Kiwis no drop kicks if you’re talking rugby

Next month’s HSBC Sevens Worldwide Series event is in Wellington, New Zealand.

Jonah Lomu, a legend of the paddock – winning 64 caps for the All Blacks’ 15-a-side team – will act as an ambassador.

“I’m on board with anything that encourages homegrown rugby and showcases Wellington at its best. This is our nation’s capital city, and in my eyes, this is the best tournament in the world.” CNN

The New Zealand Women’s Sevens squad were stoked to be the 2012/13 champions of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, and with male and female rugby sevens matches making a debut at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, everyone with a silver fern on their shirt, will give all other teams and the audience, a hang of a great game!

Men and women play on the same team in Wheelchair Rugby, part of the Paralympic programme, and things can get a little aggro (the game was first called Murderball!). The New Zealand team, with members of the Wheel Blacks, were gold medal winners at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, and contribute to the unforgettable duels that typify rugby.

So if you’re talking rugby, Godzone people will be away laughing, and the rest of the world can get in behind.


The following definitions from ‘The Godzone Dictionary’ by Max Cryer.

Kiwi Maori A native bird, Apteryx australis, which is flightless, nocturnal, tailless, ground-feeding, short-sighted and with a very characteristic shape. The name is believed to be imitative of its cry. By 1887 the kiwi was being depicted in a university coat of arms, and by the start of the First World War the word, with a capital K, was widely used to describe New Zealand soldiers. It has grown since to become shorthand for sharemarket dollars, a furry fruit, boot polish, the national rugby league team and New Zealand citizens in general. During the 19th century, people then resident in New Zealand were known by such fanciful names as Fernlanders, Maorilanders and Moalanders, but kiwi is the identifying term that has stuck.

Drop kick (1) A technique in rugby of dropping the ball and kicking it as it bounces up. (2) A loser, someone whose level of alertness is less than ideal.

All Blacks New Zealand’s official representative rugby team. They wore blue at their first outing in 1884, but changed to black in 1893. There has been no clear evidence confirming why they became known as All Blacks, apart from the simple fact that their uniforms were that colour. The first known printing of the name was in the Devon Express and Echo in September 1905: ‘The “All Blacks” as they are styled, by reason of their sable and unrelieved costume’. A belief that the name came from a British provincial newspaper’s typographical error – ‘blacks’ rather than ‘backs’ – has never been proven.

Paddock An area of open land that is fenced, usually for farming purposes. In Britain, the word is usually associated with horse-racing, while farms are made up of meadows or fields. New Zealanders also sometimes refer to a rugby field as the paddock.

Stoked To be energised, happy, surprised, cheerful, in some way fired up. The word is derived from stoke, as in adding fuel to and tending a fire or furnace. As the actual action of stoking fires became rarer, from the 1950s onward, the word stoked became more popular. I’m really stoked that you’ve been chosen to play for the All Blacks.

Silver fern A national symbol for New Zealand, especially in relation to sports teams. silver_fern_new_zealand The beautiful silver fern was a common emblem of New Zealand before the kiwi. The country was sometimes called Fernland; the Native Rugby Team used it as an emblem when touring Britain in 1888 and the 1905 the All Blacks did the same; after 1900 it appeared on New Zealand’s meat and dairy exports; First World War New Zealand servicemen were commonly known or Fernleaves and in the Second World War as Silver Ferns. In 1990, this last name was given to the New Zealand representative netball players. The New Zealand Rugby Union has copyrighted the silver fern frond, which is used as the All Black symbol.

Hang of a A qualifier or intensifier that increases what it is applied to. The term seems to have arisen on both sides of the Tasman as a genteel version of ‘a hell of a’, with ‘a heck of a’ along the way. A lot of mud on the rugby field is not as much as a heck of a lot. A harvest is obviously a lavish one if a hang of a lot of grapes are picked.

