I just sent proofs back for my chapter, “New Zealand Lamb Is People: Bad Taste, Black Sheep and Farming.” There were two changes, one of which was a missing “g” in “includin”. But the other change was a non-change. The “offending” sentence reads like so:

But sheep remained important to New Zealand’s economic and cultural identity; their population may have peaked in the early 1980s, but sheep remain Kiwi as.

The book’s editor, Tom Hertweck, asked me about this when I sent him the first version of the chapter. I explained how “Kiwi as” and “Sweet as” and “WORD as” works. He saw that it fit in with the chapter’s larger argument: a chapter about sheep/lamb in the NZ cultural imaginary is a fair place to use NZ slang.  But the press’s editor wrote “If this is a NZ colloquialism, maybe delete?” Tom, to his credit, dusted off our previous correspondence to back up my desire to keep “Kiwi as.” He’s on the lifetime cool list for that.

Almost the entire point of using “Kiwi as” is to make a claim in the way that the people I’m talking about would make it. I mis-pronounce every placename in Brisbane that has either “wh” or “ng” in it because I completely internalised Te Reo Maori pronunciation so that I wasn’t That Kind of American. It’s not too much effort to “indulge” other English-speakers their language.


The cover art is cute, and the book will be out for Christmas (not that you should buy it from amazon)