A recent crossword question in the local freebie newspaper was “Internationally renown fashion show staged annually in Wellington” and the answer, “WOW” (World of Wearable art.) Several points arise.

First, to clarify this, the WOW annual show pulls hordes of provincial middle-aged madwomen into the capital each year, to the delight of hotels and restaurants. It consists of models parading dressed as pumpkins and such-like absurdities but there’s certainly no “art” involved, and absolutely nothing wearable, rather it’s simply silliness for simpletons. So be it if it makes them happy.

The cringe-making bit which gets me though, is the crossword composer’s “internationally renown” assertion. Is he serious?

The show was cancelled this year thanks to the sainted one’s edict, enforcing a monastic lifestyle.  Can we assume given this “internationally renown assertion” that as a result of the cancellation, they’re mourning in Malawi, grieving in Grenada and weeping in Wyoming at this dreadful catastrophe. Or is it more probable that of the circa 8 billion people in the world, perhaps 10 foreigners, God only knows why, may be aware of this WOW event?

With our small size and remoteness we’ve always suffered from an acute sensitivity, about our significance, perfectly illustrated this year with our grossly hyperbolic newspaper claims that the world’s in awe of Jacinda.

We’ve always suffered from this inferiority complex, for that is what it is. Back in 1950 as a small boy I was dragged along by my parents and with thousands of others we stood in a park and listened to a racket by a bloke called Ken Smith, playing a bloody cornet. Why? Because he was allegedly an internationally renown cornet player, this a claim with no meaningful validity. He toured the nation pulling huge crowds, all awe-struck at his totally exaggerated international renown.

We’ve grown up since and today, far from embarking on a free national tour and pulling tens of thousands of sufferers, he’d be prosecuted for disturbing the peace, and rightly so.

Three years on in 1953, again with my family, we stood on Parliament grounds with thousands of others and cheered when Prime Minister Syd Holland emerged with the Queen and Duke and announced a New Zealander had conquered Everest.

Today, the Queen turning out might pull at best 20 deranged old ladies. Most of us would say Ed Hilary was our most famous product. Nowadays, each year, thousands of people, God only knows why, are escorted up to the top of Everest and Ed’s feat has lost its lustre. It’s a nice earner for Nepal though, if I had such an urge, I’d hire a helicopter.

Kiri is internationally known in opera circles, so too the All Blacks in sporting circles. Otherwise we’re rightly insignificant. But note this. In an article on New Zealand in the weekend Financial Times a month back, a columnist remarked on our safe haven (from the virus) advantages, a point lost on our government, thus its absurdly damaging dictatorial over-reaction.

But the article went on to point out that we’re a fairly dull, low wage nation and as a consequence our best and brightest, specifically an eighth of our population, is lost abroad, never to return. It’s true. New Zealand born people in all fields of achievement, can be found literally everywhere nowadays, never to return.

This is a third world nation phenomenon, most notably in the medical field. Britain’s vaunted National Health Service would collapse without its foreign-born doctors (50%) while its nurses comprise about 60% foreign born girls. Well, we’re no different, exporting our best talent, and kidding ourselves we’re a source of envy. What to do about it, you ask?

John Key wanted to make us an international banking centre, based in Auckland. With Hong Kong in trouble that might possibly work although I doubt it as the bankers would refuse to come. We saw that illustrated during the Brexit battle. London’s vociferous Remainder faction constantly warned Britain would lose this principal foreign exchange earner to Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich. In fact, what happened was the bankers refused to shift, excepting Paris, on the grounds of boredom. With Paris, punitive taxes and oppressive regulations made that destination a non-starter.

So we’re essentially a rather bland breeding ground of talent for the rest of the world. Does it matter? Probably not, but it does lead to a compensatory self-delusion, illustrated by the ridiculous claim that the World of Wearable Art event is world famous.


Speaking of self-delusional (and self deprecating) our great leader sprang to mind.

