Twelve days of Australian and Kiwiana Christmas

Many Kiwis will be familiar with the local version of the famous Twelve Days of Christmas song, retitled A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree. Each year, we tally up everything on the list, calculating the cost of giving your true love a very Kiwi Christmas.

Time to read: 5 mins

First, the good news – this year it’s going to set you back a (relatively) pleasing $1,764.06 against $2,067.57 last year. But that's because we’re assuming your true love is one of the 22,800 New Zealanders who packed up and moved to Oz in the year to March.

We've done some simple comparisons from both sides of the Tasman, and it seems it really is more affordable to shop across the ditch, with the New Zealand kete coming out $1,065.79 dearer than the Aussie equivalent at the time of writing. But look into a Wise card so you can buy in the local currency without those costly conversions.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree

No sense shipping a pukeko to Australia – that’s where they come from. Instead, a book is a nice and light Kiwiana Christmas option. Why not send the original Pukeko in a Ponga Tree with a CD from Amazon.com.au.

 - A$18.39 (NZ$19.48) (NZ price $16.95, down $2.53)

Two kumara

A note on the Track and Trace says the Australian Border Force has destroyed your parcel of “sweet potato”. You might want to reconsider sending produce across the ditch, especially as the price of New Zealand fruit and veg increased 17 per cent this year. Coles in Australia is charging the equivalent of NZ$2.15 a kilo – a lot cheaper than our local price plus postage.

 - A$2 (NZ$2.12) per kg (NZ price $3.90, up $1.78)

Three flax kits

Locally made crafts are a great reminder of home, and your true love will have a tough time tracking down authentic flax kete in Westfield Chadstone. However, artisan-made kete can be quite expensive, so we’ve sourced some affordable Kiwi options to keep costs down.

– From $45 each on Felt.co.nz, $135 for three (not available in Australia, no change)

Four huhu grubs

Looks like 2023’s Wildfoods Festival might be off the cards, if you have to throw in $1,250 return flights from Melbourne to Hokitika. Instead, we’ve priced a kilo of Huhu Grubs from Rainbow Confectionery and the Aussie equivalent, Allseps Witchetty Grubs. No need to scrounge through the bush for them, and they last longer in the cupboard.

  • A$6.30 ($6.67) per kg (NZ price $9 per kg, up $2.33)

Five big fat pigs

Porkers are plentiful on Gumtree. Source your pigs locally in Australia to avoid the horrendous shipping and quarantine requirements – they’re way cheaper over there too.

  • A$100 (NZ$105.95) each or NZ$529.75 for five (NZ price $1,100, up $570.25)

Six poi a-twirling

Forget spending Christmas night in a food coma or listlessly picking scraps of wrapping paper off the floor in between picking at the ham. Send three pairs of fire poi and your true love will have Christmas lights of a different kind, while enjoying a little taste of home.

  • A$61 (NZ$64.63) per pair, or NZ$193.89 for three pairs (NZ price $330 for three pairs, up $136.11)

Seven eels a-swimming

Posting seven live eels across the Tasman? Nope. From FishMe!, you can get a kilo of Australian long-finned eel cutlets, delivered straight to your true love’s door.  

  • A$10.99 (NZ$11.64) per kg or NZ$81.48 for 7kg (NZ price $210, up $128.52)

Eight plants of puha

Food prices here rose more than 10 per cent over the past year – the highest annual increase since 2008. Mind you, Australian food prices also went up 9 per cent. The Puha Patch in Queensland grows green goodness for homesick Kiwis, but the price might make your true love even more homesick.

  • A$12 (NZ$12.71) per kg from the Kiwi Pacific Store in Melbourne (NZ price free, down $12.71)

Nine sacks of pipi

Australian pipi (a different species than ours) are common from Queensland to the Murray River, so surprise your true love with a trip to South Australia’s seafood capitals. However, fuel shortages and capacity issues mean airfares are likely to remain high for some time, so avoid the Christmas period. If you think the flights from Melbourne to Adelaide are bad, return airfares from Auckland to beach haven Gisborne are even more horrific.

  • A$258 (NZ$273.35) return airfares MEL – ADL (NZ price return airfares AKL – GIS $525, up $251.65)

Ten juicy fish heads

On this side of the Tasman, the Kai Ika Project and Free Fish Heads app mean no tasty fish bits need to go to waste (or cost a cent). You’ll still need to buy them for your true love in Oz, though. Maybe along with a cookbook that features some delicious fish head curry recipes.

  • A$10 (NZ$10.59) per kg at Seafood and More in Australia (NZ price free, down $10.59)

Eleven haka lessons

As good luck would have it, there are eight-week online courses available to Australians from Piki Te Hauora, so your true love can cheer the Black Ferns in style for the next trans-Tasman clash. However, there’s also Kapa Haka 4 Kids. It’s totally free on YouTube, led by matua Whaitiri Poutawa, and if even five-year-olds can do it, your true love can too.     

  • A$231 (NZ$244.74) for eight lessons (NZ price free, down $244.74)

Twelve piu piu swinging

Organised Māori cultural performances are hard to find in Australia, so why not help your true love embrace the indigenous culture of their new home? A Spirits of the Red Sand Evening Theatre Show in Queensland makes for a great night out, although if your true love does make the trip back home, there’s Te Pā Tū feast and performances in Rotorua.

  • A$240 (NZ$254.28) for 2 x adults (NZ price $500 for two adults, up $245.72) 

NB: Exchange rates from RBNZ, 1 NZD = 0.94385 AUD

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