80% of Kiwis own a pair or more of jandals - this Kiwi has at least four pairs lying around somewhere - so what better way to raise money for Surf Life Saving New Zealand, than to pay to wear your jandals to work. For tomorrow (today in NZ) is the inaugural National Jandal Day!
Jandals are an icon in NZ - Ozzies call them thongs, as do the French, Yanks are more likely to call them flip-flops, as do the Brits. In Hawaii they're called slippers and in Guam zorries... But they're that ubiquitous bit of summer clothing that nearly every Kiwi finds an essential piece of wardrobe kit.
The modern design rubber jandal was first patented in New Zealand in 1957 by Maurice Yock. On a trip to Hong Kong, Mr Yock had seen a similar product called a Japanese Sandal manufactured from plastic by John Cowie & Co. The Japanese were wearing their "Japanese Sandals" made of woven and wooden bases for centuries before the word "Jandal" was coined. And legend has it that the word jandal came from the combination of Japanese sandals: Japanese + sandals = jandals.
And, of course, the Ozzies think they invented the jandal - didn't, of course.
National Jandal Day is all for a good cause. Last year 1,440 lives were saved by NZ's Surf Lifeguards. NZ has a drowning rate twice that per capita of Australia, which is pretty shocking, so let's hope everyone wears their jandals to work today!