What Kiwis Say About New Zealand – Charlottesville and Morrinsville Show the Kiwi Dream is Selective Blindness and Whimsy

New Zealanders see the violence in Charlottesville more than they do in their own country

Thinking about moving to New Zealand because you’ve been sold on the lifestyle benefits?

Welcome to our series What Kiwis Say About NZ: what the locals are saying about the country that actively mis-sells itself to migrants – and its own people.

There is a selective blindness in New Zealand. For example, people see the problems arising in Charlottesville, Virginia but don’t see the intense firefights happening in their own country.

AK47 bullet holes in a police car after an intense firefight in Morrinsville, Waikato source

Here’s Yossarian’s account:

“Right from my childhood (I live and was born in New Zealand) I have continually heard about the kiwi utopia – as well as being bombarded with images of it (on paper, postcards, and film) – yet I have never ever experienced it.

While I know it to be a complete myth – at times (rather naively I must admit) I still believe it simply ‘has’ to be out there somewhere as you see it so often on local television and in New Zealand-made films and you read about it in New Zealand literature and in the New Zealand press; and you constantly hear about it from your fellow countrymen and women. It’s that amazing place of blue skies, endless sunshine, beaches, barbecues, boating, pohutukawa trees in flower, bellbirds singing in the bush, of liberalism and social tolerance, of affluence, of owning your own home, of a great work-life balance, of walks along tranquil country roads and of outdoor adventure, sports, cultural enlightenment, good food, and good wine.

In reality nothing could however be further from the truth though – for the majority of us living here. In my opinion 2017 New Zealand is more akin to a combination of Orwell’s 1984 and Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange than it is of More’s Utopia

Here on the South Island we are currently coming out of a cold and miserable winter and I have neighbours who go on and on about how they wish they were in the ‘winterless north’ aka the upper North Island (where incidentally they have never ever been but which they constantly ‘quote’ because they watch the weather forecast 10 times a day) – that sub-tropical enclave which is supposedly our very own slice of Hawaii or the Caribbean.

The other day when I however laid a few facts on the table about the weather in northern New Zealand they looked at me with total bewilderment – especially while I told them it actually rains a whole lot more in Auckland than it does in either Dunedin or Invercargill. Clearly they did not believe me. I could tell what I told them ‘hurt’ them! They simply wanted to keep that dream alive – having been exposed to so much utopian propaganda for so many years.

On the other side of the coin they just couldn’t wait to tell me about this past weekend’s white supremacist ‘terrorist’ incident in Charlottesville, Virginia (proudly playing that ‘aren’t we lucky we don’t live in America’ card) but ultimately they said absolutely nothing about the individual who fired on the police in the Waikato with a military-style weapon (to me this was a terrorist act – despite the apparent lack of a political or religious motive). But hey this is New Zealand and they – like so many other kiwis (when it comes to crime in their own country) just dismiss it as being a ‘one-off incident’.

Again – like so many other kiwis – my neighbours constantly (annoyingly) proclaim they are so glad they live in New Zealand. The fact they cannot actually tell me why is however another story!

To end my rant: my advice to you would be to get out while you still can!”

You may also be interested in

Morrinsville gunman had ‘military-style’ weapon

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, police say an officer came under fire from a gunman with a military-style semi-automatic weapon in the Waikato.

The police officer gave chase to a vehicle they caught speeding in Morrinsville, before being fired on and withdrawing himself immediately.

Two other officers attended the scene on Kuranui Rd as back-up, and engaged in an intense firefight with the offender.

Waikato police District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said they have apprehended two occupants of the car, but are still seeking the driver, who they believe is the gunman… read on

13 thoughts on “What Kiwis Say About New Zealand – Charlottesville and Morrinsville Show the Kiwi Dream is Selective Blindness and Whimsy

  1. Most kiwis have got the bogan gene. They like to think they’re quirky but they’re not. Not even funny. Rudest people I’ve come across. Also the thickest. And they can be a mean and miserable lot too. I’ve got nothing good to say about them really. Some are okay I guess but they’re severely outnumbered by the arseholes.

  2. Yossarian,

    Interesting comments, if also rather depressing, if you’re a New Zealander.
    I’ve read about ‘sub tropical’ NZ, after referring to a map, it was revealed as a complete fantasy. Unless Kiwis can show me where sugar cane and bananas are grown in the North Island, I won’t believe it. I don’t understand where the myth of the “Kiwi-Utopia-it’s-always-worse-in-other-countries (usually Australia)” comes from. Unless it’s just sour grapes. New Zealanders seem to travel widely, there are zillions of them here in Oz, they should know better.

    • Russell,

      ‘Sub-tropical New Zealand’ is just another one of the many myths which have sprung up around these islands.

      I have spent considerable time living in KwaZulu-Natal and have also visited Queensland – and I can assure you the climate of northern New Zealand does not come close to either of these places.

      Despite having lived in South Africa (and also the Middle East) – you might be interested to know that the greatest summer of my childhood (the one which I recall the most) was actually spent in the UK (in 1976). A record summer by all accounts (a record which I believe still stands) – and yet of all the summers I have spent in New Zealand there are none which I can recall as even coming close to that British summer.

