Alan Duff: Just another day in Godzone

Just another sliver of typical life in Godzone. Photos / Mark Hannah, Tim Cuff, Photosport, file
Just another sliver of typical life in Godzone. Photos / Mark Hannah, Tim Cuff, Photosport, file

A typical week in New Zealand? The Prime Minister shears a sheep faster than a shearing legend; where else does this happen - in any country? Another dairy gets robbed; the two sides are ethnic, cultural poles apart. So familiar.

Dairy owners, a hard-working Indian family. Robbers, Maori like me but nothing like me.

But so New Zealand, eh? Yeah-nah.

Another Chinese tourist drives his/her rental car the wrong side of the road and another head-on crash. One more tale of a European hitch-hiker raped, or had his/her belongings stolen. Locals overwhelm the victim with kindness. Same country.

North Canterbury farmers go into a fifth year of drought. Hawke's Bay (close to my heart) back in another drought cycle with fires. Christchurch's Port Hills aflame; we all hurt for them like we did over their earthquakes. But New Zealand knows tremors, shakes, rattles and occasionally a big one.

Dairy prices go down, up, down, up; and with it hopes are dashed, lifted or left in anxious suspension.

Dairy farmers are responsible for the highest percentage of our exports. They've had a boom then a bust and now heads above water. Just.

Beef prices maintain a sustained good run. Lamb prices jump back on the roller coaster. The All Black forward pack continues to be dominated by farmer DNA. Good. We all love our farmers.

Winston confronts a Waitangi activist and calls his bluff. Forty years he's done this.

Judith Collins talks down to yet another lot of working-class people never likely to vote for her party. You'd think after all these years she'd learn that being inclusive is a win-win. But we have a few stroppy female politicians like her. They're Kiwis after all.

Same we have the opposite: Women who toil (and tolerate) behind the scenes at every sports club, in every household. And even more stroppy male MPs.

Another statement from the Police Commissioner on the exact same subject of the past 25 years: the road toll. "Irresponsible drivers speeding." Same obsession his predecessors had. In the meantime, burglars are laughing and evil men get away with sexually abusing primary school children.

Click, the speed camera's got you. When it's not the siren and flashing light in your rear vision mirror. Well done, incumbent Commissioner: Another 1 out of 10 for crime prevention and policing originality. Truly well done to the cops on Friday/Saturday night bar and pub duty having to put up with the lowlifes still living in last century. Or the one before that.

What would our country be without stranded whales and all those people with buckets, stroking hands and caring hearts? Who could dislike a whale hugger/rescuer? Save for the Japanese, virtually the whole world loves whales and dolphins, in their live state.

Saturday at every town and city sports park, parents watch their kids play our national games, yell mostly encouragement and mostly make kids feel proud. A shout of support for Patrick Tuipoloto, and a resounding boo to the knockers who found him guilty without a hearing. No Kiwi rugby player would take performance drugs. The public pressure to perform is lift enough.

Maori leaders are still pointing the finger at anyone but ourselves.

Ben Smith is every sports journalist's darling, deservedly so. His fullback-turned-wing counterpart, Israel Dagg, is he who can do no right despite his magnificent return to top form. He re-signs with NZRU until 2019 and one journalist describes his spurning lucrative overseas offers as the "biggest risk."

Our netballers don't get near the same attention. Maybe just less spectator interest rather than bias against women in sport. After all, Valerie and Lydia are in the first-name only class.

New Zealand media outlets hardly lets a day pass without mentioning the Kardashians. This obsession has all of us flummoxed. Why, for God's sake? But we'll always love our Richie, now joined by Valerie's brother, big Steve.

Crime watch and another Maori "dangerous criminal" on the run. Another Maori male on trial for murdering a child. Heart-breaking but predictable. Our whare has been leaking for a long time now. Maori leaders are still pointing the finger at anyone but ourselves as to who is responsible for the leaks, let alone fixing them.

Rich Pakeha (some), Waiheke islanders use the Gold Card for free ferry travel. Pakeha till-ticklers rip off their employers; law firms (presumably just a few) gouge clients; politicians still push the expenses and travel costs envelope till the press busts them.

Tourists can't believe how friendly, open and trusting Kiwis are. A tiny minority feel they've been ripped off. We still love meat pies and fish & chips.

Just another sliver of typical life in Godzone.

- NZ Herald

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Alan Duff

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