Story: English language in New Zealand



High-profile political incidents sometimes result in new words which are adaptations of existing, well-recognised words. In 2008 'Helengrad' appeared in the Macquarie dictionary, an online Australian publication. It referred to New Zealand's then prime minister Helen Clark and the perception that she was unduly controlling. It emerged in the news media in 2000 after being coined by a National Party supporter. The original source for this new word was the Russian city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), which was named after the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Helengrad therefore had connotations of authoritarianism, which this 2008 cartoon plays on.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: DCDL-0005033
Cartoon by Allan Charles Hawkey

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Dianne Bardsley, 'English language in New Zealand - Characteristics of New Zealand English', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2021)

Story by Dianne Bardsley, published 5 Sep 2013