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3 things that make the Aussies and Kiwis get on. Sort of..

Australia and New Zealand have a long history of bickering claims whether it was the ownership of certain popular culture icons or having a similar flag, the two nations have an on and off relationship.

Despite being each other’s largest economic partner sharing trades that are mutually beneficial, they aren’t the best of friends but more “civil mates” continuously working through their differences in a civil manner. 

Below are 3 common points of differences Australia and New Zealand want you to know about:

1. New Zealand is not Australia

If you go to anywhere across the world, there’s no doubt many will be convinced that Australia and New Zealand are the same country. 

Although they are closely integrated in all aspects of their friendship, people still get this mixed.

Regionally New Zealand is placed approximately 2,000 kilometres of water away from Australia, like a small chunk of Ozzie broke off and wandered out a bit.

Colonially, the small country was an extension of New South Wales as it was colonised by Britain. This meant New Zealand was part of New South Wales in the Treaty of Waiting signed in 1840. However, New Zealand quickly separated and became its own in 1841.

This establishes New Zealand and Australia’s civil friendship as they ‘almost’ became siblings.

2. The same flags… so people think

New Zealand’s 2016 Prime Minister John Key introduced a $26 million proposal to change their flag design.

You can imagine some of the national backlash from kiwis as $26 million was a lot of money to invest in something that wasn’t beneficial to the people, so some argued.

In other words, a waste of money and time.

The minor differences in the flag included the colour of the stars and the Commonwealth Star underneath the union jack which symbolises the Federation of Australia.  

Key’s motivation for the flag change was to overtly make New Zealand more patriotic about their independence and boost their economy through tourism. Many argued that the current flag is a tourism advertisement for Australia providing many missed opportunities for tourists to visit Kiwiland.

The kiwis found it frustrating to have their independence high-jacked unintentionally by their good ole mate. 

As Key put it, “The number of times … I’m in an international meeting and they sit me down in front of the Australian flag, or the Australian area, it’s not funny. It happens all the time.”

Many were on the fence about the flag change but could mutually agree that it would help differentiate them easily.

In the end, New Zealand voted to keep their original design as spending $26 million on a flag change over rising poverty issues in New Zealand at the time was more of a priority – so it should be. 

3. Popular culture claims

Like a lot of mates, many fight over stupid things but the rivalry between the ozzies and kiwis about who owns what is ongoing.

From pavlova, pineapple lumps, meat pies, fush and chups, Phar Lap and Lorde these are just a few classics that have been disputed between the two.

Here are a few you may not know:

  • The flat white coffee

Both cities have equally made even arguments about who invented the flat white coffee after popularising in America. Starbucks credited that it was invented in Australia which sparked ugly debates with New Zealand.

“I’m telling you I was the first one to name it, everybody who has flat white on the menu had it after we started,” Australian claimer Alan Preston said.

“There was not enough fat in the milk to make the cappuccino rise … So I just put it in [the cup] and said, ‘Sorry, it’s a flat white,’” New Zealand claimer Fraser McInnes said.

Today, there is no answer to who exactly invented the infamous flat white.

  • Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes and actor Russell Crowe 

Claimed as a kiwi actress after her role in the 2002 Whale Rider movie, the ozzies labelled her Australian. Castle-Hughes was born in Western Australia by her Australian born parents, the only thing that made her kiwi was her Maori mother.

A similar situation for Russell Crowe who featured in the 2000 film Gladiator, his nationality has been debated on for years. Although his accent sounds Australian, the fact he was born in New Zealand seems to quiet down the ozzies. The mates just aren’t giving in with this one, it continues today. 

  • The 2012 Olympic gold medals 

Australia’s claim of New Zealand’s gold medals in the 2012 Olympics was one to question. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph published “Aus Zealand” at the back of their newspaper combining Australia and New Zealand’s gold medal. Unimpressed with the progress they were making, Australia was trailing behind with only one. 

Could you say New Zealand and Australia are the best of mates? Yeah-nah.

It will always be the friendship that you had in school where you would fight with your friend at lunch time and hug it out afterwards, a type of friendship both nations will have forever. 

About the author

Savannah Tafau-Levy