Today is the birthday of that wandering son of Scotland, Robert "Rabbie" Burns.
Sat atop Dunedin's Octagon looking ponderous, the Scots bard looks a remarkably young 262-years auld.
His statue has a twin in the Auckland Domain, and countless other small towns in New Zealand, Australia and the Scottish diaspora. For "Auld Lang Syne" Burns has to be up there as one of Scotland's top exports. And like golf, tartan trousers and Tunnock's teacakes – he's an acquired taste.
One wonders how as a failed customs man who accepted work on a Jamaican slave plantation he become a champion for liberty and equality. As a well known womaniser who boasted of sowing more wild oats than a box of Quakers, Robert Burns might not be an ideal role model for the #MeToo era.
Considering he drank himself to death on his last penny at the age of 47, he's not much of a role model at all.
Then there is the fact he's near incomprehensible. Even Scots complain they hardly understand "ony word, fer ken".
However it's the sentiment that carries his words across barriers. Possibly the only writer to be memorialised on postage stamps by both the USA and Soviet Union, Burns' words had appeal.
Whether he was talking to a louse, to a mouse or twa dogs – he has the voice of someone who is at ease in any walk of life, and can share the delights and sorrows of even the lowliest of animals as if his own.
Then there is the fact that every 25 January the tradition of throwing a party in his honour has also warmed people towards him.
It involves rhymes that are awful, food made from offal and music not much worse.
The Burns Supper is an odd event to describe and is best experienced in person.
However it rounds out the New Year period nicely. While the last peels of Hogmanay and the first of January are still fresh in memory, it's an excuse to have one last dram and a dance with friends that will see you through to spring.
However this year the festivities will be different.
The Burns Night celebrations in Dunedin, Otago's Edinburgh of the South might be the only ones in the world happening in person. While Glasgow university's Pauline Mackay has been quoted in the Guardian and The Scotsman as saying a virtual Burns Night could see the event becoming "bigger than ever", I fear this misses the point.
While this year's celebrations and travel plans are put on hold or forced online by the pandemic, the simple Burns supper is as hard to do justice to "virtually" to as it is to describe fairly.
Burns was a berk. However it's the excuse for a familiar gathering that will be missed.
'Til then raise a glass of 'juice from scotch barley' to absent friends, long postponed meet-ups and those who we're parted from. For now, at least.
Four Kiwi distilleries to take a cup of kindness from
Perhaps best known for Pink Gin and the proximity to the Wanaka Bra Fence, the distillery has branched out into barrel-aged whiskies such as the 'Just Hatched'. A three-year-old single malt - that's technically the minimum time a spirit can spend in a cask to be termed 'whisky'.
A tiny family run distillery in Riverhead, just north of Auckland The Thomson Distillery make Scotch style whiskey with New Zealand flavours. The young Manuka smoked 'Progress Report' has won awards and acclaim around the world.
Auld Farm Distillery
The not so Auld Farm has only just begun. New Zealand's southernmost distillery has just put away its first 100 casks. An investment in time, this fledgling Kiwi whisky business is one to watch.
The New Zealand Whisky Collection
Sadly the cellar door in Oamaru is no more. You can however pick up a tipple of award-winning Dunedin Double Wood or 1988 Cask Strength Single Malt they are very sought after drams.