Kiwi Assessment

In emails to friends I’ve been starting to use the term ‘good-natured wimps’ when talking in general about the New Zealanders and now that I’m making this a public statement, I should probably best make an effort to explain myself. And I might not have made this public statement if it weren’t for a passionate comment left by Craig Anderson on my previous post. It’s easy to discard my own hypercritical point of view as that of an outsider looking at things from a cold distance, lacking the empathy and deeper understanding only a long term resident can have. But here you have somebody sitting on the inside seeing the same thing!

I certainly did not expect paradise when coming back to the first world after our long stray through the remote and vast realm of the underprivileged. This biggest one of the many Islands in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and in many ways their self-declared master and exploiter, has had a definite head start by being the outpost of the mighty British Empire, which ruled over an extensive network of colonies and in many ways laid the groundwork of today’s empire of global corporate exploitation. New Zealand’s economy, albeit small, is stable and established enough to provide its citizens a standard of material living on par with that of Europe, North America, and Japan. Its proclaimed image as a socialist welfare state though is at the very best a rosy myth of the past. Here’s a country with serious issues, racial tensions, widespread corruption and inefficient governance. And nobody seems to want to do something about it!

I’ve never heard any other people on earth bitch and moan so constantly about its own government. There seems to be an absolute distrust in any public institution here. The malevolence of officials is looked at as a given with very few notable exceptions. But then if you dig deeper that distrust pretty quickly turns into ignorance. How do the local council members get elected? Nobody seems to know! Many proud themselves in doing their little things without any help from the government, like saying that if you ignore the problem it will go away!

I’ve heard it confirmed over and over and not only from the liberal minded: The Kiwi is a very complacent animal. That proverbial tolerance of letting others do as they please at a closer look turns out to be a veritable indifference towards any kind of understanding. Seemingly small social problems are allowed to fester. They are about to bring this country to its knees with a full-blown social crisis. The racial tension between the descendants of the Maoris and the so-called whites is palpable everywhere you go. Neither side seems to have an understanding of the other and petty jealousy constantly worries about the other getting the better deal. Food prices and living costs in general are skyrocketing; fees for public services are going through the roof. Yet there’s an almost total lack of dialogue about what to do about it, how to face this mounting crisis.

With its lack of stamina and will New Zealand is being diligently pulled into the global corporate empire without any kind of resistance. The sellout is absolute. But no word is lost about it. I vividly remember my first time reading the New Zealand Herald’s web page with hope of getting a preliminary impression of the land we were about to visit. I couldn’t believe the lack of substance of its reporting. An endless mess of superficial whitewash was all I could see. So where can people get the news? I have yet to find a source for meaningful information about what’s really going on in this country.

So way to go, my Kiwi friends! There’s a wake-up call sounding in the pounding surf on your rocky coast. While the entire world is marching stone faced into a substantial and existence-shattering crisis you all pretend it’s business as usual and everything is fair and bright. Take responsibility, take charge, you are this very country you’re bitching about! You’re the one that needs to find a way out of the mess, there’s no sugar daddy around who will hold your hand!

6 Responses to “Kiwi Assessment”

  1. Paz Says:

    Read about he students in Quebec!!

  2. Craig Anderson Says:

    Hi Beat,

    A fair assessmeny I’d say. Indeed a whitewash in the media. We are a complacent lot. As bad as the Americans in that a people don’t vote with their brains and instead vote because they reckon John Key is the type of guy you can have a beer with – There is truth in every joke…
    I spent the weekend helping to build an eco-cabin out of recycled wood pallets in New Brighton and this demonstrated one very important thing:
    The less you have the more value you possess. Here was a bunch of folks who have probably lost an enormous amount (relatively speaking) in the earthquakes that Christchurch had, yet they came together with a common interest in recycling and community ideals to do a course organised by some locals (who are also involved in administering the local community gardens) run by an architect in Nelson (Mark Fielding – Ecotect) to build a cabin for extra accomodation on the property of the organisers. What a great weekend!!!!
    As I said in my previous post there are some extremely inspiring people out there. Greed is poisoning us at every level (the rich want more, the poor get swept aside) and I think people feel largely powerless to do anything about it. It’s going to be a hard struggle to crawl out of this hole but it has to be done!

  3. Samuel Guia Says:

    Did you see the movie “The Piano”? Back in the days when England took possession of the island. The natives and the colonists were totally in two different islands miles away from each other eventhough they shared the same space. I truly believe that the process of racial, ethnic and cultural integration is not what most Anglo Saxon want. They want to keep everybody separate and divided; it is the most effective way to have control over them.

    By the way I have new email:

  4. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    I love it. Precise and direct. It is hars to realize that the problem is spreading everywhere with lack of human power who acept the explotation and acept it without questioning.

    Please, take care a lot 🙂

  5. Fabiola Says:

    beatriz querida un abrazo Fabi

  6. Jeff Goff Says:

    I’m an American but also NZ resident. I have moved back to the US whilst building a new boat. It truly is sad what has been happening in NZ, but I’m not sure anywhere else is much better. We recently lived on the South Island (Picton) which is a bit different than Auckland and Northland tensions wise We’ve got a billion dollar mess on our hands in the form of the 2012 election. Better get the boat done!

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