Thursday, May 8, 2008

When 'Kiwi' Isn't Kiwi At All

I’ve just received an American press release that highlights the Kiwi Collection – a source of luxury accommodation in “obscure places.” As a New Zealander – or a Kiwi, to use the informal terminology – my chest puffed out with pride and I decided to log on to see who was behind this brainchild. Turns out Head Office is in Vancouver, Canada and while there is an office in Sydney, Australia, any other links to New Zealand appear to be tenuous. Admittedly they have 20 or so New Zealand properties listed but that’s about it. In discussing the company on their website, the President, Philippe Kjellgren, has this to say about the use of the word ‘Kiwi’ in the company title: Why the Kiwi in Kiwi Collection? KIWI IS A RELATIVELY NEW WORD. It is pronounced the same in almost every major language………. And like the kiwifruit, the company tries to be fresh and full of flavour in everything it does. After all, every journey in life should be a rich, rare and succulent experience, so enjoy your travels.” MMMMMmmmmmm …well, I suppose it depends by what you mean by “relatively new.” In my head ‘Kiwi’ is a Maori word, hundreds of years old. But perhaps we're supposed to be flattered (in some obscure way) that someone in big old Canada wants to use our words (in this way).

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