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Why You Should NEVER Eat a Kiwi…

September 21, 2017

Put your fork down and back away from the kiwi.

I mean it!

As we’re travelled more and more, it’s come to our attention that the majority of the world doesn’t really know what a kiwi is.

This is a kiwi…

Whereas, this is a kiwifruit…

When we introduce ourselves as the ‘Exploring Kiwis’ we often get quizzical looks.  You can almost see the cogs starting to turn…

Why would they name themselves after a piece of fruit?  What next?  The Adventuring Bananas?

With that in mind, it’s time we set the record straight for our international readers.

Kiwis aren’t food…

So, What is a Kiwi Really?

A kiwi is a small, flightless bird that is endemic to New Zealand.  That means that not only is it native to the country, but it is not found anywhere else in the world.

They’re special little things.

Fun Fact:  You might even have noticed that kiwifruit look surprisingly similar to our little kiwi birds.  It’s no coincidence that the Chinese gooseberry flourished down in New Zealand and was appropriate renamed ‘kiwifruit’ due to its similar exterior.

Due to Aotearoa’s geographic isolation and lack of native mammals, kiwis lived for years without any major predators.  Over time, they adapted to their environment – without any real threats, there was no need to fly, no need for good eyesight – and now, millions of years on, they remain genetically unchanged.  Unfortunately, however, their environment has changed significantly due to human settlement and these quirky characters have long been classified as endangered.

An average of 27 kiwi are killed by predators EVERY WEEK. That’s a population decline of around 1,400 kiwi every year (or 2%). At this rate, kiwi may disappear from the mainland in our lifetime. Just one hundred years ago, kiwi numbered in the millions.

A single roaming dog can wipe out an entire kiwi population in a matter of days

Approximately 20% of the kiwi population is under management.

In areas under where predators are controlled, 50-60% of chicks survive. When areas are not under management 95% of kiwi die before reaching breeding age.

Only 20% survival rate of kiwi chicks is needed for the population to increase.

Kiwis for Kiwis

Fortunately though, things are improving for some kiwi populations.  On the Coromandel, where kiwis live in a controlled area, free of predators, their numbers are doubling every decade.

… But can I call you a Kiwi?


As our national bird, icons don’t get much more Kiwi than the kiwi.

When you visit our neighbours across the ditch in Australia, you’ll call them Ozzies.  When you refer to a New Zealander, you’re welcome to call us Kiwis – a name that has become so entrenched in our culture, it’s hard to imagine being called anything else.

To help you get to know these interesting little creatures a bit better, here are some kiwi facts to help you on your way…

  • They’re known as honorary mammals due to some of their habits and physical traits.  They have nostrils at the end of their long beaks, have feathers that resemble hair and lay massive eggs – proportionally they have some of the biggest eggs around, with babies being 20% of the mothers size (humans by comparison are only 5%).
  • Kiwis are nocturnal birds, spending the day sleeping whilst hunting at night.
  • Though you’re incredibly unlikely to find a Kiwi in the wild yourself, you never know.  Moonless nights are your best opportunity – a couple of hours after the sun sets or just as it’s about to rise.  Don’t let us get your hopes up though; neither Nathan or I have ever managed to spot one in the wild.
  • Part of the ratites group, these ancient animals can’t fly. You may be familiar with some of their larger cousins though – the ostritch, emu and another New Zealand giant, the extinct moa.

So, now you know.  We’re not named after a fruit at all, but a gutsy little flightless bird and a pretty cute one at that.

Though we can’t answer the age-old question of which came first – the chicken or the egg – we can say with absolute certainty that the kiwi came before the fruit!

Figure it’s time others know what a kiwi really is?  Pin this post to help them out…

Around the world people mistakenly think they're eating kiwis. Kiwis are actually New Zealand's national bird - a flightless, unique creature and the very reason New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwis. Around the world people mistakenly think they're eating kiwis. Kiwis are actually New Zealand's national bird - a flightless, unique creature and the very reason New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwis.

Thank you to WallpaperWeb , AgroProducts and ScienceDaily for supplying the images used.


Expat Life Off Topic

Thanks Mum! An open letter to my Travel Inspiration

May 4, 2016

Living abroad has been a fantastic opportunity (and one that without my mum’s influence, probably wouldn’t ever have happened) but the excitement of living away is often tinged by the sad reminder that we’ve left close family and friends (plus our much loved cats) back home in Aotearoa.

As Mother’s Day approaches and I reflect back on the recent week with Mum and Pete here in Abu Dhabi, it’s fair to say I’ve been reminded of how much I miss having them close by.

My parents have always been my travel inspiration. For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed hearing stories of their travels through Europe in a converted van and love looking back on photos of the three of us travelling Australia in our caravan when I was only a year old (most of which featured me covered in rust-coloured dirt from the Outback, or cooling down in buckets of water).

Mum and Pete with me in the Abu Dhabi desert

Neither of my parents were ever afraid of taking a travelling risk and have always been supportive of my own aspirations to see the world.  At 18 I was encouraged to head off to the US to spend a summer abroad and, more recently, my desire to relocate to the UAE was never questioned.  Sadly my dad passed away just over a year ago (knowing of our plans to move but not seeing us touch down in Abu Dhabi), but Mum and Pete, my step-dad, have supported me every step of the way.

My mum, Sue, worked as a flight attendant for many years, hanging up her uniform only when she had me.  Over the years she’s travelled to more places than most, many of which would have been considered relatively risky at certain points in time.  Mum’s always had an adventurous spirit, a tremendous amount of strength and courage and a genuine interest in seeing the world; thanks to her, there’s no doubt that travelling is in my blood.

I am aware of the privilege I experienced growing up in a family that was able to travel and, to this day, am grateful for the sense of adventure and independence that my experiences have helped instil in me.

Thank you, Mum, for showing me what it means to live a life without fear or regret and for your on-going love and support.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Lots of love, Sarah

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