Team New Zealand



“You get over it”. That’s how Annie’s mum described to us her battle with cancer. Annie is one of my wife’s oldest friends; they went to school together in New Zealand. Annie and her lovely mum were visiting us during their trip to England and over lunch, I’d asked Annie’s mum about her health. Her four word reply tells you everything you need to know about New Zealanders.

I haven’t lived in New Zealand since 1990. In 1983, my parents emigrated there from Britain. I was 18 at the time and by the time I was 21, they moved back to the UK. I always joke that I never left home; I was abandoned on the other side of the world.

I really liked New Zealand; I was working as a pipefitter on a construction site. With the help of about ten thousand other people, I built the expansion to New Zealand’s only oil refinery, Marsden Point at the top of the North Island, just outside Whangarei. I met Julie there and twenty-six years later we’re still happily married. These days we live in the south of England.

Kiwis are unique. Maybe it’s because, they’re so remote, hidden away there at the bottom of the world. The tyranny of distance means they’ve had to just get on with things and work stuff out for themselves. They have a different perspective on life. It’s a wise, understated, no nonsense perspective and its positive.

When I lived there in the 80’s there were only two TV channels and a lot of the programs were imported from America. One of the highest rated shows was a program from the US called “That’s Incredible”. It was a cross between “Tomorrow’s World”, “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” and “Record Breakers”. Each week they’d bring you stories from around the world that showed scientific breakthroughs or feats of engineering and natural phenomena. They’d also feature people performing stunts and re-enactments of allegedly paranormal events. When ABC Television in the US cancelled “That’s Incredible” TVNZ went ahead and made their own version. It was based entirely in New Zealand. The name TVNZ decided to give to New Zealand’s “That’s Incredible” was, “That’s Fairly Interesting”.

Last night when Team New Zealand lost to Team USA in the final race of the America’s Cup, after having had a seven race lead, the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who was in New York to attend a meeting of the United Nations, tweeted, “Bugger”.  That one word said it all. Frustration, disappointment and ultimately, resigned acceptance.

The rest of the world might think it’s incredible that an international statesmen sitting at the UN in New York would tweet “bugger”, but most Kiwis will find it, fairly interesting.

And as to their defeat to the Americans, they’ll get over it.

Craic on!

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