April 29, 2006 – 3:31 pm
Just got back from the Post Office, where there was a significant parcel of goodies from New Zealand waiting to be collected (Thanks, Jicki & Steve!). Some of the best things you can’t get here in the UK were waiting, somewhat battered from the journey, but lovingly wrapped in paper for safekeeping – and it got me thinking: what are the things I miss most from NZ – the things that can be packaged up in an NZ Post parcel and airmailed?
1. Packaged Food
The biggest lack you notice when you move to the UK is in the area of fresh produce. Everything’s smaller, colourless and limp. After a bit of hunting, and a bit of lowering of standards, you make do. But then you start to miss some of the other bits and pieces you hadn’t considered an essential part of your diet. Favourite things to find in a box with my address on it include: Kaitaia Fire, Krispies, Tim Tams, Meal Mates, Manuka Honey (retails for £10.85 a jar here!), Maggi 2-minute noodles (Oriental flavour), Trident Spicy Thai noodles, Vegemite in a large jar, Jaffas, Milk-bottle lollies, Hubbards cereal, marshmallow easter eggs, chocolate fish… can you post a Ponsonby Pie? They come in boxes…
The Listener, Metro, North and South, NZ Geographic, Mana, NZ Musician, NZ Fashion Quarterly. Anything new and exciting I should know about?
More or less anything released in the last year or so. I’m entirely out of touch. Still haven’t heard the Phoenix Foundation, the new Che Fu, or pretty much anything else of any significance. Loop, Capital Recordings, Arch Hill Records, Antenna, Flying Nun and Wildside are all going to be safe bet labels.
4. Beer, Wine and other drinks
Macs Gold & Black Macs, Spirulina in a bottle, Phoenix softdrinks, anything decent from Hawkes Bay, Waiheke Island, Gisborne, Blenheim… and I’ve always been a bit of a Collard Brothers fan. Oh, and L&P, naturally…
Karajoz, Roasted Addiqtion, Rocket, Allpress, Atomic – pretty much anything that’s been roasted with some care and combined out of that unique assortment of beans from multiple regions that only seems to happen in NZ. Just the beans, please. We’ll grind them ourselves.
6. Possum products
I don’t wear fur. I have no occasion to. But possums don’t count. If you’re swatting them like flies anyway – and the socks, hats and gloves are really comfy and warm – then we’ll just keep pretending that you’re just giving them haircuts.
I listened to an interview with Craig Marriner on bFM’s podcast feed the other day, and it reminded me I’m missing all the local books from home. I’m a bit of a non-fiction guzzler – and I still haven’t seen the Lange book – but Bobbie and Jake are both novel-a-day people. Anything for teens would be especially appreciated (and kiwis do a great line in those). And if Bill Manhire puts out another collection of poetry or short fiction, that’d be just brilliant.
DVDs of New Zealand films (other than those you might expect) are thin on the ground. Perhaps not so much in London, but certainly here in Birmingham. Release dates elude me, but from listening to the Niu FM breakfast show at the wrong time of day, I’ve realised I’m looking forward to Sione’s Wedding. 50 Ways to Say Fabulous, River Queen and No. 2 all sound worth a look – and I’m sure there are others.
9. Stuff off the telly
Everyday mundane stuff you might not think would be missed – chuck it on a tape and send it over. I’ve never seen Campbell Live. NZ Idol holds both kitsch and exotic value for showing to UK friends. I’d even sit through an episode of Shortland Street. Most importantly though, if Maddigan’s Quest made it to DVD – that would be superb.
This is the thing I miss most. Anything feijoa flavoured would be appreciated. 42 Below do a very good Feijoa vodka. Hubbards have a feijoa cereal. You can get feijoa bars, sweets, softdrinks… but if there’s a way you could get the fruit itself to the country, I’d be dead impressed. Dried, stewed, dessicated… whatever. Even a packet of seeds would be good.
Of course, we love our adopted home and there are new and exciting flavours and media that we’ll miss when we leave here – but there’s nothing better than opening that parcel of smells, images and textures that takes you back home.
Some of the stuff mentioned above can be purchased in the UK – but mostly in London, and generally at three times the price. Getting them as gifts from across the sea from people who have been thinking of us gives them an extra layer of specialness too.
Keep them coming!