In the meantime we have economists saying it’s good to have lot’s of immigrants coming and over-loading everything including our housing situation etc. Are they the only ones who want to come?

    rogken I think you are misconstrueing the term ‘immigrant’ with thoughts of bludging , freeloaders looking for their main chance.
    I suggest you think again and think of a bigger picture.

      I think rogken did see the bigger picture. Immigration is pushing up our population numbers. This in turn affects all areas of our lifestyles. The only plus to that is more consumers to spend money. It does not ease the housing market, it does not free up space on the beach, it does not mean less people at Bob’ favourite fishing spot.

      Sorry , sorry , but you are falling into the same hole as rogken.
      You are forgetting about those immigrants that are highly educated , highly qualified and looking to advance NZ as well as themselves through hard work.
      In my experience and understanding , Bob’s favourite fishing spot and some space on your beach is not under threat.
      They are too busy working !

Why are we so frequently described as ‘a low wage economy’? We’re certainly not at the top of the tree, but we are far enough up to drop this ‘low wage’ bit. It’s hard to know what inspired it, but other than the few remaining union members, does anyone else believe it?

Never has a truer word been spoken.

Thank you for the reality! Probably best not to tell the rest of the world that our low wage economy, standing alongside the polluted countryside and unswimmable rivers, is attractive only to those New Zealanders left here who still claim we are unique. If the world new our true status we could start to lose the tourist dollar making us an even poorer place to live. Nuclear free and now dying a little faster since the Covid 19 panic. Well done Ashley and Jacinda!

    Hey you got that wrong. I swim in all my rural rivers. Rivers near the town are not good. Your sewage always goes to a water body. Keep the perspective!

Terb Terbfacetious 7th June 9, 2020 at 10:48 am

….ha ha …why do you always insist on the truth sir Bob?
Brings to mind this question (only my opinion) repeatedly asked since the dawn of time…
“does my behind look big in these pants ? “.
I’m sure our comrades will eventually announce that the question will henceforth be answered in the words to be gifted to us by our glorious leader Jacinderella the Fairygreat…
” henceforth …all surfs must never tell the truth… if they know whats good for them”.
The same people that believe in our national delusion, ( no entendre intended) also get to vote, and thats what makes our country so wonderful..dear.

Brenda AKA Granny B June 9, 2020 at 10:58 am

Dear Sir Bob, I must gently remonstrate with regards to Her Majesty; my belief (not perception) is that she is a woman of character, derived from her faith in Christ, and as such deserving of admiration and acclaim. I would admire her if she wasn’t the Queen but that position allows her qualities a large stage. (PS. Her weakness is her short comings as a mother but like many she attempts to make amends with her children’s children.)

    The Queen has given a lifetime of service that none of us could hope to emulate.
    I will not hear a word against her.

We are a comparatively low-wage economy with a very high cost of living, because no one’s allowed to build a new home at fair price on the fringes anymore.

I wish someone would campaign to tell young New Zealanders, basically, get the hell out of this country of socialist, before they find themselves too professionally and socially rooted here to painlessly leave.

The campaign would look incredibly unpatriotic, but would in fact be the opposite. It’s only by New Zealand’s foolish choices that we make ourselves so unattractive. We need that slap in the face.

Terb Terbgobsmackedagain June 9, 2020 at 11:19 am

NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH….Jacindarelle the Fairygreat has just announced that she is officially “upset” at the Warehouse redundancies.
…..yes this is a headline report…oh isn’t she just so lovely !!!!
Now that’s got to be a National delusion.

    Terb , I am officially upset by the likes of the redundancies from wage subsidy grabbers such as The Warehouse.
    How many millions ?
    Direct your anger where it’s most warranted !

Captain Pedant here: your memory is failing you, Bob. News of Hillary conquering Everest broke in June 1953, just as the Queen was about to be crowned in London. It was six months later, in December 1953, that she and Phil the Greek visited New Zealand for the first time.

