Nobody actually eats Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, and they certainly don’t buy it from a Four Square. Watties’ Tomato Sauce tastes like bubble gum, and comes from Australia anyway. The Buzzee Bee is a shit toy – kids today just want to shoot hookers, in 47 inch plasma hi-definition, on Grand Theft Auto III.
Kiwiana, therefore, is not the love of any actual objects. It is, rather, the love of nostalgia towards objects most of us no longer give a toss about.
Tied in with the Kiwi desire for Positive Identity Reinforcement, borne of a young nation, desperately low on history or a sense of place in the world, New Zealanders habitually apply exaggerated meaning to the few, locally produced, trinkets that the rest of the world weren’t interested in buying off us.
Furthermore, with one of the lowest average wages in the OECD, and in the absence of even one IKEA store, Kiwiana allows New Zealanders to decorate their homes & baches with cheap junk from the car boot sale, and call it Kitsch. Any debate about poor taste, or lack of style, is silenced by default, on the grounds that it is actually a critism of the entire Kiwi way of life, and therefore unpatriotic, and possibly even racist.
Advertisers are deft at capitolising on this national sense of icon insecurity, by marketing average (Watties), inferior (Lion Red), or sometimes even foreign (McDonalds Kiwiburger) products, with a slogan along the lines of ‘If you were a real Kiwi, you would buy it’. Invariably, the product sells out, as hoardes flock to the shops in a panic to be ‘more Kiwi than every other cunt’.