October 2, 2021

A Love Letter To New Zealand

But It’s Tough Love!

It was less than a year ago that New Zealand was heralded as the country leading the way in the fight against COVID. A beacon. A North Star … “Look at what ‘they’ are doing. If only we could all do that!”

It was all ours to lose. And we did.

You only need to look around the world, but in case that’s too hard - consider the global Covid ranking. Last November New Zealand lead the world. As of writing, the country languishes at 38th.

I’m a visitor here ( coming up to two years now ), so still very much an outsider. When I first arrived someone said to me;

“We are a very remote, isolated country that has forced us to be innovative … but that very isolation causes us not to think beyond our borders.”

There is truth in that.

Since living here, I have come to recognise a local expression …

“She’ll be right.”

… it’s cute, but IMHO, allows for an acceptance that it will all ‘just work out’ … it will be ok … don’t worry. A neat post on the phrase, To quote one short sentence from that article …

“The term has taken on a less than acceptable meaning in recent years. The ‘she’ll be right’ kiwi mentality can refer to a below adequate acceptance of a object or situation instead of trying to come up with a good fix for something. It is pretty much, that’s ok, anything goes, even if it isn’t great quality. Are we allowing sub-par outcomes when we could find a better answer? It can be classed as a little flippant and a no-worries attitude”.

I think that this thinking causes the nation generally to accept ‘ok’ … not excellence, which in turn reflects on the perception of the country. (BTW - it is the country. The people are amazing. And so many Kiwis leave New Zealand and do great things .. and have done for over a hundred years. Brian Sweeney’s Ted Talk from 8 Years Ago tells that story.

It’s a shame, I love New Zealand. I want to be involved, to bring my experience and knowledge to the country, so far it is clear that I have failed to explain how I can help. I place the fault at my feet. If somebody doesn’t get what you are saying, it’s your fault - not theirs. That said, I am not alone. As I have engaged with different people and organisations here, it is clear that there are a number of frustrated visitors here.

A Related Story About LOTR

I am not part of the NZ LOTR world … but had a close enough seat to the production side, public opinion, employment challenges and the Government to know that this is not simple.

Two articles …

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings New Zealand exit a tourism nightmare

Stuart Nash under fire

Here’s the thing. At a stroke, Amazon moved production from New Zealand to the UK. I don’t think it was about the money, it was about how hard it is to work with New Zealand. But that hasn’t really been discussed in anything I have read, certainly nobody has publicly asked ‘why’.

We just collectively shrug our shoulders and say;

“She’ll be right.”

You can read more thoughts here.


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