I have to thank my friend Den in Auckland for the following. She shared this after I posted the Aussie version from my weekend carol concert.

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We have a New Zealand version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

It goes like this:

On the twelfth day of Christmas

My true love gave to me

Twelve piupius swinging

Eleven haka lessons

Ten juicy fish heads

Nine sacks of pipis

Eight plants of puha

Seven eels a-swimming

Six pois a-twirling

Five – big – fat – pigs

Four huhu bugs

Three flax kits

Two kumera

And a pukeko in a pong tree


For a translation of the Maori words –

piupiu – a traditional skirt made of flax originally, and worn in Maori cultural performances by women;

haka – that war chant thing at the beginning of a rugby game;

juicy fish heads – a delicacy in Maori cooking;

pipi – a shellfish;

puha – a green leafy plant that is boiled and usually eaten with pork; eels – long slippery fish with fins – also called tuna in Maori, but not the same tuna as the deep sea fish;

poi – a ball that is swung either on a long or short string between the hands and is only used by women in cultural performance;

pig – they like pig as a food source (think of hangi);

huhu are a beetle that looks quite prehistoric, has a bit of a bite to it, long feelers, long body, and is brown in colour;

flax kits – a commonly made handbag usually called a kite (keete); kumera – a sweet tasting root vegetable;

pukeko – a red beaked and blue feathered bird that lives in swampy/marshy areas;

ponga – a tree fern.

This version is attributed to Kingi Ihaka and was written in 1981.

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I’d love to hear any other “local” versions of this Christmas favourite.