Breaking News: The MOST important story for Kiwis right now

I recently revealed how out of the loop I am lately when it comes to the news. The Pope’s off somewhere, Pistorius did something or other, and umm… I don’t know. That’s the point really.

But one piece of breaking news has not failed to escape my notice, thanks to the news source that is Facebook. Let’s face it, it’s now my only news source.

So what is this vital piece of news that has Kiwis on the edge of their seats, fingernails dug in, knuckles white with anticipation?


Marmite NZ have announced that the yeasty spread will be back in business and back on shelves on the 20th of March. Not only this, but there’s all sorts of hoopla greeting its reintegration into society, including giveaways, factory tours, and a spot on Campbell Live. Hard-hitting journalism strikes once again.

Of course the reason for all the hullaballoo is that this staple of the NZ breakfast table has been out of action since March 2012, thanks to the Christchurch Earthquakes devastating its factory. I remember the increasingly panicked rumours flying around the interwebs of a Marmite shortage of apocalyptic proportions (dubbed the ‘Marmageddon’), and many a hushed whisper of ‘black gold’. No one could believe it since they’d heard nothing about this hot-button issue before, as the in-store stocks held out for a just over a year before the sad news went to presses.

As the waiting public gradually came to accept the rumours as truth, the great panic began. Even though the initial shortage was projected for only a few months, there was a greedy grabby period of stockpile buying, and stores sold out in days. Suddenly half-eaten, margarine-encrusted and crumb-flecked tubs were asking nearly a grand on Trademe, and the Prime Minister’s take on the matter was headline news.

Now. A year on. Two years on from the Earthquake. And Marmite is almost home again.

Yeah okay, some of you may not be very excited. And even I have a confession to make: I’m not a Marmite lover. Before you rattle your cages too hard, I’m not a Vegemite lover either. I’m one of the few fans of the lesser-known, slightly awkward, unpopular cousin, Promite.

However, I feel I understand the dilemma a lot better now that I’ve attempted to replace my preference with the UK’s version of Marmite. I don’t think anyone can rationally argue that any of the mites are, like, totally different. Let’s be honest, they are the same product with different nuances. But when I tried UK Marmite, I was appalled at the odd concoction that drizzled like honey, was the colour of maple syrup, and was saltier than even my sodium-lovin’ buds could stand.

So why is it so important to Kiwis to get their beloved breakfast spread back? I think there are probably some of us, home and abroad, who feel this small win as a triumph over the earthquakes that have taken so much. A stupid symbol perhaps, but a symbol nonetheless, as is any business or school or person that was broken and cracked and has dragged itself back out of the silt.

For those of us abroad, it’s also a slice of home when we are so far away. I personally came to London with a jar of Promite in my suitcase from a kind workmate, and that was the only item of its sort that I used luggage space on. I know plenty of Kiwis in London are already planning and bribing to get Marmite into the country, and if you can find a loaf of Vogel’s to put it on, all the better for a slice of heaven.

But what else do you miss from home? My mother asks me this all the time, and when I first got here, there weren’t any items I longed for, as I felt I had so many options here. The longer I’ve trawled the supermarkets here though, the more I realise there are certain things I do desire that I just can’t seem to find a replacement for.

I recently got a care package from one of my friends who had to go home for a wedding, with items she knew I’d been lusting after: Sugar-free V, choc-licorice logs, Whittaker’s. And soon, my mother is coming to visit – surely she won’t need all her 23kg allowance just for a trip? What do I ask her for?

Go on then, tell me: apart from Marmite (I’ll take it as read), what do you miss from home?


4 thoughts on “Breaking News: The MOST important story for Kiwis right now

  1. JKTJ

    Call me a conspiracy theorist but I’m pretty sure the whole Marmite shortage is just a very successful PR campaign by Sanitarium. Also, maybe I just haven’t been over here long enough but there’s nothing I crave from home, except maybe drinkable tap water and onion dip.

    1. shapelle Post author

      Ohh you’re so right J-TJ – that is a sweet marketing ploy. Funnily enough tasty water was one of the things I most missed initially and now don’t worry about, whereas now there are little things I actually do miss from home. You’ll have to check back in in 6 months and see if you’ve changed your mind! P.S. I totally got a delivery of onion dip from LD whoop whoop!

  2. shmennikins

    I am bringing back Whittakers’ Bittersweet Dark and will be googling Vogels suppliers like a fiend. Any other requests?
    Also, just wanted to say, I love your writing always, but your hovertags make my heart happy. x

    1. shapelle Post author

      Haha you’re the first one to mention them! I always wonder if anyone will notice (although mother-dear is now so up with it that she can comment on my blog, I have not taught her such secrets yet). I’ll now be thinking of you every time I hover tag 😛


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