CULTURAL …

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OXYMORON
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QUESTION:

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Can the words ‘New Zealand’ and ‘culture’ be used in same sentence?
Certainly they can. We in New Zealand do it all the time.
We also invented beer, good manners, courtesy, humour, and etiquette (just ask the Danish lady-politician who came down here recently).

(Okay, so I lied about the beer—we didn’t really invent it but we do make the best brew in the world—ask any Australian for an unbiassed opinion … but be careful, their inferiority complex may be showing).

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THE IMAGE BELOW

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was in a recent Queenstown publication. I’d give it a mention and vote of thanks if I were sure of the name (I think it was the Queenstown Mirror) anyway, on with the cultural highlight of the year, the Royal Visit.

Best dressed at the 'suit & tie' affair
Best dressed at the ‘suit & tie’ affair

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BACKGROUNDER

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We define ourselves in New Zealand by what commerce refers to as the ‘USP’. The USP anywhere is what makes your product different, its Unique Selling Point. Ours is that we see ourselves as having a monopoly on The Noble Savage (NS). The tame Nobel Savage, let’s get it right … so although you can be deliciously terrified when a half naked hopping prancing gibbering rolling-eyed native comes jumping and jabbering in your face—you’re not really at risk of being lunch.

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SO WE MAKE

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a cultural virtue out of what once was a genuine cause for concern, and the Maori ‘warrior’ is resurrected to be paraded at every opportunity. In this ‘welcoming ceremony’ (sometimes referred to as a ‘challenge’*) you as victi as guest have to wait quietly to one side until all the jumping and yelling is finished, after which the NS then tosses down a wee wooden thingy. IF you come in peace you’re meant to go forward diffidently and pick it up (I’d be tempted—but never silly enough—to punt it into the next field).

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ANYWAY

now you know the background, here’s another snap that came in with a recent e-mail—

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after the Lord Mayor's procession comes ...

—make of it what you will.

Just remember (if ever you visit our golden shores)  the advice of the leader penguin in the ‘Madagascar’ animated movies:

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“Just smile and wave, boys!”

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CARPE DIEM

* there can’t be many cultured peoples in the world who challenge a guest (but I guess it’s a hangover from the old sporting chance sometimes given to a prospective lunch).

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4 thoughts on “CULTURAL …

      1. Hell … sold? I thought they couldn’t even give it away!

        But Victoria Bitter (and Carlton) I loved …

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