Aggro abbrev. A combination of aggravation (made worse, intensified) and aggression (over-readiness to attack), this contracted abbreviation came into use in the 1960s to indicate annoyance and exasperation. The meaning of aggro has both widened and weakened: it can indicate either a potential street fight, or something as minor as a person being a few minutes late, thus causing aggro to the person waiting. Bernie couldn’t play rugby on Saturday – he damaged his hands after some aggro in the street on Friday night.

Wheel Blacks New Zealand’s national representative wheelchair rugby team.

Godzone abbrev. of God’s Own Country. In the New Zealand context, the expression dates from a phrase in Thomas Bracken’s very long 1893 poem written in praise of New Zealand. Premier Dick Seddon boosted the phrase’s popularity. In 1906, on his way home from Australia, Seddon sent a telegram to New Zealand saying that he was returning to ‘God’s Own Country’. He died the next day, but the expression outlived him and, thanks to eminent poet Allen Curnow, changed slightly to Godzone. God’s Own Country has also been used in connection with India, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the United States and Australia.

Laughing, to be away Indicates a propitious beginning – that all preparations have been made, attitudes are positive and the project or activity will be successful. We needed somewhere to rehearse and the community hall is available for eight Saturdays in a row, so we’re away laughing.

Get in behind A command given to (usually rural) dogs to come to heel. This broadened into a gentle and semi-humorous way of telling someone to behave properly. There are two other extensions of meaning: (1) to signify that a person or group is going to support a proposal (get in behind it), and (2) as an ejaculation of surprise or disbelief: You’re running for Parliament? Get in behind!)

Do you enjoy talking rugby?

Rugby_Books_ExisleRead these books from Exisle Publishing.

For The Love Of The Game: Grassroots rugby in heartland New Zealand by Gregor Paul and Gregory Crow

For the Love of the Game is a celebration of New Zealand grassroots rugby and the people who make it happen. For the Love of the Game takes the reader through the process of training and preparing for the game, fund-raising, the road trip, the great traditional rivalries and the after-match rituals.

Top Ten of Everything Rugby by Gregor Paul

Top 10 of Everything Rugby is a journey through international history, ranking the best and worst in lists that cover (among other things) disastrous coaching appointments, captains, debuts, psychos and scandals.

Interested in the answers to the following questions?

  • What were the 10 greatest moments in the game?
  • Who are the 10 hardest men?
  • Who are the most iconic players?
  • What are the 10 nastiest incidents ever witnessed on the field?
  • Who are the most overrated, the most underrated, the least likeable? and,
  • Who are the 10 worst signings ever made?

The answers to these (and other) questions are in Top Ten of Everything Rugby.

Browse the lifestyle, sport and leisure section of Exisle Publishing’s Australian or New Zealand websites.

Taught? taut? tort? torte?

Taught. Past tense of the verb ‘to teach’ meaning to impart knowledge or give instruction (Mr Stephens taught history at our school; I was taught how to drive a car when I was sixteen)

Taut. Tense, tightly drawn (her face was taut with worry about whether her family had survived the earthquake)

Tort. A wrongful act, not including a breach of contract, that results in injury to another’s person, property, reputation etc. and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation (writing ‘paedophile’ on the window of someone’s house is an example of a tort)

Torte. A highly decorated rich cake containing cream etc. (my grandmother would make a torte with hazelnut, chocolate and cream for special occasions)


From ‘The Right Word’ by Elizabeth Morrison.

To teach is ‘to facilitate or draw out insight by engaging attention and encouraging inquiry and questioning.’ This approach to education is discussed in the introduction of Exisle Publishing’s new book Mindful Learning, written by Dr Hassed and Dr Chambers.


With people commencing or returning to study in January, this book uses the concept of mindfulness to make a positive difference and contribution towards success in learning. The Mindful Learning website has detailed information on the contents, authors, theory and practice of mindfulness applied in an educational context, from the Mindful Learning book.

However, if you desire to eat torte, not be taught, try the ‘Occasional Treats and Desserts’ recipes available in Optimum Health the Paleo Way. Claire Yates the author, supplies recipes which taste great and are packed full of nutrients – to be enjoyed occasionally, but when enjoyed – enjoyed thoroughly!


