Feeling spiky - Aciphylla aurea - taramea or golden Spaniard

Impressive to look at but it makes a less favourable impression if you get too close - Aciphylla aurea is a NZ native plant known as taramea in Maori, and as golden Spaniard or golden speargrass in English.  The long leaves are needle sharp (hence the scientific name Aciphylla - from the Latin "acicula" for needle and the Greek "phyllum" for leaf).  Those rosettes of spiky leaves around the the flower heads are also formidable.  You can see why it is called golden, but why "Spaniard"? you might ask.

Garden writer Sandra Simpson researched the use of "Spaniard" in naming Aciphyllas.  (My favourite of these for oddness of name is the "horrid Spaniard," Aciphylla horrida.  Its spines are indeed horrid.)  She wrote, 'The only reference I can find suggests it is "jocular", although the Reverend William Colenso, writing in a newspaper in 1894, calls the name "objectionable", preferring the Maori name, taramea.' 

So - not a lot of help. I imagine a soldier bristling with staves and spikes - but I have no idea why it would be a Spaniard.  Anyway, with upcoming elections and no certainty that we will elect a party with environmental concerns that will be acted on, I am feeling quite bristly and spiky myself.  But I still hope that the future will be golden - for our planet and for all living things.