvenir Maori doll, vintage New zealand teatowels in good nick, ready to frame, vintage Paua shell brooches, or even a Maori Tiki door knocker!
Also, look out for the much loved Crown Lynn crockery and domestic ware (cups, saucers etc).
No.12: Cheap Kiwiana souvenirs
- Kiwiana fridge magnets
- Kiwiana socks
- Kiwiana keyrings
- Kiwiana pressed penny
Kiwiana Shop Guide
Best Kiwiana Shops Auckland?
Wondering where to buy kiwiana in Auckland?
Check IkoIko, The Poi Room and Creative & Brave in Auckland to find lots of New Zealand kiwiana kitchenware and things to use at home.
Visit Kiwiana Souvenirs at 165 Queen St, Auckland.
Where to find Kiwiana gifts NZ?
In Wellington, visit “Shut the Front Door” or the gorgeous Hapa, for a gorgeous curated collection of local and international designs, and plenty of stylish Kiwiana options.
Simply New Zealand has stores all over both North and South Island.
Our online go-to is Made It NZ, a curated site similar to Etsy but with all products made in New Zealand.
Another online option for cute Kiwiana kitchenware is Koop.
Etsy Kiwiana NZ
One of the best places to find handmade Kiwiana gifts is on Etsy.
There are some amazing Maori artists, graphic designers, painters, fabric designers, writers, ceramicists, carvers, and designers out there, working from tiny studios, to bring a modern take to beloved Kiwi icons.
Here’s a few of our favourites:
No.1: Flash of Culture
No.2: Tiny Kiwi Creations
Check out their New Zealand Kiwi Alphabet cards, and their Kiwi bird calendars.
They also sell adorable New Zealand Cross Stitch patterns!
No.3: Etsy Kiwiana Gifts
Here’s a few random finds we love too:
- Kiwi icon dog toys
- “Blow on the Pie” kiwi embroidered patch for blanket
- New Zealand adult colouring book
Best New Zealand Kiwiana gifts to send overseas
The best Kiwiana things to send overseas are:
- Kiwiana socks
- Designer scarves
- Kiwiana tote bag
- Kiwiana shopping bag
- Kiwiana tea towels
- Whittakers chocolate blocks, or Whittakers artisan chocolate blocks
- Kiwiana playing cards
- Kiwiana cookbook
- Kiwiana cookie cutters
- Buzzy bee socks
- Kiwiana apron
Where to buy a Kiwiana gift box of New Zealand Products?
Try My Goodness – they have an upmarket Kiwiana gift basket for the foodie!
Another option is Kiwiana hampers
Kiwiana Town – Orotohanga
There’s one place in New Zealand’s North Island best known for their dedication to Kiwiana.
Orotohanga is near Waitomo Caves, and south of Hamilton.
Check out the Kiwiana displays in the shop windows, and on Ed Hillary Walkway.
Look out for famous Kiwiana logos, and collections of famous New Zealand food products, toys, brands, animals and birds, sports and popular games, Maori culture, music, stories of famous people from New Zealand such as Aunt Daisy and Sir Edmund Hillary, and more.
You’ll see Kiwiana murals, sculptures, and artwork.
Hot tip: The souvenir shops here are your best bet to get your Kiwiana fix in one go!
Stop by one of the cafes to try NZ kiwiana staples such as Lolly Cake, or Weetbix slice with your cup of tea.
Address: State Highway 3, just 15 minutes north of Waitomo Caves Village.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT KIWIANA NEW ZEALAND
No.1: Where did Kiwiana originate?
There’s no set timeline to Kiwiana.
The collection of Kiwiana things has evolved over time, as certain brands, animals, birds, graphic designs, television commercials, products, fashion, and foods etc have entered the collective heart consciousness of the New Zealand people through repetitive visual stimulation, fond recognition, and/or regular use.
No.2: Best Kiwiana words and sayings?
No.1: Sweet As.
Meaning: Yes, that works. Perfect. Great. Good.
No.2: Bro. Cuz.
Meaning: Friend, mate, close buddy.
No.3: All good. No Worries.
Meaning: Everything is all good, or You’re welcome.
Meaning: Awesome, excellent, cool, fabulous.
No.5: Chilli Bin
Meaning: Same as a cooler, or Esky
Meaning: Hiking or bushwalking
No.7: Yeah Nah.
Meaning: No thanks.
No.8: You right?
Meaning: Are you ok?
No.3: Famous Maori words used in daily life?
Kia Ora (key-a-or-a)
Haere Mai (High-rey-my)
Haere Ra (high-rey-rah)
Maori word for New Zealand, “Land of the Long White Cloud”
Kai (rhymes with “high”)
food or dinner
Ka Pai (ka – pie)
Best New Zealand Souvenirs
In the meantime, check out our Best souvenirs from New Zealand guide
It’s full of the popular things to buy in New Zealand, as well as tonnes of unique ideas for New Zealand gifts and souvenirs.
Plus, there’s a list of cheap things to buy in New Zealand
There’s some more Kiwiana things listed too, and where to buy All Blacks gear.
You won’t have to wonder what souvenirs to buy in New Zealand any longer!
More New Zealand Shopping Tips
No.1: New Zealand Food Shopping tips
No.2: Best Markets in New Zealand
- Best Auckland Farmers Markets & Food Truck markets
- Round up of the Best New Zealand Farmers Markets
- Best Craft Markets in Auckland & throughout New Zealand for handmade goods
Looking for More Things to Do in New Zealand for Kids?
Click the blue links below.