Dave Gunson (Text and Illustrations)
Paperback, NZ $25
ISBN 978 1 86966 448 0
“New Zealand Treasures and Traditions” is the subtitle Dave Gunson has given to All About Kiwiana, his pictorial celebration of some of the things that make new Zealand unique. Adding “Traditions” gives Gunson – always original in his thinking – the chance to mention (and illustrate) A & P Shows, Santa Parades and “New Zillun Speech” as typical of New Zealand.
Of course, the Kiwi, Hei Tiki, Haka, Pavlova, Jandal, Buzzy Bee and Silver Fern are all present, as one might expect, but Gunson has a few surprises too. The humble Meat Pie rates a mention as does Whittaker’s Peanut Slab and a bag of lollies which includes Jaffas, Chocolate Fish and Pineapple Chunks, (rechristened Pineapple Lumps). In fact the things we consume are distinctive, including Kiwifruit, Vogel’s Bread, Whitebait, Pipi, Toheroa, Weet-Bix and Hokey Pokey ice cream, all washed down with L&P.
It doesn’t matter which bit of Kiwiana has been selected, Gunson has not only painted a colourful illustration of it but he has also written a witty tribute to it. He cheerfully acknowledges that Marmite started in Britain in 1902 and Kiwi shoe polish in Australia in 1906 but claims them both as kiwi icons anyway.
Every home should have one of these entertaining books, because its index makes it a great argument settler, while the Introduction offers another fifty items of Kiwiana that didn’t make the cut. Buy an extra copy to send to Kiwis overseas. All About Kiwiana might just lure them back.
Trevor Agnew16 May 2016