Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Alternative meanings of Kiwi at Kiwi (disambiguation)
Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand. The name derives ultimately from the flightless bird native to New Zealand, and popularized internationally by a well-known brand of Australian shoe polish.
In World War I the British Army ordered several tons of polish to be used by the soldiers on their boots, belts, saddles and other horse tack, and New Zealand troops began to be called Kiwis. The polish was popular and postwar enjoyed growing sales worldwide.
Kiwi polish was even more widely used in World War II and the nickname Kiwis for New Zealand servicemen became common usage in all war theatres. Following the war it was gradually attributed to all New Zealanders and today, throughout the world they are referred to as Kiwis.
The word Kiwi, used to describe people, is usually capitalised, and takes the plural form Kiwis. The bird's name is spelt with a lower-case k (excepting, of course, when the rules of grammar state otherwise) and, being a word of Māori origin, normally stays as kiwi when a plural is formed. Thus, two Kiwis = two people, whereas two kiwi = two birds.
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