Aloha and Kia ora everyone,
In light of my new book just released on St Paddy’s Day ~Hawaiian Lei ~ the first book in The Hawaiians series, I thought it might be fun to talk about a subject fellow Muse It Up author, Ken Hicks suggested. He asked whether “flat tack” was a Kiwi or Hawaiian phrase. Then Monya Clayton, another Muse author contributed the “flat out like a lizard drinking” Australian saying. Thanks Ken (a Yank) and Monya (an Aussie.) J
We Kiwis and the Aussies avoid using proper words AT ALL TIMES. LOL.
No, we New Zealanders are not named after the small, round, brown, fuzzy fruit. J We’re named after our national bird, THE Kiwi. A small(ish,) round, brown, fuzzy bird. It’s about the size of a chook(chicken,) flightless, and riddled with fleas! As national symbols go, it’s not up there with the mighty American eagle, but we’re terribly proud of it anyway.
It represents New Zealand’s uniqueness well. Stuck at the bottom of the world, largely cut off for years, we’ve developed our own language and culture. We’re similar to the Aussies, but not quite the same… Like New Zealand, their culture is largely influenced by immigrants from the UK but also Europeans that came out in large numbers in the fifties and sixties.
New Zealand though has a native New Zealand Maori background, giving us a Polynesian mix in our culture. It’s only recently that Australia has started to give more acknowledgement to the native people of Australia—the Aborigine and it hasn’t influenced the culture as strongly.
So, our national symbol—THE Kiwi bird is as unique as we are.
It has external nostrils on its long bill to sniff out food. Belonging to the ratite family, it’s the smallest member which includes ostriches and emus. Its eggs are HUGE and the male does most of the incubating and egg sitting. Despite a stroppy (volatile, pissed off) relationship between them, Mum and Dad Kiwi bird are monogamous and live in pairs, mating mostly for life. But the woman bird wears the pants—she’s bigger and dominates the male. No wonder New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote!
Our culture and character is unique and I bring these differences to my books when I write my Kiwi and American characters. I recently started a part-time job where I’m on the phones helping customers. Because I’m learning, I often have to put them on hold to ask my supervisor what the hell I’m doing. LOL. And unbeknown to the poor customer, I can hear their comments in the background, while I’m fossicking around (trying to work out where the bloody info is I need.) (Fossick – find.)
They like my accent, but can’t always work out where it’s from. I’ve heard I’m sexy, cute, Irish, Australian… “She says wee.” “She said, ‘Just a tick.” When a customer manages to hit New Zealand, I think I should give them a special prize. LOL. It’s also made me acutely aware of how strong my accent still is and how many Kiwisms, idioms, phrases and words I use without being aware of it.
Monya reminded me we all use “flat out” but they also use “flat out like a lizard drinking,” and “flat strap.” 🙂
Flat out like a lizard drinking:
Extremely busy, at top speed. Working hard. This is a word play on two different meanings of the standard English “flat out.” The literal sense is to lie fully stretched out (like a lizard,) and the figurative sense means as fast as possible. The phrase also alludes to the rapid tongue-movement of a drinking lizard. It is sometimes shortened, as in “we’re flat out like a lizard trying to meet the deadline.”
This was from http://andc.anu.edu.au/australian-words/meanings-origins
Yes, how that is shortened, I’m not sure. It’s one of those weird idiosyncrasies of Australasian English. We like shortening words and if we can’t do that—we lengthen them instead. J We have convos, bizzos, arvos and cuppas.
“So, I said, look mate, if you want to have a decent convo about this bizzo, too right. We can have a cuppa this arvo, then have some tea down the pub. Ring bugalugs and see if he’ll be around. Last time I saw him, he looked like he’d been pulled through a gorse bush backwards. He might’ve have been a wee bit crook. We can put the jug on and rustle up some biccies too if you’re lucky…”
Right. So I hope you were all keeping up with that conversation. The number of times I use expressions and everyone looks blankly at me is quite funny.
What was just said:
“I said, look mate (friend or just a general male person,) if you want to have a decent (good) convo (conversation) about this bizzo (business, matter to be discussed,) too right. (I agree.) We can have a cuppa (cup of tea) this arvo, (afternoon,) then have some tea (dinner, not the stuff you drink and we only drink black tea generally with milk and sugar) down the pub, (at the hotel or bar). Ring bugalugs (general name for someone, could be a friend or just a general person) and see if he’ll be around. Last time I saw him, he looked like he’d been pulled through a gorse bush backwards. (He looked unkempt, or scruffy.) He might have been a wee bit crook. (unwell, ill.) We can put the jug on (electric kettle to boil water. The moment you walk in the door in anyone’s house in NZ, they say, “I’ll just put the jug on.” You’ll be expected to have a cup of tea or coffee.) and rustle up some biccies (short for biscuits, which are cookies) too if you’re lucky…”
Here’s a Kiwi slang page. https://englishlanguagehelp.info/kiwi-slang/kiwi-slang-f/. Change the letter at the end for the rest of the alphabet.
