Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Meads epitomises that can-do spirit

Colin Meads.
Colin Meads.

Sir Colin Meads is the ultimate reflection of how many Kiwis view themselves.

The former All Black and retired farmer, who is one of New Zealand's biggest sporting heroes and has no trouble fitting the mould of that Kiwi bloke who can fix anything, has a unique perspective on what it is to be a Kiwi.

"It's something to be terribly proud of," said Sir Colin. "I think we're people of the land. We've got to be pretty proud as a young country of how we have coped with life."

The 77-year-old lived through World War II and though his farming father didn't serve, Sir Colin remembers the hardships.

"We did it not for New Zealand but for the Commonwealth and for the world."

Growing up in that era and going on to farm, Sir Colin said he understood why older generations might more strongly identify with being a New Zealander.

"I think the younger ones travel more now and they don't quite appreciate New Zealand as much as they should. A lot will travel to Europe and those sort of places and yet they've never been to the South Island.

"In many ways it's the younger generation that mightn't have the same ideals as we do of New Zealand."

Colmar Brunton's research shows 57 per cent of New Zealanders agree being innovative reflects their identity and Sir Colin believes stereotypes such as No 8 wire ingenuity have their roots in New Zealand history.

"You go back to the 50s and 60s and they were innovators. There was No 8 wire holding the plough together and the Kiwi working on the farm couldn't go and get it welded because he would have to shoot off 20 or 30 miles.

"They got things done. It wasn't, could it be done? It was how you got it done."

- NZ Herald

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