Is Ki­wiana too kitsch or is it okay at home?

South Waikato News - - Community Cookbook -

It’s a lit­tle whimsy and all about New Zealand. Those com­mon Kiwi icons - sheep, gum­boots, na­tive birds, trees, hokey pokey ice­cream and the Four Square Man - have found their way onto a whole raft of home­wares.

But has Ki­wiana decor had its day? Is it be­com­ing over­done and kitsch?

We put the ques­tion to a range of art and decor ex­perts - and it seems many of them still have a soft spot for the fa­mil­iar Kiwi themes.

‘‘It’s kitsch’’, says art com­men­ta­tor Hamish Keith, ‘‘but our own kitsch’’.

He says there’s some­thing about the nos­tal­gia it brings that makes it ap­peal­ing. How­ever he be­lieves there’s no rea­son to ‘‘tart it up.’’

‘‘Ki­wiana is cool’’ says in­te­rior de­signer Donna White of Donna White In­te­rior De­sign.

‘‘It is what we grew up with, so is closely en­twined with our mem­o­ries. We should al­ways dec­o­rate our homes with the things we need or love.

‘‘To hold on to a piece of Ki­wiana may mean that we se­cretly love it, or love its mem­ory.’’

The bach is per­haps where Ki­wiana decor is most ex­pected, and maybe most for­given.

How­ever some, more crit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors feel that cer­tain pieces have be­come too com­mer­cialised and tired to be used in any home, even a bach.

Named among the worst of­fend­ers are the Four Square man, mir­rors or black­boards shaped like a map of New Zealand, tea tow­els fea­tur­ing a vin­tage map of New Zealand, and a few very fa­mil­iar art­works, like the clas­sic Tiki to Mickey print.

In the opin­ion of Caro­line Bot­ting, deputy edi­tor of NZ House and Gar­den magazine, there is no for­giv­ing hang­ing the ’’over-used’’ Tiki to Mickey print on any wall.

‘‘When I first saw it I re­ally liked it, but it is in so many homes now that it has just be­come over used.’’

It’s all about bal­ance says Amy Ten­nant, man­ager of her in­te­rior de­sign blog Milo and Mitzy. ‘‘I def­i­nitely think too many Ki­wiana pieces can be over pow­er­ing.’’

In­stead she says she likes to mix styles up, com­bin­ing a mod­ern bit of fur­ni­ture with a unique piece of Ki­wiana art.

‘‘There are some great New Zealand artists that do Ki­wiana well, such as Glenn Jones and Rakai Karaitiana.’’

She is notic­ing a grow­ing pref­er­ence for Ki­wiana gar­den­ing and out­door ob­jects.

‘‘Cus­tomers can’t get enough of the metal bird sculp­tures, they have not stopped sell­ing and are one of our most pop­u­lar items,’’ she says.

Her marae-style bird feed­ers, na­tive bird out­door cush­ions and New Zealand made ce­ram­ics are also pop­u­lar choices.

Lim be­lieves her cus­tomers like to buy Ki­wiana decor for their homes and baches, but also to send over­seas to rel­a­tives, ‘‘it’s a lit­tle bit of Ki­wiana with­out be­ing too much.’’

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