Aloha and Kia ora everyone,
My gay romance series, The Hawaiians is set in Hawai’i and New Zealand. Book one ~ Hawaiian Lei ~ is grabbing people’s attention ~ 6 x 5 STAR reviews in the last week have had me hopping up and down with excitement. It’s lovely.
People are fascinated by the cultural references and the weaving in of Hawaiian, Maori and New Zealand cultures and words. The second book in the series ~ Hawaiian Orchid is due out later this year. So, I thought it might be fun to talk about a subject a fellow author suggested. He asked whether “flat tack” was a Kiwi or Hawaiian phrase. And an Aussie author contributed the “flat out like a lizard drinking.”
Firstly, we Kiwis and the Aussies avoid using proper words AT ALL TIMES.
No, we New Zealanders are not named after the small, round, brown, fuzzy fruit. :) We’re named after our national bird, THE Kiwi. A small(ish,) round, brown, fuzzy bird. It’s about the size of a chook (chicken,) flightless, and riddled with fleas! As national symbols go, it’s not up there with the mighty American eagle, but we’re terribly proud of it anyway.
It represents New Zealand’s uniqueness well. Stuck at the bottom of the world, largely cut off for years, we’ve developed our own language and culture. We’re similar to the Aussies, but not quite the same… Like New Zealand, their culture is largely influenced by immigrants from the UK but also Europeans that came out in large numbers in the fifties and sixties.
New Zealand though has a native New Zealand Maori background, giving us a Polynesian mix in our culture. It’s only recently that Australia has started to give more acknowledgement to the native people of Australia—the Aborigine and it hasn’t influenced the culture as strongly.
So, our national symbol—THE Kiwi bird is as unique as we are.
It has external nostrils on its long bill to sniff out food. Belonging to the ratite family, it’s the smallest member which includes ostriches and emus. Its eggs are HUGE and the male does most of the incubating and egg sitting. Despite a stroppy (volatile, pissed off) relationship between them, Mum and Dad Kiwi bird are monogamous and live in pairs, mating mostly for life. But the woman bird wears the pants—she’s bigger and dominates the male. No wonder New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote!
Our culture and character is unique and I bring these differences to my books when I write my Kiwi and American characters. When my editor or a reader comes back with something unknown to them, it makes me acutely aware of how strong my accent still is. Also how many Kiwisms, idioms, phrases and words I use without being aware of it.
Monya the Aussie reminded me we all use “flat out” but they also use “flat out like a lizard drinking,” and “flat strap.” :-)
Flat out like a lizard drinking:
Extremely busy, at top speed. Working hard. This is a word play on two different meanings of the standard English “flat out.” The literal sense is to lie fully stretched out (like a lizard,) and the figurative sense means as fast as possible. The phrase also alludes to the rapid tongue-movement of a drinking lizard. It is sometimes shortened, as in “we’re flat out like a lizard trying to meet the deadline.”
This was from http://andc.anu.edu.au/australian-words/meanings-origins
Yes, how that is shortened, I’m not sure. It’s one of those weird idiosyncrasies of Australasian English. We like shortening words and if we can’t do that—we lengthen them instead. We have convos, bizzos, arvos and cuppas.
“So, I said, look mate, if you want to have a decent convo about this bizzo, too right. We can have a cuppa this arvo, then have some tea down the pub. Ring bugalugs and see if he’ll be around. Last time I saw him, he looked like he’d been pulled through a gorse bush backwards. He might’ve have been a wee bit crook. We can put the jug on and rustle up some biccies too if you’re lucky…”
Right. So I hope you were all keeping up with that conversation. The number of times I use expressions and everyone looks blankly at me is quite funny.
What was just said:
“I said, look mate (friend or just a general male person,)
if you want to have a decent (good)
about this bizzo (business, matter to be discussed,)
too right. (I agree.)
We can have a cuppa (cup of tea)
this arvo, (afternoon,)
then have some tea (dinner, not the stuff you drink and we only drink black tea generally with milk and sugar)
down the pub, (at the hotel or bar).
