'Hot Kumara': The Wiggles sing new Kiwi lyrics to hit songs, explain why they love NZ audiences

It's a funny thing to interview The Wiggles after playing their music and videos every single day for a few years. 

I've been lucky enough to interview my favourite band of all time Metallica, and my favourite movie star of all time Arnold Schwarzenegger - but interviewing my son's favourite entertainers of all time was different.

Having The Wiggles sing their songs to me, live, with lyrical changes I'd just suggested to add a bit of Kiwiana, was very surreal - watch the video above to see for yourself.

Anthony the Blue Wiggle, Simon the Red Wiggle, Emma the Yellow Wiggle and Lachy the Purple Wiggle will perform at shows in New Zealand soon on the We're All Fruit Salad Tour.

That's why I got to chat with them and they're particularly excited to perform in Aotearoa again, partly because of how Kiwi audiences behave.

"New Zealand audiences are the most laid-back in the world," Anthony told Newshub.

"It doesn't mean they don't enjoy it, the audience is just as appreciative, they're just not screaming like they do in the US.

"I always thought Australia was the most chilled country in the world until I went to New Zealand. You guys teach us how to be even more laid back."

"It's actually really nice having an audience listen in that way and respond that way," added Simon.

"Sometimes, as great as all the hype is, it can get in the way a bit. So it's really lovely coming to New Zealand and performing there, where people are listening and engaging in a way that's beautiful." 

"It can feel like a performance in a lounge room. It feels more intimate because it's not so raucous," said Emma.

When asked about New Zealanders who have performed with The Wiggles, Anthony talked about broadcaster Robbie Rakete and NRL stars Martin Taupau and Benji Marshall, before Emma reminded him of Jay Laga'aia.

The Blue Wiggle had forgotten the actor was born in Aotearoa.

"When people live here for two minutes we claim them as Australian, like Crowded House, pavlovas and Phar Lap!" he said.

Rakete didn't just perform with The Wiggles, he wrote a song for them entitled 'Have A Good Day Kia Pai To Ra'.

It has a mixture of English and te reo Māori throughout and is one of many, many songs and videos from the group that introduces fans to other cultures.

"That's really important, it's kind of the foundation of The Wiggles," said Simon.

"Through music, we're introducing different cultures from different parts of the world. What The Wiggles are about is teaching that sort of diversity, that we're all different but we're all the same and we're all in it together."

It's a wonderful message and it's delivered with some genuinely good tunes.

Some parents are unlucky enough to have their kids get addicted to wacky YouTube channels with really awful music. For songs your little one plays multiple times per day, day after day, trust me: The Wiggles is a great option.

"A good early childhood book can be read by parents who will also enjoy it, if it's good quality," said Anthony.

"So with our music, we always think that it has to be good quality entertainment for the children and then the adults can get something out of it too." 

Simon added: "Anthony's got such a great musical mind and knowledge of different styles of music, from folk to rock to all kinds of things, so we pull a lot of resources out of his mind. Then we just hope it's liked - of course by the children, but also the adults as well."

This year, The Wiggles turn 30. To celebrate they have new music, new videos and some special announcements to make, they told me. 

But they also have gigs in March and April in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Napier, Queenstown and Invercargill.

"When children come to the show, we encourage them to be themselves, come up and dance, get up and sing - but if they want to sit down, that's fine too," said Anthony.

"It's an active show, not a passive show, and for a lot of children will be the first time they've seen a group this big with lights on stage. We just hope they have a really, really fun time that they'll remember for a long time."

I'm looking forward to taking my son along for his first ever concert - and seeing if we get to hear 'Hot Kumara' live, along with a special kiwifruit addition to 'Fruit Salad'.

Tickets to the New Zealand shows are on sale now.