Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand, as well as being a relatively common self-reference. The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird, which is native to, and the national symbol of, New Zealand. Unlike many demographic labels, its usage is not considered offensive; it is generally viewed as a symbol of pride and endearment for the people of New Zealand.
Historically, the first New Zealanders to be widely known as Kiwis were the military. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first use of the 'Kiwi' to mean 'New Zealander' in 1918. The first official use of the term by a New Zealand sports team was by the New Zealand Rugby League team on its 1938 Tour of Australia.
Following World War II the term was gradually attributed to all New Zealanders and today, throughout the world they are referred to as Kiwis, as well as often referring to themselves that way.
Spelling of the word Kiwi, when used to describe the people, is often capitalised, and takes the plural form Kiwis. The bird's name is spelt with a lower-case k and, being a word of Māori origin, normally stays as kiwi when pluralised. Thus, two Kiwis refers to two people, whereas two kiwi refers to two birds.