Helen Oakes PhotographerThe phrase ‘Nek Minnit‘ became kiwi slang when it was made popular by a New Zealand skateboarder called Levi Hawken. A viral video appeared of Hawken showing his scooter that he left outside a dairy. When he came back out of the dairy, the scooter was broken, he recalled, ”Left my scooter outside the dairy, nek minnit …….” What he was trying to convey is that he left his scooter outside the dairy and the next minute it was broken!

Many parodies came from the video and nek minnit became a popular kiwi slang term. The nek minnit video also turned into an internet meme. The video was viewed on YouTube 600,000 times by late September 2011 and by December of the same year it had gained over 1.5 million views. Nek minnit became the sixth most searched internet term on Google in 2011.

Hawken became the man of the moment and was featured on The Jono Project on TV3. The segment involved Hawken cooking for the weekday advertisement entitled Food in a Minute, which became Food in a Nek Minnit. There was also a parody for the TV3 program 60 Minutes entitled 60 Nek Minnits.

The band Youth Empire got on the bandwagon too and produced a single titled ‘Nek Minnit’ in October 2011. Hawken has also appeared in advertisements, one being an anti drink-driving advert that was called ‘The Nek Minnit’.

The phrase can be used to explain an extraordinary event that happened. By using the words nek minnit, you leave the story open ended and the listener will be left to ponder what happened. “I drove my car to the shops and nek minnit…… ”

As a photographer I’ve always had a passion for creative art and recently I have started to feature some Kiwiana Digital Prints with sayings, words, phrases and colloquialisms in my Etsy store.

If you’re a home sick Kiwi living abroad, my artwork may just be an ideal solution for a dose of New Zealand artwork to decorate your home or office.

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