‘A whirlpool of impure vocalisation’: attitudes to New Zealand English. When the New Zealand accent was first noticed it was roundly condemned. Critics said it was the product of poor homes and laziness. It was seen as a wretched Cockney import from the slums of London. In this lecture Elizabeth Gordon will examine the early attitudes to New Zealand English and the view of language which gave rise to them. She will discuss the roles of standard and non-standard English in New Zealand and consider the underlying reasons for complaints about some varieties of New Zealand English today.