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
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.