      The stark reality is it rains quite regularly on Christmas Day here and I often have to light the fire! But contrary to this ‘reality’ (as occurred last Christmas Day: 2016) we then have an expat kiwi ringing up the local radio station from London practically crying about how he longs for the beach and the barbecue and for a real kiwi Christmas – and yet it was bloody raining and cold here and we barely went outside all day!!!

      As a rule my partner and I don’t barbecue, swim in the sea, or spend copious hours outdoors due to our cool and changeable climate. We choose to go overseas to do these things. Simple as that. While we have no problem in admitting this – it seems to strike a raw nerve with a good many of our fellow countrymen and women. As I am sure you are aware Russell – not following the party line in New Zealand is actually tantamount to something way worse than treason – especially when you are a New Zealander yourself!

      • Yossarian, in all my years living in NZ I have never encountered anyone who goes to the beach on Christmas Day but it always seems to be put out there as the normal Kiwi Christmas. Another observation when I was young and before I had ever come here I have met some pretty tough New Zealanders in London. Hitch hike across India types, join the Muhajadeen fight the Soviets for 6 months and then on the way. I don’t see those sort of people around any more. Travel seems to be more of a Facebook, showing off to your friends type activity these days and moan about homesickness.

    • In regards to the “Kiwi-Utopia-it’s-always-worse-in-other-countries (usually Australia)” line they love to spout, I like responding with ‘So why is it that over 600,000 of you all live permanently in Australia, making up their third largest immigrant group/ source country year after year? 600,000+ overseas Kiwis is what percentage of the total NZ population exactly? 🙂

  3. Well written ,in 1965 N.Z was the sixth wealthiest country in the world per capita,the current population steal reputation from their ancestors,due to lack of access to global markets and very high import tariffs a culture of independence and creativity was formed ,the referral to number eight wire actually had meaning as many farmers ,builders and even boatbuilders used this product to fabricate and repair all types of products.This culture has long been dead however your average kiwi still believes that they are resourceful in the same way as their forefathers.In the 1980s a series of global financial crisis and poor N.Z government decisions lead to a mass migration out of N.Z and nearly 60% of the working population left the country,the kiwis who stayed here often have resentment issues aimed at those who departed the country.Kiwis love to hate Americans ,during WW2 many N.Z soldiers where shipped off to the Middle East to fight ,later in the war the Pacific campaign began and the Americans entered the war,many were training and or stationed in N.Z at places such as Mckays crossing on the Kapiti coast ,this base was also used as a rest and recreation facility,well I suppose some of the recreation involved having relationships with the local woman who’s husbands and boyfriends were away at war,there was even a shootout on the Wellington wharves between U.S and N.Z troops which resulted in multiple fatalities ,I think some of the hatred of the U.S has been passed on from the generations,some of it is jealously and then there’s the pure distraction of finding fault with another country in order to feel warm and fluffy here in N.Z.
    This country has never been perfect however in my lifetime it’s never been so weird and nonsensical,as Yossarian mentions a combination of clockwork Orange and Orwells 1984.I used to own a business in the Far north and my wife and I would crack up at a sign post after Whangarei ,the sign read welcome to the winterless North,during the winter the weather at this point was often close to freezing with gale force winds blowing from all directions ,lets all have another cup of Kool aid .

    • mcleodkiwitony,

      Thanks for your appreciation.

      To many people (who have not grown up in New Zealand) my stories and opinions perhaps sound a little bizarre and far-fetched. In some cases you simply have to see it (and experience it) to believe it.

      As you are well aware – complete ignorance in regards to overseas events (and other cultures) is common in New Zealand. The vast majority of people simply do not have an international outlook (or those who do have left the country). I have always found this amazing considering New Zealand’s very existence relies on overseas trade (trade negotiations and supposedly ‘diplomacy’).

      My neighbours represent a milder version of this attitude. While they are by no means discourteous or malicious people I would not however expect many non-New Zealanders (upon meeting them) to come away feeling stimulated or enlightened.

      Everything about their lives is just so plain and shallow. They live in a big bland non-descript roughcast house with big ‘black’ bare windows that stare out at you over an almost blank garden. Aside from seeing the clothes airer inside the sliding door you would think the house was unlived in. There is not an exotic flower or bush to be had in the front garden (only one proverbial flax bush). There is barely a book in the house. Not a single piece of art. There is not a movie watched or a television documentary commented on. Rugby, the neighbourhood goings-on, and the weather dominate all conversations. As for pastimes – you often see ‘mum’ knitting and ‘dad’ polishing his car (they call one another ‘mum and dad’). And as for food – mum likes cheese-rolls (made with white bread and mild cheddar) – whereas dad is more adventurous – he often goes Chinese on a Friday night – he orders a couple of spring rolls…

      • Well put George! I guess several other Finn (Crowded House) songs could also apply to this post: “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, “Weather with You”, and “Four Seasons in One Day”.

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