Rhys Darby

Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Home, where stars on the flag guide you back

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Family travels are great but it's hard to beat a southern Christmas

America has a lot of stars but it's the Southern Cross that draws me back ... and a new comedy show touring here next year. Photo / Greg Bowker
America has a lot of stars but it's the Southern Cross that draws me back ... and a new comedy show touring here next year. Photo / Greg Bowker

I'm back in New Zealand with the family for Christmas. The summer heat is already here but the cool wind keeps things fresh. Nothing smells quite like New Zealand at this time of the year; it's all pohutukawas and fish 'n' chips.

Yes, I'm happy to be back. Travelling overseas is fun when it's temporary, no matter what happens or mis-happens you can always come home and laugh about it in your kitchen.

I'm not really in that position right now (I'm in the lounge) because officially I'm an American resident. It's not forever, I tell myself. After all, I don't want to be an American; they talk funny and spell things wrong. It's just something I've got to do.

It's not the first time my family and I have lived abroad. We were Londoners for about seven years during the decade they called the naughties. My first son, Finn, was born over there. He's actually very proud of that fact. "I'm British," he often says. He loves pointing out the Union Jack every time he sees it.

"Look Dad, there's my flag."

"Well, not really, Finn. You're very much a Kiwi," I say. "You can have a little Union Jack in the corner of your flag, how about that? Plus there's stars on the New Zealand flag, that's way cooler!" Then he'd point out that there aren't many stars ...

"There's way more stars on the American flag, Dad. How come ours has only got four?"

"Well, yes, there are a lot more stars in America but see how they're all lined up the same?

"Our stars, although fewer are more unique and colourful. And you know the best thing about our stars? They will always guide you home."

We popped Finn back into his local school here last week and all the kids in his class went crazy. They were truly excited to have their little buddy back. He was like travelling Matt returning to Fraggle Rock after sending postcards from around the world.

At 8 years of age Finn is taking it all in well. He's a good kid and he's respecting the opportunities he's had thus far. My youngest, on the other hand, thinks life is some kind of video game where you gain points from visiting different worlds.

"Did we finish America?" he asks.

"No," I reply. "There's still a lot more to do there."

"A lot more levels?" "Yes ... there's more levels to unlock and problems to solve."

In a way, he's right. Life is just a game. I think Bruce Forsyth said it best when he sang ... "Life ... is the name of the game and I want to play the game with you."

So guess what, I want to play the game with all of you next year. I have a new stand-up show for 2014 called Mr Adventure and I'll be touring Aotearoa in April and May. So, if you haven't bought your loved ones a Christmas gift yet, why not get them a ticket? Merry Christmas, Kiwis!

- NZ Herald

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