There are lots of ways to give your child’s birthday party a New Zealand twist and it is a nice way to introduce Kiwiana to guests who are new to New Zealand.

New Zealand Theme Invitation Ideas

  • Jandals are a traditional piece of Kiwiana, so why not buy some cheap pairs from an emporium type store, and write the invitations on the sole using a permanent marker.
  • Colour copy the New Zealand flag onto a piece of heavy card, and write the party details on the back. If you like, you could cut the flag into pieces first, so that the guests have to redo puzzle to find out the party details.
  • Go with the black and white theme, and make a basic invitation using black and white card, felt pens and stickers.
  • Cut out several pieces of Kiwiana from magazines and glue them on to poster card. (Colour copy them to make an invitation for everyone.) Cut out each piece separately, and put a different part the invitation on the back of each piece. Put all your pieces of Kiwiana into a flax bag and hand deliver.Some great pieces of Kiwiana to use include jandals, gumboots, kiwifruit, pavalova, kiwi, hokey pokey ice cream, pohutakawa flowers, sheep, a silver fern and an All Black rugby ball.

New Zealand Theme Decorations

It’s easy to call on our New Zealand team colours when it comes to decorations. Simply blow up lots of black and white balloons, and string black and white crepe paper from one side of the house to the other. You could cut out black and white stars and silver ferns to pin to the wall.

If you prefer to have a bit of colour, focus on our traditional kiwi icons, and string them together to make banners. Paper pohutakawa flowers, gumboots and jandals could be strung around the house on number 8 wire.

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New Zealand Theme Games and Activities

There are plenty of games and activities with a true New Zealand theme, and many traditional party games you could add a little Kiwiana to. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Gumboot Throwing Competition

Have the children stand at one end of the backyard, and give everybody a gumboot to throw. The person who throws their gumboot the farthest – wins!

Pavalova Eating Competition

Give each guest a mini pavalova, complete with whipped cream and kiwifruit slices, asnd see who can eat theirs the quickest. If you want you could ask them to do it blindfolded, or with no hands.

Sheep Shearing Competition

Blow up a balloon for each child and put a little bit of water in each one, so that it can sit on the floor without blowing away. Cover each balloon in shaving cream (this is the sheep), and give each guest a disposable razor with the plastic covering still on the blade (this is their shearing tool). On go, guests must ‘shear’ their ‘sheep’ without popping the balloon. The fastest shearer wins.

Kiwi Ingenuity

Give each child a wire coat hanger, some twine, insulation tape and any other bits and pieces you may have around the house. Give the children a set time limit (perhaps 5 minutes) to create a great Kiwi invention. Each child then demonstrates their creation, and you can award prizes for various categories.

Name that Place

Give each child a map of New Zealand, a selection of place names on small pieces of card, and a handful of drawing pins (or some sticky tape). Give everybody a set time limit to put the place names in the right place on the map. For younger children you could use large well known cities, and for older children you could choose small and little known country towns. The child who gets the most names in the right place, wins.

Memory Game

Put a selection of Kiwiana onto a tray, and have the children carefully commit them to memory. Take the tray out of the room, and remove one or two objects from the tray. The first person to work out what is missing gets to take the tray out of the room, replace the original item, and remove something else.

Kiwi Trivia

There are lots of ways you could play Kiwi trivia games, depending on the age of the children. You could:

  • Have the guests match famous sports players to the right sport
  • Play snippets of New Zealand music and have them match the song to the artist
  • Have them match Maori words to English words
  • Make a timeline and have them place on specific moments in New Zealand history
  • List famous New Zealanders, and have the guests match them to the reason for their fame

New Zealand Theme Party Food

New Zealand has some great food that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Ask anyone who has ever been on their OE! Here are some true Kiwi favourites.

  • Pavalova with whipped cream and kiwifruit slices
  • Marmite and Cheese on Toast
  • Chocolate Fish and Strawberries
  • Hokey Pokey Ice Cream
  • Twisties
  • ANZAC Biscuits
  • Sausages in bread with tomato sauce
  • Fish and Chips straight from the newspaper

And of course, L&P to drink!

New Zealand Theme Costumes

The easiest costumes for a New Zealand themed party are those which represent our national sporting heroes or their fans. Whether it’s rugby, league, netball, basketball, hockey, (or any other sport!), simply don the black and white gear, and you’ll look the part. Kiwi supporters can simply come dressed in black and white with painted faces, and some hand made banners.

New Zealand Theme Prizes and Loot Bags

Instead of a traditional loot bag, why not use a flax bag or a child sized gumboot to put your prizes in. New Zealand themed prizes could include:

  • Chocolate Raisins (Sheep Droppings)
  • Kiwifruit Lollies
  • Miniature Flags
  • A New Zealand Music CD
  • A Book of New Zealand Poetry or Short Stories
  • New Zealand themed Stickers or Magnets
  • A Paua Necklace or Bracelet
  • A pair of Jandals
  • A bottle of L&P or a packet of Twisties

You could also include a copy of the National Anthem in every bag.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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