Top of the Lake, THIS Is The New Zealand Lifestyle

Top of the lake

“we’re up in a place called Paradise, but is everything okay? Of course not”

the story focused on the type of savage, misogynistic, lawlessness we’ve seen in other Antipodean work such as Warrior, Underbelly, Jack Irish and, um, Lawless.

At times, Campion contrasted the tranquillity and blue beauty of the lake with the barren outback and the violent amorality of the people living there.

But even the lake had a sense not just of mystery but menace… Review, UK Daily Mail 13/7/13

What New Zealanders thought of the series

What New Zealanders thought of the series

Top of the Lake,  the acclaimed New Zealand writer and director Jane Campion’s mini series, has concluded on Sundance channel.

This series is excellent, and should be used as a reference if people ask you what it is really like to live in New Zealand, or when you are asked why you left such a glorious place.

If you’re one of the people taken in by the New Zealand advertising hype and seriously contemplating a relocation to the most remote country on earth, this series is such a gritty, brutally honest depiction of the New Zealand lifestyle for so many people that you need to watch it.

You could, of course, also watch Once Were Warriors, to get an understanding of the under-current of violence and grinding poverty in the country. (Warning, video may offend – not suitable for children)

But Top of the Lake gives a far better appreciation of the real day to day issues, including those of the status of women in this small nation, children perpetuating the cycle of violence and abuse, incest, child rape and youth suicide.

But New Zealand is a great place to bring up kids! … are you sure of that?

There are some quotes from the final reviews:

Salon.com: “]As GJ (Holly Hunter) says, “we’re up in a place called Paradise, but is everything okay? Of course not.”

Hitflix.com: “Throughout, Campion and collaborators Garth Davis and Gerald Lee did an excellent job of making that community a place where I could gawk at the scenery and yet never, ever want to visit.”

Slate.com “I did like how it kind of made sense of the actual biggest mystery of Top of the Lake, which is, as a friend of mine put it, why does nobody in this town care about rape?…talk about a rape culture

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16 thoughts on “Top of the Lake, THIS Is The New Zealand Lifestyle

  1. Has The Returned been shown in New Zealand? it’s a French production with English subtitles so it may be rather highbrow It broke the ground in the Spooky Lake Nice Scenery Weird People genre. Watch it and you’ll see how much Top of the Lake mimics it, even down to the opening titles and scenery shots. But the difference is the characters are articulate, middle class and friendly, even the zombies are engaging.

  2. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8893468/Man-shot-getting-ready-for-funeral

    Man shot getting ready for funeral

    A Linwood man shot at close range at his home had been preparing to go to a funeral when he was attacked.

    Police said yesterday they were “on the right track” to finding the shooter involved in the incident, which they believe was drug-related, at an Armagh St flat just after 11am on Friday.

    A friend of the victim said the 55-year-old was in an induced coma in Christchurch Hospital and had undergone at least two operations after the shooting.

  3. Police nab masturbating burglar.

    A man who allegedly broke into a home in north Canterbury left behind a nasty surprise for his victims.

    Before he fled the Waipara house with alcohol and an iPod he filmed himself masturbating on a digital camera and left it in a place it would be found. Senior Sergeant Malcolm Johnston said police were called to the burglary on Barnetts Rd on Tuesday.

    A 21-year-old Amberley resident was arrested Saturday. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8891658/Police-nab-masturbating-burglar

  4. Neglected kids back home in days http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8672672/Neglected-kids-back-home-in-days

    Four severely neglected children removed from the care of their boozing parents were back in their squalid home within days.

    The children, all aged under 5, were found dirty and malnourished, with head lice infestations and open scabies wounds, in their Lower Hutt home in January.

    Their parents were drunk, and there was more alcohol than food in the house. Police who were called to the scene called it “one of the worst cases of neglect seen in the Hutt Valley”.

  5. A BB gun, LOL. The worst thing is how light they are getting off with their priors, typical New Zealand, the criminals are babied and the victims have to harden up.

    “In sentencing Judge Ryan took into account their remorse and early guilty pleas. “Your brains aren’t fully developed at this stage – you are young and stupid.” But she said other young people did not go around robbing pizza shops with guns and beating people up.
    She said both men had chances at rehabilitation and she would monitor their sentence.
    The pair have also been ordered to pay $167.50 reparation each. Both have criminal histories. Eli has convictions for three thefts and interfering with a car while Matene has received stolen property, three shoplifting charges, burglary and assaulting police. While Matene was on bail for his latest charge he also took a metal pole and smashed up five cars. Those charges were included in his latest sentence.” Isn’t it time for a harsher sentence at this point? When do they administer punishment intended to dissuade? No wonder the thuggery is endemic.

  6. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10893561
    “A Frenchman who told airport border staff that his gumboots had been bleached clean, has been fined $400 after they were found to contain a stowaway snail and were covered in goat poo.”

    Here’s the killer “The boots posed high biosecurity risk to New Zealand,” said ministry team manager Paul Ruttley. “If they had only been used on the street in the city, it would have been okay.””

  7. A Tauranga Hospital doctor caught driving drunk after fleeing police and crashing into a building left court yesterday wearing a Guy Fawkes’ mask to avoid being photographed.

  8. An 11-year-old boy in New Zealand has become a father after conceiving a child with the 36-year-old mother of a school friend.

    Last year a 45-year-old Hamilton woman was jailed for 22 months for having sex with a 15-year-old boy. The woman, who has permanent name suppression to protect the identity of her victim, seduced the boy when he had run away from home and was looking for somewhere to spend the night. The boy went to her home because he knew the woman’s daughter.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/woman-36-charged-after-having-baby-fathered-by-11yearold-boy-20130615-2oapu.html

  9. I haven’t seen the series, but having watched the previews, I can say scenery like this is not something most New Zealanders would see daily. Certainly not people living in the larger cities and their surroundings. I do think though, that Once Were Warriors is actually a fairly accurate film about life in parts of Auckland. It may not seem to be so relevant to the readers of this blog because few prospective immigrants would live in the suburb of Otara, where the story is filmed, but I can say with some authority that it rings true, notwithstanding the extreme aspects of the plot. Also, please not that Otara is *very* close to some neighborhoods that are popular with expats, such as Botany and Dannemora. I know from work colleagues that burglary is a significant problem in Dannemora, but this is so often the case in neighborhoods near areas of poverty and neglect.

    • Areas immediately bordering a university campus have frequent break-ins and other crime, which in-university student magazines speak about.
      It’s one of the exceptions to the idea that the crime only happens in “poor” places.
      Very rarely do such incidents appear in the newspapers.

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