The other notable event that occurred while they were here was the Tangiwai Train Disaster on Christmas Eve, where, as all New Zealand cricket fans know, the fiancé of Bob Blair, then playing a test match in South Africa, was among the 151 dead.

I also seem to recall hearing a recording that the announcement in New Zealand of Hillary’s feat was first made over the radio, not by Syd Holland, but by the then-Deputy Minister, Keith Holyoake, in that faux BBC plummy accent he used on such occasions.

That is all.

Correct Bob -the tongue in cheek L& P advert says it all really : “World famous in NZ”

One Kiwi of note who is very well known overseas but goes under the radar in NZ is Sir Donald McIntyre. He is a retired Wagnerian singer who played the lead part of Wotan in Wagner’s 4 opera Ring cycle (amongst others), & used to play this role at Wagner’s opera house at the Bayreuth festival every year (run by Wagner’s family). Singing at Bayreuth means he was the best in the world at what he does, & singing Wagner is beyond most professional opera singers (beyond Kiri’s league). Not quite splitting the atom but not far off. Humble, nice guy who likes driving his tractor, & a bit of a heavyweight boxer too from what I hear. No doubt he knows the secret Wagnerian handshake as well.

Some facets of what you say are true but if you truly believe we are dull and I assume you may, otherwise you would have ignored the FT article , what does it say about you and why you choose to live here? I used to think that and thought why oh why did my father settle here in NZ . As soon as I could, I went and lived in LA but I love this country and love living here. Although as you live in Wellington and I live in Auckland, I can indeed see why you may feel as you do about your surrounding environment. I would as well being surrounded by wind, politicians and bureaucrats (some
who add to the wind no doubt) .

Heard a similar comment from George Friedman, the geopolitical guy, the other day. He was asked about New Zealand’s position re China versus the US. His answer was that NZ has the best of both worlds as they could side with the US on security and other political issues yet still continue to trade with China, as no one really cares about us, we are small and insignificant internationally!

Perhaps not on point but worth stating, if I may state:

I was taken aback, and to my shame I must add for not knowing better, to hear the schill crowing of the PM on National Radio announcing with triumph that we were now in Lockdown 1. Dr Michael Bloomfield was thus next in line to announce their, or his, collective success. While the operation was a success, the patient New Zealand will die a thousand deaths between now and 2024 and perhaps beyond. When will she and he start to announce the ongoing suicide statistics, mortgagee sales, domestic and sexual violence, migration exodus, business closures and bankruptcies over the next little while.

We crow for no good reason a lot of the time.

(Hey, does Bob read this stuff and who reads any of this stuff anyway or am I wasting my time when I’d be better occupied preparing to leave for Australia, I ask !)

Even as a proud New Zealander at heart, I love hearing the truth, and knowing I’m not the only one who feels certain things Kiwis believe are simply not the case….The Americas Cup is hardly a thing of importance for Americans who honestly have no idea it exists as a yacht race. I love it, but I can’t talk about it, except to a few well heeled Americans!

    Lol, yes! So few Americans have ever heard about the AC or care about it that it ought to be renamed the New Zealand Cup. It really is about as small an event as you can get.

      The America’s Cup has nothing to do with America the nation. It was named for the winner of a yacht race around the Isle of Wight in 1851, and since then has largely been a pissing contest for billionaires.

Then there are others who get world renown but are virtually unknown here: Sir John Salmond comes to mind. His work on legal rights was profound and influential. Typically he left NZ.

Terb Terbexhaust 7th June 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm

R Wilson . I sure hope your being read by others that are concerned at what appears, (to me at least) to be the exponential growth in utter blind gullibility… hear me out as “your” not easily convinced.
We may not know how other people feel, (perhaps the majority are actually insane anyway and yes lefties, i’m just another mad capitalist tyrant) as the media is willfully subservient to the government.
How incredibly kitsch to be seen as a woke warrior.