The Optimum Health the Paleo Way website introduces the benefits of eating the Paleo way and living the Paleo lifestyle, which are then comprehensively explained by Claire in her book.

Work like a dog

When they are not urban pets or strays, dogs often work for their living. Whatever the work is – and it could be on farms, at airports or in snow – these dogs often give a fine impression of enjoying what they do. This casts some doubt on the usual meaning of the phrase ‘work like a dog’, which somehow gives the impression of working under duress and for little reward. Doubtless this does happen sometimes, but watch a high-energy border collie skilfully rounding up a random flock of sheep, and you’re watching sheer joy on four legs.


From ‘Every dog has it’s day’ by Max Cryer.

DogsInActionAuthorDogs In Action - Working dogs and their stories, also from Exisle Publishing, unashamedly reveres and recognises dogs for achieving great feats to improve human life.

A long-time dog-owner and journalist, Maria Alomajan writes about amazing dogs, from their initial selection for work, to their training, their work experiences and their relationships with their handlers and masters through colourful, inspiring and heartwarming stories.

Maria speaks with ABC Brisbane about the unbelievable stories told in this new book about working dogs. (The audio interview last approximately ten minutes.)

Ware? wear? we’re?

Ware. In plural form, articles of merchandise (the trader sells his wares at the markets each Sunday); used today more to describe particular types of merchandise or manufacture (the hardware store stocks building materials, paint, builders’ tools etc; silverware is not as popular today because it requires constant cleaning)

Wear. To have as covering on the body (you need to wear warm clothes in winter; what dress will you wear to the wedding?); to smooth down (the continual washing of the waves will wear the rough edges off the stones); to deteriorate (if you continue to brake hard, you will wear the tyres); exhaust (you will wear out everyone if you continue to make the team practise all day)

We’re. A contraction of ‘we are’ (we’re not going to school today, we have the measles; when we’re hungry, we raid mum’s pantry)


From ‘The Right Word’ by Elizabeth Morrison.

What were we wearing in Australia during the 1960’s?

Elizabeth Morrison, author of The Right Word, has collaborated with her husband, photographer Ron Morrison, to create Those were the days, Australia in the sixties.

Many were wearing mini skirts! As evidenced by the documentary photographs now on exhibition at the Lovett Gallery in Newcastle Region Library.

Greg Ray from The Newcastle Herald reflects upon the ’60’s and the exhibition, which is open until the 2nd of February, 2014. Do you recognise the cityscapes below?


Each photograph in the exhibition is accompanied by a note, remembrance or detail.

The book is available directly through Exisle Publishing (currently offering a Free Express Post with purchases over $40.00, which may land this book in a nostalgic family member’s Christmas stocking). Visit the Exisle website for details on the offer.

Only … shopping days until Christmas

The idea of reminding people how much shopping time is left before Christmas is not new. On 19 December 1900 the Los Angeles Times displayed a reminder: ‘There are only (counting today) five more shopping days till Christmas.’ Four days later the Washington Post took up the cry: ‘Only one more shopping day until Christmas.’

At the time Gordon Selfridge was working with Marshall Field and Company in Chicago. He may have picked up the idea from the newspapers mentioned, but certainly he soon instructed his staff to drive the same slogan, which put a real sense of urgency into the shopping lead-up to Christmas. Before long it was used worldwide.


From ‘Who Said That First?’ by Max Cryer

Cross several gifts off your shopping list by utilising Exisle Publishing’s offer for the festive season.


Click though for hundreds of books on varied topics.

Offer is valid for a short time only (the Exisle Publishing website has further details).

Who is credited with the word spam coming to mean junk email?

In 1937 the Hormel Food Co. launched a competition to find a name for a canned meat product. Apparently the company didn’t want to call it ‘pork loaf ’ (though that’s what it was) and was not permitted to call it ham because the meat was shoulder, rather than hindquarter. A prize of $100 was to be made available to a name the firm approved.

Kenneth Daigneau from NewYork came up with the name Spam – a condensed version of spiced ham – but without claiming it to be actual ham.

