The Vernacular Blackboard

A vernacular is “the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language” –Wikipedia

The Vernacular Blackboard is one of the long-term interactive installations housed in the Vernacular Lounge. The idea is for gallery visitors to write up words or phrases that they feel relate to a particular topic. Their answers are recorded and a new subject is introduced for people to comment on every month or so when the blackboard is full.

In the latest installation we are asking “What words or phrases do you associate with peace? What does peace mean to you?”, as an introduction to the Peace map which is being developed for the cultural mapping exhibition ‘Sum of the Parts‘.


The first subject was simply the New Zealand vernacular and people were asked to write words and phrases that they thought were distinctly vernacular.

Some of the responses included:

Whatever Trevor, cheerio, hit the frog and toad, strides (trousers), random, good as gold, chunder, yeah right, good one, cuzzy bro, oh my giddy aunt, box of fluffies, heaps, she’ll be right, patu, no worries/wakas, ready to roll, under your belt/hat, cheer bro, run it past you, jack/rustle something up, all good, choice/sweet as, ehoh/egg


In the second installation we asked “What words or phrases do you associate with the classic New Zealand holiday experience?”.

Some of the responses included:

Fresh cut lawns, buried up to your neck in sand, surfing, D.O.C campsites, combi van, tog marks, sun burn, BBQ, pipi, sandy sandwiches, tip-top, hokey pokey ice-cream, kai moana, kayaking, black sand, fish and chips, lilo, sand castles, trumpet, bach, long drop, crayfish, jandals, bike rides

It’s always interesting to see what people come up with and how many people choose to just write something off the subject for the fun of writing some thing in a public domain. If you have any suggestions for the next topic I’d love to hear them. Please email me:

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