After coming back from a European holiday a few days ago, I wasn’t really suprised to find that not all that much happened here in good old New Zealand while I was away. This is both an underwhelming feeling and a feeling of absolute relief. While the rest of the world loses the plot completely and begins to disintegrate at its very fabric,New Zealand remains largely the same.
New Zealand has a lot to offer don’t get me wrong. It has abundant and the purest of pure natural attractions. It has vast tracts of fertile land that remains largely unpopulated. It has all of the mod-cons that one could expect from a society. Although as a fledgling and recently created nation (a few centuries old) New Zealand does lack a few things. Beautiful architecture, cultural richness and archaeological treasures, historical complexity, a variety of consumer goods – all of these subtle qualities that newer nations lack – Europe has in monumental amounts because it’s the centre of the world.
This is the downside of living at the bottom end of the world and not in the centre of the world.
However flip this idea on its head and you can begin to see why living at the bottom end of the world can be a good thing, can be an advantage – particularly during the mayhem of Trump throwing his weight around in the US, IS in Syria, the xenophobic and racist fall out from Brexit happening right now on Twitter.
While we entered our plane and timewarp home, Britain left the European Union. People proceeded to start tearing each other apart because the formerly United Kingdom became more like the Untied Kingdom. Over the ocean, scrotum-faced presidential candidate Trump made more ridiculous xenophobic comments.
We sadly left from the sublime and perfect midsummer of Poland, to the midwinter in Auckland. And we discovered that not all that much had changed here. Just the usual minor squabbles and irritations of living in this country. The cost of an AT HOP card jumping by $60 per month from the 1st of July. Good quality basics like veg in the supermarket costing $7 for one red pepper…bullshit like that. Annoying, but not so impactful that it would completely change our way of life.
So selfishly today, I am grateful for living in a provincial, distant island in the Pacific Ocean where terrorism hasn’t yet touched us (god forbid) and where the most pressing concern in the past year that local people had was the configuration of the national flag. (As a post script, after millions spent on a referedum, the flag remained exactly as it was).