As well as talking nineteen to the dozen—we talk very fast! We then have short vowel sounds or arbitrarily miss some out altogether. Our accent marks are in different locations sometimes. LOL.
Batteries for the Americans are Batt-ter-ries. We say Batt-ries.
Pro-duce in the States is prod-uce in New Zealand.
To-may-to, To-ma-to… let’s work the whole thing out. J
On top of this incomprehensible list of sayings, we have a distinct accent. Yes, we do sound like the Aussies (and that’s Oz-zees… not Oss-sees) but our accents are subtlety different. J The Australians have a more nasally sound while ours is flat and monotone.
They say feesh and cheeps. We say fush and chups.
Yes, we do get a bit “thingee” being mistaken for Aussies even though we are similar. But no we don’t hate them—only when they beat us in rugby. And especially if the All Blacks—our international rugby team—are playing. It’s our national religion in New Zealand and is taken very, Very, VERY seriously. However, if the Wallabies (the Aussie international rugby team) are playing against the English or Springbok, (the South Africans) we support them. It’s terribly complicated. J
The New All Blacks do a Maori haka before every game, as do most Kiwi sports teams now. 🙂 It’s a challenge to the other team. Ka mate, ka mate, roughly means “to the death” and variations of dying. It means they will fight to the death.
We don’t really don’t mean it in general. In rugby? Well… J There’s a lot of good-natured ribbing back and forth between the two nations. Not all our words are the same though. One that’s different is “dag.”
If you say someone’s “a bit of a dag,” in NZ, it means they’re funny, a bit of a character.
In Australia, it means they’re not that nice or a bit of a drongo. (Idiot)Dags are the fecal matter that sticks to sheep’s wooly bums. (backsides, butts) Not that complimentary if you think about it. Lol. You’ll also hear “rattle your dags,” in Australia, meaning to get a move on.
Whereas our dag comes from a comedian in NZ called Fred Dagg who took the mickey out of farmers and farming things. He was a scream.
Right… so I hope you’re all keeping up! There’ll be a quiz at the end of this blog. J We “take the mickey” (tease or rib) out of all sorts of things. We’re quite irreverent and anything is fair game.
On my first trip to Australia, I insulted lots of the Aussies. When someone asked me, so what do you think of so and so. I’d say, “Yeah, they’re a bit of a dag.”
The Aussies would look a bit startled. “Really? You really think so.”
And I’d enthusiastically say, “Yes, yes, a real dag.”
Thus making things even worse… I couldn’t work out their puzzled looks. It wasn’t until I got to the end of my trip (of course) that I realized I’d insulted half of Australia when my uncle explained the two meanings.
Oops. Sorry!! 🙂
So, back to our original thing Ken asked about. Flat out…
It’s suggested it came from the dawn of the motor car where you had your foot “flat out” to the floorboards and you’d be going “like the clappers.” (very fast.) Or a horse race where the rider lies flat against the horse, cutting down the aerodynamic effects. Possibly that’s where flat tack comes from. Flat to the tack?? (Horse tack or tackle possibly.) Not sure.
You can be flat out racing. “Going like the clappers.” (Fast).
Flat out broke. Not a cent to your name.
Flat out indignant—absolutely indignant.
It tends to heighten what is going on. Flat out brilliant—really brilliant.
We used to tell people “ladies a plate—men a crate.” The men would bring beer that used to come in big bottles in a crate. Many a poor woman turned up with an empty plate—not realizing it meant bring something yummy to eat on a plate to share, often baking.
And we’re a wee bit fierce about our baking and sweeties.
Our national dessert – the Pavlova! Now the Aussies reckon it’s their dessert. They DID name it. It was named after Anna Pavlova the ballet dance. BUT fierce and intensive NON-BIASED research suggests the Kiwis made it first as a ‘Meringue cake.’ The Aussies will kill me for this. 🙂
We also do the Hokey Pokey!! No, not the dance, but the confectionary. LOL.
Hokey Pokey is a New Zealand institution. As we say in the old country ~ World Famous in New Zealand! Honeycomb candy that it put in everything we can think of. Fabulous in ice cream!! I love it!
I have never figured out EXACTLY where this comes from but somewhere in the UK, brought out with the people that immigrated to New Zealand in the 1840’s. A long way from anywhere, they had to largely fend for themselves and “Kiwi Ingenuity” was born.
KIwi Ingenuity” is a unique part of our culture. It means we can fix just about anything “with a piece of number eight fencing wire.” We are young European wise and still have a large pioneering spirit on board. Being on the other side of the world, far from anywhere (even Australia – 3 and 1/2 hours away by modern aircraft) we had to “make do,” often making things ourselves out of what was available. This fierce independence lives on today in Kiwi Culture. We pride ourselves on it.
