Today Actor Brave Bruce Hopkins is likely to have joined the ranks of New Zealand’s most hated by daring to speak out against the country’s 100% pure cult.
Why did he do it? because he cares and he wants to improve something he obviously loves.
You may remember Mr Hopkins as Gamling in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, a series of movies that was used to sell New Zealand to prospective migrants and visitors.
However, it won’t be viewed that way by many New Zealanders, he’ll be publicly vilified for speaking out. Which is a shame because how else will anything ever change for the better in New Zealand?
According to a report in Stuff: environment:
Tourists are shocked to discover New Zealand’s “Middle-earth” is dirty and polluted, says a Lord of the Rings actor who now leads high-end tours. Bruce Hopkins has put the blade into New Zealand’s environmental record, slamming the 100% Pure brand touted by lead tourism bodies.
Hopkins starred as Gamling in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and works as a tour guide in between acting jobs. He’s always honest to tourists when asked about the real New Zealand: “I am pretty open about it, we ain’t no land of milk and honey.”
His criticisms come on top of a Ministry of Environment report noting water quality is poorer where there are pressures from agricultural and urban land use, and research by Waikato University’s Sandi Ringham that finds the clean, green brand is a sham.
This is true. in 2012, even the ex Prime Minister likened the 100% pure slogan to McDonald’s “I’m loving it“, admitting it was nothing more than a catchy phrase and had little substance.
Sandi Ringham is also expected to be vilified for speaking her mind. Citizens as well as tourists are convinced of NZ’s clean green image. Many don’t realise it’s nothing more than kool-aid, or a Big Mac with extra cheese.
Sandi is a Tourism and geography Tutor, Research assistant and Te Aka Matua Māori mentor at the University of Waikato. We hope that expressing her opinions doesn’t result in her funding suddenly ‘drying up’.
“Tourists and citizens alike are convinced of a clean green image of New Zealand by, not only marketing strategies, but also the physical greenness of the landscape,” Ringham writes. “The message we send to the wider world suggests New Zealand is a nation with little pollution, successful conservation, peace, and an absence of environmental problems.
“But in reality, rivers are dammed, energy resources are sold off and allocated to powerful corporations, and social inequalities are increasing in both urban and rural regions.”…
Hopkins isn’t your typical tour guide: Topics of discussion with his tourist clients usually include focus on the degradation of the environment, the country’s low wage economy and insight into other socio-economic issues in New Zealand. He is particularly concerned with the impact of dairying on the country’s waterways, which are “just gutter holes, they are sewer pipes”. “You wouldn’t even think of dipping your big toe into some of these places.”
Hopkins became a tour guide after attending LOTR fan conventions overseas and realised many fans planned to travel to New Zealand. Increasingly, he became dismayed by showing tourists a country which was anything but “100% Pure”.
Tourists were still stunned by much of the country, he said, but many were surprised by the intensification of dairy farming. Hopkins began to question why the country wasn’t doing more to ensure it “was as much 100% Pure as it could possible be”. “I think there’s more to be gained by being honest and having integrity than being deceitful and deceptive, and currently we are leaning towards being deceptive around how we sell ourselves as a tourist destination.”read on
Brave Bruce Hopkins, shortly to become NZ public enemy #1, wrote this on his Facebook account
and then tweeted
Isn’t it refreshing to see such openness and honesty? What a shame more tourism related businesses, migration and education companies can’t be as frank.
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