Thirty-three years later the British comedy group Monty Python’s Flying Circus performed a bizarre television sketch in which a run-down café served only ludicrous variations of Spam. The customers’ indignation climaxed in a ridiculous song whose lyrics consisted simply of the word Spam repeated.

The sketch was first broadcast on 15 December 1970. Its popularity, and the association of spam with something unwanted but in over-supply, is credited with the word coming to mean junk email.

(There is no truth in the rumour that the title of the original Hormel tinned Spam was an acronym for ‘Something posing as meat’.)


From Who Said That First? by Max Cryer

P.S. Monty Python to reunite for live one-off show in London.


In the introduction to Curious English Words and Phrases Max Cryer likens the English language to ‘a vast and ancient city’ magnificent, interesting and shambolic. An explanation of the origin of the last surprising adjective in his metaphor follows.

This is derived from ‘shambles’, which is a modern version of an old Latin word for a bench or table. In English it came to mean the table used by butchers for chopping beasts into portions. Shambles therefore became the word for a slaughterhouse or a place where meat was prepared.

An historic part of York is still called The Shambles, from the time when butchers’ shops were located there. And because meat preparation is always messy, the word shambles came to mean disorder, and a floppy, disorganised way of walking was called ‘a shamble’ because the legs were all over the place (like an animal’s legs on a butcher’s table).

But shamble(s) remained a noun until some bright spark turned it into an adjective and said, ‘This is a shambolic state of affairs.’ A new word was born.


From Curious English Words and Phrases by Max Cryer.

Kevin Rudd Quits

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from federal politics on Wednesday night (13.11.2013), adding “it really is time for me to zip“. (definition of zip: Nothing or zero. Also zippo. Also used in the phrase ‘zip, zero, nada’ which means nothing at all.)

Mr Rudd, who served in the top (definition of top: The best or excellent. Also tops, e.g. ‘The party was tops’.) job between 2007 and 2010, and then again this year, wished Tony Abbott luck.

Mr Rudd received public support during the December 2006 election, and mobbed (definition of mob: 1. A crowd of people. 2. A group of people, perhaps friends, but not necessarily large. 3. If there are mobs of something there are large numbers of it. Also a big mob.) by jostling crowds, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard combined to knock-off (definition of knock off: 1. Time to stop work. 2. To stop doing anything. 3. To steal. 4. To kill. 5. To complete something with ease and speed. 6. To have sexual intercourse. 7. To copy or fake something.) Kim Beazley.

ABC News asked readers what they thought about Mr Rudd’s decision and the legacy of his 15-year political career.

“A bonza (definition of bonza or bonzer: Something that is very pleasing. A bonza bloke is someone who can be trusted and is good to be around.) Aussie PM. Enjoy your retirement Kevie.”

“My personal belief is KR is a compassionate decent man who didn’t “fall” (maybe tall poppy syndrome?).” (definition of tall poppies: A successful person or someone with great status. The Australian penchant for bringing successful people down to size is the tall poppy syndrome.).

News Source: ABC NEWS


Definitions from ‘The Lingo Dictionary’ by John Miller.

Sort or sought?

A tricky homophone recently spotted in the text of a real estate advertisement…
Sort. A particular kind, description or variety that is distinct from something else (the Blues was a new sort of music that originated from the African–American communities of the Deep South in America; mum, I don’t really like these biscuits, can I ask for another sort that I do like?); to arrange according to size, type etc. (your next job is to sort the knives, forks and spoons and put them in their correct place in the drawer); an inadequate or less socially acceptable person (you really shouldn’t be socialising with that sort of person); colloquial, someone who can be trusted or is a fun person to be with (Kathie is a great sort, full of fun); an attractive person (she is  a good sort!); also, to convince someone that they are wrong, sometimes with violence (if you keep on repeating that lie, we will sort you out)

Sought. Past tense of ‘to seek’, to try to find or obtain (we sought a lot more information on the robbery before any action was taken; he sought the name of the girl he met at the dance); to be desired or in demand (she was much sought after as an actor)


From ‘The Right Word’ by Elizabeth Morrison.