Ring bugalugs (general name for someone, could be a friend or just a general person) and see if he’ll be around.
Last time I saw him, he looked like he’d been pulled through a gorse bush backwards. (He looked unkempt, or scruffy.)
He might have been a wee bit crook. (unwell, ill.)
We can put the jug on (electric kettle to boil water. The moment you walk in the door in anyone’s house in NZ, they say, “I’ll just put the jug on.” You’ll be expected to have a cup of tea or coffee.)
and rustle up some biccies (short for biscuits, which are cookies) too if you’re lucky…”
Here's a Kiwi slang page. https://englishlanguagehelp.info/kiwi-slang/kiwi-slang-f/. Change the letter at the end for the rest of the alphabet.
As well as talking nineteen to the dozen—we talk very fast! We then have short vowel sounds or arbitrarily miss some out altogether. Our accent marks are in different locations sometimes.
Batteries for the Americans are Batt-ter-ries. We say Batt-ries.
Pro-duce in the States is prod-uce in New Zealand.
To-may-to, To-ma-to… let’s work the whole thing out. :)
On top of this incomprehensible list of sayings, we have a distinct accent. Yes, we do sound like the Aussies (and that’s Oz-zees… not Oss-sees) but our accents are subtlety different. :) The Australians have a more nasally sound while ours is flat and monotone.
They say feesh and cheeps. We say fush and chups.
Yes, we do get a bit “thingee” being mistaken for Aussies even though we are similar. But no we don’t hate them—only when they beat us in rugby. And especially if the All Blacks—our international rugby team—are playing. It’s our national religion in New Zealand and is taken very, Very, VERY seriously. However, if the Wallabies (the Aussie international rugby team) are playing against the English or Springbok, (the South Africans) we support them. It’s terribly complicated. :)
The New All Blacks do a Maori haka before every game, as do most Kiwi sports teams now. It's a challenge to the other team. Ka mate, ka mate, roughly means "to the death" and variations of dying. It means they will fight to the death.
We don’t really don’t mean it in general. In rugby? Well… J There's a lot of good-natured ribbing back and forth between the two nations.
So, back to our original thing that was asked. Flat out…
It's suggested it came from the dawn of the motor car where you had your foot “flat out” to the floorboards and you’d be going “like the clappers.” (very fast.) Or a horse race where the rider lies flat against the horse, cutting down the aerodynamic effects. Possibly that's where flat tack comes from. Flat to the tack?? (Horse tack or tackle possibly.) Not sure.
You can be flat out racing. “Going like the clappers.” (Fast).
Flat out broke. Not a cent to your name.
Flat out indignant—absolutely indignant.
It tends to heighten what is going on. Flat out brilliant—really brilliant.
We used to tell people "ladies a plate—men a crate." The men would bring beer that used to come in big bottles in a crate. Many a poor woman turned up with an empty plate—not realizing it meant bring something yummy to eat on a plate to share, often baking.
And we’re a wee bit fierce about our baking and sweeties.
Our national dessert is the Pavlova! Now the Aussies reckon it's their dessert. They DID name it. It was named after Anna Pavlova the ballet dancer. BUT fierce and intensive NON-BIASED research suggests the Kiwis made it first as a 'Meringue cake.' The Aussies will kill me for this. :-)
We also do the Hokey Pokey!! No, not the dance, but the confectionery.
Hokey Pokey is a New Zealand institution. As we say in the old country ~ World Famous in New Zealand! Honeycomb candy that is put in everything we can think of. Fabulous in ice cream!!
I have never figured out EXACTLY where this comes from but somewhere in the UK. It was brought out with the people that immigrated to New Zealand in the 1840’s. A long way from anywhere, they had to largely fend for themselves and “Kiwi Ingenuity” was born.