Our Kiwi culture includes lots of funny wee sayings.
If you’re doing anything for Africa, it means you’re doing a lot of it. “She was shopping for Africa.” “They were partying for Africa.” It’s applied to all sorts of things. 🙂
They’re “a wee bit feral.” (Often refers to someone’s ‘darling’ offspring) meaning they’re out of control and a wee bit on the wild side.
If someone is “as mad as a meataxe.” They’re bonkers (slightly nuts, not dangerous, but just slightly unhinged or odd.)
And if something is “as silly as a two bob watch.” That refers to something that’s a wee bit ridiculous. A two bob watch was something pretty cheap and nasty and cost two bob, (in old currency before we went to metric, dollars and cents.) Given it was so cheap, it was unreliable and did silly things like not keep time correctly, slowing down or speeding up.
Some of our sayings have deep English, Scottish and Irish roots and you’ll hear them in the American South as well. “As slow as a wet week”(it’s taking ages and is dragging) or “like a month of Sundays.” (A very long time.)
My speech has the Scottish “wee” in it as all Southern New Zealanders do from the South Island. When the Scottish immigrated to New Zealand, they brought their delightful accent with them. They started out in Dunedin in the far south of the South Island and the wee has spread up the whole island for some reason. Even my dad who’s an Aucklander and Northerner originally, uses the wee now in his speech.
We get stroppy when we’re angry. And throw wobblies and berkies.(temper tantrums.)
We swear a lot more than Americans and are a largely secular country—using words like god, Christ, good lord has no real religious meaning. It’s just a set of words that gives emphasis.
We use bloody and bugger a lot—in all sorts of circumstances. They’re mild inoffensive swear words, that have multi-purpose meanings. It’s like saying damn or darn in the States.
“That bugger of a mongrel ate the bloody leg of lamb for tea.”
(“That darn dog ate the damn leg of lamb for dinner.”)
Things can be buggered (they don’t work.)
“Well bugger me!” (An expression of surprise.)
“Bugger, Bob.” (I’m annoyed with Bob.)
“I buggered up the paperwork.” (I made a mess of the paperwork.)
“Bugger!” (Darn, that’s a shame.)
“I’ll bugger off home then.” (I’ll go home.)
In my new book Hawaiian Lei which is out tomorrow, I have a glossary of words used at the end of the book. I also have words lists on my website at www.troikaromance.com.
I’m as pleased as punch to have my new book coming out. It’s a sensuous, heartfelt male/male gay romance set in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.
I’m born and bred in New Zealand but my American home state is Hawai’i. Combining these two special cultures into one story has really called to my heart and soul. I’ve lived in the States for 20 odd years now and have become a hybrid of both New Zealand and America. I received my citizenship in the courthouse over in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It ‘s the perfect blend of the Polynesian Pacific Island culture which sings to my soul, combined with the convenience of the American lifestyle I’ve become used to. I am happiest at home in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawai’i. J
All my stories are ultimately about soul deep relationships, the intense love and connection we all crave with another human being. The core need to be accepted just as we are.
I hope you enjoy our Kiwiana and enjoy the new book Hawaiian Lei. I loved writing using my Kiwi and Hawaiian voices. It’s lovely to showcase my own countrymen and the gorgeous aloha state of Hawai’i. 🙂
Mahalo and aloha Meg. :-).
Meg Amor, a multi-published contemporary author, has always believed in love and romance. She writes deep, sensual, romance stories about heartfelt connections and deep soul relationships. Meg feels that passionate sex, as well as her characters inner workings—their vulnerabilities, emotions, and thoughts—are what make a love story exciting and real. She loves to write sensual, erotic romance, with committed poly, and gay male/male relationships.
Meg hand-wrote and “published” her first book when she was eleven about her parent’s separation. Constantly told as a child she had a vivid and (over) active imagination, the dawn of the computer era meant she could now take dictation at speed from the interesting characters galloping around her head.
She grew up in New Zealand, and temporarily lives in California with her American fur children: Leo Ray Jr., and Mr. Beaumont, the Ginger Ninjas. Her heart and soul are split between her American home state of Hawai’i in Kona on the Big Island, and the sultry, steamy Southern city of New Orleans. Nearly all her books are set in Hawai’i or New Orleans, along with snatches of New Zealand for good luck.
Meg’s a gypsy at heart and loves to travel all over the world. She has a love of open cockpit biplanes and the gentle waft into the air from a grass strip. Given a choice, she’d eat out most nights. Fine dining, French, Fusion, Afghani, and Burmese food are some of her all-time favorites. But her favorite junk food is New Zealand fish and chips cooked in pure fat. Never one to do things by halves, she believes in the motto “Amor Vincet Omnia”—Love Conquers All.