Hard News by Russell Brown


Jacindamania: Word famous in New Zealand

The Public Address Word of the Year 2017 is "Jacindamania".

Hundreds of readers of the award-winning blog site Public Address voted this week on a longlist of words nominated in a discussion on the website.

The winning word was one that could hardly have been conceived of as the year began, with the Prime Minister not yet even the MP for Mt Albert.

Unlike some previous winners, it has a clear whakapapa: it was the coinage of Bryce Edwards, who used it in his Political Roundup for August 2, the day after Jacinda Ardern became the leader of the Labour Party.

The number two word was the hashtag #metoo – itself the product of a social and political earthquake that no one saw coming.

"Those two words cleared out from the others as soon as voting began," says Public Address publisher Russell Brown. "And I think that says something about how vital women's voices have been in 2017. I mean, I usually just write a bunch of facetious stuff in these annual Word of the Year press releases, but I think important conversations have begun and men need to acknowledge that.

"And we dudes should be prepared to cede the floor, shut up and listen for a bit."

This year's poll shapes up quite differently to last year's – the first in the 11-year history of the Public Address Word of the Year in which the Top 10 contained no New Zealand-derived words. This year, thanks to an election campaign, looks very different, with Jacindamania, fiscal hole, Metiria, Let's Do This and te reo all taking places.

"The late-breaker was 'te reo'," says Brown. "With only a few hours to go it was twisting in the wind at No. 10 – and then it vaulted up three places before voting closed."

Donald Trump continues to infect the discourse, even in New Zealand: Alternative Facts, covfefe and Dotard all made the Top 10.

"I like 'dotard'," says Brown. "It's a cracking word. If North Korea spent more time finding good words in the dictionary and less time developing nuclear weapons, the world would be a better place.

The most notable failure in the long-list of 35 words is Waterview: for all the fuss about the opening of Auckland's new tunnel, hardly anyone voted for it and the word finished near the bottom of the field.


1. Jacindamania

2. #metoo

3. Alternative Facts

4. Covfefe

5. Fiscal hole

6. Metiria

7. Te Reo

8. Dotard

9. Let's Do This

10. Bitcoin



There are also prizes for people who play. And the winners are ...

First to propose the winning word: Felix Geiringer, who wins a double pass to Auckland City Limits. ("This was potentially a bit tricky," says Brown. "Because there's a rule that people can't nominate all the likely words in one comment – there's a limit of two. I didn't disqualify Felix because 'Jacindamania' was literally the first word he proposed. But honestly, you'd think a fucking lawyer would be able to follow the rules."

Prize draw winner: The lucky voter is Laura Neilson, who wins a double pass to Auckland City Limits.

First to propose the runner-up: Sacha Dylan, who wins a $100 voucher to spend at Rockefeller Oyster Bar.

Special judges' prize: To Bryce Edwards, for coining the winning word the day after Jacinda Ardern became leader of the Labour Party. Bryce wins a delicious pack of organic cultured nut cheeses from Savour.

7 responses to this post

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…


You may also create an account or retrieve your password.