"Kiwi Ingenuity" is a unique part of our culture. It means we can fix just about anything "with a piece of number eight fencing wire." We are young European wise and still have a large pioneering spirit on board. Being on the other side of the world, far from anywhere (even Australia - 3 and 1/2 hours away by modern aircraft) we had to "make do," often making things ourselves out of what was available. This fierce independence lives on today in Kiwi Culture. We pride ourselves on it.
Our Kiwi culture includes lots of funny wee sayings.
If you're doing anything for Africa, it means you're doing a lot of it. "She was shopping for Africa.” "They were partying for Africa." It's applied to all sorts of things.
They’re “a wee bit feral.” (Often refers to someone’s 'darling' offspring) meaning they’re out of control and a wee bit on the wild side.
If someone is “as mad as a meataxe.” They’re bonkers (slightly nuts, not dangerous, but just slightly unhinged or odd.)
And if something is “as silly as a two bob watch.” That refers to something that’s a wee bit ridiculous. A two bob watch was something pretty cheap and nasty and cost two bob, (in old currency before we went to metric, dollars and cents.) Given it was so cheap, it was unreliable and did silly things like not keep time correctly, slowing down or speeding up.
Some of our sayings have deep English, Scottish and Irish roots and you’ll hear them in the American South as well. “As slow as a wet week” (it’s taking ages and is dragging) or “like a month of Sundays.” (A very long time.)
My speech has the Scottish “wee” in it as all Southern New Zealanders do from the South Island. When the Scottish immigrated to New Zealand, they brought their delightful accent with them. They started out in Dunedin in the far south of the South Island and the wee has spread up the whole island for some reason. Even my dad who’s an Aucklander and Northerner originally, uses the wee now in his speech.
We get stroppy when we’re angry. And throw wobblies and berkies. (temper tantrums.)
We swear a lot more than Americans and are a largely secular country—using words like god, Christ, good lord has no real religious meaning. It’s just a set of words that gives emphasis.
We use bloody and bugger a lot—in all sorts of circumstances. They’re mild inoffensive swear words, that have multi-purpose meanings. It’s like saying damn or darn in the States.
"That bugger of a mongrel ate the bloody leg of lamb for tea.”
(“That darn dog ate the damn leg of lamb for dinner.”)
Things can be buggered (they don’t work.)
“Well bugger me!” (An expression of surprise.)
“Bugger, Bob.” (I’m annoyed with Bob.)
“I buggered up the paperwork.” (I made a mess of the paperwork.)
“Bugger!” (Darn, that’s a shame.)
“I’ll bugger off home then.” (I’ll go home.)
In Hawaiian Lei, I have a glossary of words used at the end of the book. I also have word lists on my website at www.troikaromance.com.
All my stories are ultimately about soul deep relationships, the intense love and connection we all crave with another human being. The core need to be accepted just as we are.
I hope you enjoy our Kiwiana and Hawaiian Lei. I love writing, using my Kiwi and Hawaiian voices. It's lovely to showcase my own countrymen and the gorgeous aloha state of Hawai'i. :-)
Mahalo and aloha Meg. :-).
Beau Toyama, biplane pilot and flight instructor on the Big Island of Hawai’i has only been out for a year. His last relationship with a man was a disaster. When he meets Matt Quintal, who’s visiting his sister, he’s stunned by the instant attraction to him. But Beau’s afraid to ask for what he needs in a relationship; his anger frightens him. The “mixed plate” Hawaiian/Japanese/Tahitian man works on being Zen calm but Matt brings all his emotions to the surface. It uncovers a devastating secret from his childhood and deep shame that needs healing.
Matt Quintal, New Zealand painter has been living the wild gay life in LA. After one more night of soulless mechanical sex where his body is engaged but his emotions aren’t—he knows he needs a change. His sister wants him to come to Hawai’i for a visit; another big rock in the middle of the Pacific doesn’t seem like a solution but he has to do something. When he flies with Beau in his biplane, he feels a strong pull toward both man and plane that he can neither explain nor deny.
