picture of a kiwi The Kiwi


The "kiwi" (shown above) is a flightless bird native to New Zealand. (New Zealanders also like to call themselves "Kiwis".)

The kiwi (bird) is unusual in at least two respects. First, it is the only bird in the world that has its nostrels at the end of its beak. Second, the female kiwi has the largest egg, in proportion to its body size, of any bird in the world (except possibly for the hummingbird). Kiwis are about the same size as chickens, but their eggs are almost as big as those of ostriches!

The difference between "kiwi" and "kiwifruit"

The "kiwi" is not to be confused with "kiwifruit" - the brown furry fruit with the green flesh. Kiwifruit come originally from China, and in fact were originally called "Chinese gooseberries". (This is how I knew them when I was growing up in New Zealand.) Sometime in the 1960s, kiwifruit farmers in New Zealand decided to market the fruit overseas, but decided to give them another name, to avoid confusion. (Remember also that mainland China was very much out of favour with the West at that time.) To help identify the fruit with New Zealand, the name "kiwifruit" was chosen.

Some people refer to kiwifruit as "kiwis", but this is incorrect. (New Zealanders also find this very irritating!) A "kiwi" is a bird (or a human New Zealander); the fruit should always be called "kiwifruit" (or "Chinese gooseberries").

Ross Finlayson (a Kiwi)