Subject Material

New Zealand - Different Kinds of Kiwi

Published: 01.09.2009, Updated: 03.03.2017
  • Embed
  • Easy Reader
  • Listen
  • Print

How would you describe the colour, texture and flavour of a kiwi?

Sign with a Kiwi bird on it. Photo.Kiwi, Flightless Bird
Opphavsmann: xoque, flickr
  If you go to the supermarket and ask for a kiwi, you know that you will be given a sweet, green, delicious, healthy fruit. What you might not know, however, is that the kiwi fruit is one of New Zealand’s great successes on the world market. The kiwi originated in China’s Yangtze valley, and was known as the Chinese gooseberry.

Fifty years ago it found its way to New Zealand, and about 25 years ago it became a commercial success. The New Zealanders renamed the fruit and exported it all over the world. Nowadays, New Zealand is responsible for 2/3 of all kiwis grown worldwide. Kiwi farmers are experimenting with a range of different colours, appearances and tastes.

How About a Red Kiwi?

There is another type of kiwi to be found in New Zealand which is not usually eaten. It is, in fact, New Zealand’s most famous and most popular bird. The inhabitants love it so much that they have made it their national animal and bird. Strange, you might think, since this bird is not particularly good-looking. It is hard to catch a glimpse of the kiwi, as it is nocturnal and only comes out at night to find food and bread. It is totally incapable of escaping predators, as it is wingless, and can’t fly. That is why the species is threatened by extinction. Since this is New Zealand’s national bird, everyone does their best to protect the kiwi.

There Is One Final Version of the Kiwi…

…the inhabitants of New Zealand themselves. They have been nicknamed Kiwis by the Australians, but they also use the name themselves, and are extremely proud of it. New Zealanders are easygoing people, hospitable and friendly. The 3.8 million inhabitants all call themselves Kiwis, no matter what their origins are.



  1. In which country did the kiwi originate?
  2. How many different meanings does kiwi have?
  3. Now that you can describe a green kiwi, explain the unique characteristics of a red one!


Watch the video below and discuss how important national icons, such as this kiwi, are. Do you know of any national icons of other countries? Make a list.


Related content