Matt’s a New Zealander, they’re encouraged to be tough, rugged and durable. He is, but he's emotionally a wreck, afraid to show his emotions, so he’s surprised when Beau encourages him to be all of himself. Has he finally found the freedom to be the man he wants to be? The heat between the two men is like watching Pele let her hair down, releasing her hot, molten lava. Will the gorgeous Hawaiian with his long silky black hair and soulful brown eyes finally convince the gypsy nature in Matt to put down roots in another island culture?
Meg hand-wrote and “published” her first book when she was eleven about her parent’s separation. Constantly told as a child she had a vivid and (over) active imagination, the dawn of the computer era meant she could now take dictation at speed from the interesting characters galloping around her head.
She grew up in New Zealand, and temporarily lives in California with her American fur children: Leo Ray Jr., and Mr. Beaumont, the Ginger Ninjas. Her heart and soul are split between her American home state of Hawai’i in Kona on the Big Island, and the sultry, steamy Southern city of New Orleans. Nearly all her books are set in Hawai’i or New Orleans, along with snatches of New Zealand for good luck.
Meg’s a gypsy at heart and loves to travel all over the world. She has a love of open cockpit biplanes and the gentle waft into the air from a grass strip. Given a choice, she’d eat out most nights. Fine dining, French, Fusion, Afghani, and Burmese food are some of her all-time favorites. But her favorite junk food is New Zealand fish and chips cooked in pure fat. Never one to do things by halves, she believes in the motto “Amor Vincet Omnia”—Love Conquers All.
Hawaiian Orchid ~ (releasing summer 2015)is the next heartfelt soul connected, sensual love story in The Hawaiians series, featuring Kulani Mahikoa and Rob Masterson.
Kulani is “The Orchid,” a young, insecure, pro-surfer who comes from a rough background on the island. But he’s also a healer and has a heart as deep as the ocean he’s part of. Like the great, Duke Kahanamoku and Eddie Aidau, he’s a Hawaiian waterman with the spirit of aloha in his soul.
He meets the lone and lonely New Zealand widower, Rob Masterson, a wounded psychologist who’s trying to come to terms with his husband’s death. It was bad enough that Tony died, but they were in the middle of a divorce too. Rob’s weighed down with guilt and unhealed wounds. When he drops anchor in Kona Harbor and meets the young, bolshie Kulani—sparks fly.
Two wounded men have to learn to trust and heal with each other. Kulani has more layers than Rob ever bargained for, but the sweetness in him lassoes Rob’s heart and won’t let go. Rob’s fighting to regain his sense of self, struggling against his New Zealand heritage and ties he needs to cut with his past. They travel between New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands healing their hearts together, becoming family to each other and the “lost boys.”
Kulani is Beau Toyama’s cousin from Hawaiian Lei. He’s also a “dad” to young men who are now homeless, abandoned, and abused because they’re gay. Kulani and Rob, together with Beau and Mattie form the adult couples for this series. Future books tell the story of each of the lost boys.
Hawaiian Ginger ~ Zane Andrews ~ Zane and Kaleho (Hawaiian Mac) have been friends all their life and are now boyfriends. Zane is partially deaf and comes from a terrifying fire and brimstone, religious family. Kahelo’s father’s an ignorant Hawaiian he-man. “My son’s not gay, it’s all that retard, faggot, deaf kid, Zane’s fault.” When they were found cuddled up together, an ultimatum was given—don’t see each other or be thrown out of home. They chose each other. When they stole some things from Kulani, he recognized the lost boys and they now live with him—with their life back on track. Kaleho is set for college with a scholarship and Zane will go to a dance academy.
Hawaiian Cherry ~ The twins Kisho, and Haru are fourteen and of Japanese descent from old South Kona coffee families. When their druggie mother got a new boyfriend who decided they’d be nice fresh meat, they ran away from home. Kulani took them all under his wing, recognizing the tortured wounded souls of “the lost boys.”