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If ever there was a kiwi expression that defined us a country it would be ‘ladies a plate ‘


Not sure how politically correct it is these days, however all kiwis know what it means . One exception was my mother who soon after she arrived in NZ from Holland was invited to an event where the invite said ‘ladies a plate’. She did exactly that. That never happened again and the story has entered Hoogvliet folklore. I don’t even know if it’s true.

But poor mum aside, alongside the All Blacks, and the Masport motor mower, this country is built on church lunches, ‘work’ morning teas, BBQ’s and taking a jar of ‘home made’ jam to welcome the new neighbours. Not convinced the last bit  happens much these days. Sadly many of us have never met our neighbours, but you get the idea.

To be invited to a lunch where the invite included the words ‘church’ lunch, ‘ladies a plate’ or the like, was like winning lotto.  It was a rite of passage for 8 year old boys to be have free rein at such an event.

There are the gold medal winners in this ‘sport’. To play this game you need to be over 40, have had a mother who taught you the ‘dark arts’ of ‘ladies a plate’. You got straight into the final if you belonged to the CWI or went to a country church. Silver medal winners were often found in the ‘not for profits’. These tireless workers understood the dangers in making tomato sandwiches before time. The bronze winners knew all about the smell associated with curried egg sandwiches.

Recently our church had a ‘family lunch’. What a feast!. Veronica sponge, chicken legs, more parsley than you could shake a stick at, sausage rolls, savs, and a Barbie! Even our church,which is full of oldies, has a BBQ however rest easy, it is managed by Tony !

The old(er) ladies have the church lunch down to a fine art. They load their plates, find a seat at a table and then get a cuppa. The men shuffle about looking uncomfortable. They know their job is to eat what is left on the plate their wife brought . The embarrassment levels of seeing your plate not touched is up there with missing the vicar’s birthday. ( there was the reminder in the newsletter)

It seems to be a ‘tie’ between the Baptists and the Anglicans for the best church ‘lunch’. Now that may  be simply that they have been around longer? Pentecostal church lunches just ‘feel’ different. At their lunches you’ll find pizza and bowls with olives!  Baptists are not competitive and the Sallies make church lunches and take them to the homeless.

‘Work’ has a monthly birthday tea. All those with birthdays in the month get a card we all sign, knowing full well the recipient will never read it. We are all encouraged to bring a plate. Holly is our ‘mother’ . She can bake. If Holly made it, it will be excellent. Now Holly has yet to see 30 and my unscientific take is that her mother was the president or secretary of the CWI and taught Holly the ‘dark arts’ early on. Our country’s future is safe because we have Holly.

That leaves us with just one minor issue to resolve. Was it us or the Aussies who invented the Pav?.