The brown, furry, oval or egg-shaped fruit with green flesh and black seeds is commonly called the kiwi in most parts of the world, much to the chagrin of native New Zealanders, who would prefer that the rest of the world knew the difference between the kiwi and kiwifruit. The kiwi is actually a flightless bird, native to New Zealand, that is about the size of a chicken. The kiwi bird is known for its unusually large eggs, which are about the size of an ostrich egg.
Their massive eggs are the largest eggs in the world in proportion to the body size of the birds themselves. Only the hummingbird produces an that is nearly twice as large as the hatchlings that emerge from it. Aside from their especially large eggs, kiwi birds are also known for being the only known bird in existence to have nostrils, which form at the ends of its beak.
Besides the strange birds, the term kiwi is also used as a common nickname for native New Zealanders, who take the name very seriously, and consider it to be a patriotic symbol of pride. It is no wonder that they take offense to the word being confused with the kiwi fruit. In 1959, the fruit, which is also known as the Chinese gooseberry, was officially renamed kiwifruit, to avoid being confused with New Zealand’s native bird, or their proud, patriotic nickname.
One New Zealander, named Danielle Gallot, explained the proper way to distinguish between the bird, the fruit, and a native New Zealander on Quora, explaining how it is up to the word you use right before the term kiwi, and the word you use just afterwards in the case of kiwi fruit, that differentiates between the different meanings. She clearly explains, when it is referred to as, “the kiwi,” it is almost always in reference to the bird. If it is referred to as, “a kiwi,” it is nearly always a reference to a native New Zealander, and when it is referred to as, “kiwi fruit,” it means the brown, fuzzy, egg-shaped fruit with the green or yellow colored flesh which is also called a chinese gooseberry. That’s pretty easy to understand.
New Zealanders take the kiwi name very seriously. Their rugby team is called The Kiwi’s, their soldiers were nicknamed kiwis, and most New Zealanders take pride in the name. It is not considered a derogatory term at all, and is actually a name that New Zealanders wear with pride. So it’s not a shock to learn that being confused with the fruit can lead to some hard feelings. Plus, it’s easy to separate the bird, the people, and the tangy fruit with the words you use just before and afterwards. So make sure to include the word fruit when referring to the fruits, especially if you are around someone from New Zealand.