I often hear.. “the right of politics has no alternative”.
Maybe, but telling the Fairy Princess we want more is a very scary prospect.
“Australia here …some of us come”.

    The Muldoon comment rings true in this new age !
    Do it !

      Robert the Wilson June 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      With glee I look forward to raising the IQ of both countries upon my departure and arrival with unabandoned wit, truth and light and lavish use of yours.

Hi Bob
You may remember me..Peter Telling AKA Peter T, of the 13 Young New Zealanders ( I was Ozzie at the time) who took on the NZ Govt(Holyoake) and started Radio Hauraki 1966 along with Gapes, Magan, Lowe, O’Calllaghan and others that gave the Kiwi listening audience what they wanted..REAL RADIO.. We had a go and we made radio a joy to listen to. Like You Bob, we had a go and it worked well, Don’t stop TELLING it the way it is Bob, you’re one of the team Peter T

Great column!

As a “Kiwi” who has lived in the USA for years, I’m often asked by people in NZ about how Americans feel about some Kiwi issue or other, and I always have to crush their delusions by explaining that only a vanishingly small percentage of Americans have ever heard of New Zealand, and the few that have don’t actually care about the place or whatever goes on down there.

New Zealanders have a bizarre desperation to believe the whole world is watching even though the whole world has its own business to mind, and NZ is just another undistinguished little nation among so many.

But good one, Bob.

Personally speaking Bob.
I don’t have an inferiority complex about being a New Zealander.
I refuse that mantle.
Can’t speak for everyone of course.

It is time for the Wednesday sermon of CAKE FACE.
Nationalism? Professor Einstein, the stage is yours:
“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
In essence, nationalism is about entitlement. This is the main reason it disgusts me.
Why should I feel personal pride about the achievements of say Sir Edmund Hilary? Its not like I gave him a lift up to get up Everest. It seems a bit bizarre that an entire small nation of people who weren’t involved in his expedition should share his acclaim, just by virtue of being born in the small country where he was born?
What about the buy local campaign?
If local offers the best value-for-money, I’ll buy it. If not, I won’t. Why should I buy your overpriced or inferior products, just because you happened to be born in the same country as me? The “buy local” campaign is about entitlement. Earn it.
I have been an immigrant living overseas for half my life, and actually only returned here less than two years ago.
The British Prime Minister Ms May said of people like me:
“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.”
I’ll take that nowhere citizenship, in that case.
As a rule, I prefer migrants, to local people.
Migrants had the get up and go, to actually get up and go. The locals who complain most vociferously about immigrants sit on the same pub seat all their lives, complaining about the injustice of immigration. They were entitled to this job, but the immigrant “stole” it.
I can’t help but notice that immigrants work harder, on average, than lazy locals – not just here, but all the countries I’ve lived in.
This is before I mention another massively important benefit of immigrants – they bring different cultures, foods and general diversity to a country. How much more boring would New Zealand be without its multitudes of immigrants over the past 100 years or so?
Of course, entitlement is the main pillar of “progressive” thought, espoused by our great leader and Ronald McDonald doppelganger. She even thinks she is entitled to tell private firms how many people they should employ (see her comments in relation to The Warehouse).
The hatred of tourists in this country is a disease worse than this nasty flu. Where did this hate come from?
Sadly, since I’ve returned to NZ, the government has gone full on mentalist, with the Fortress NZ campaign. Isolating under your beds, and becoming more insular by the day, is a sad and dark road. The so-called “liberals” are acting like fascists, and the people love it.
I’m looking for hope, but not seeing much grounds for it… Plan B?

In my opinion Kiwi’s don’t have an inferiority complex. Rather the exact opposite. They tend to have a superiority complex. Take note the lack of embarrassment, or should I say pride, displayed by many Kiwi’s internationally.
– The standard wearing of All Kiwi tee shirt.
– Embroided NZ flag on the back pack.
– The vocal outburst in any international pub.
– The awe of any international recognition, irrespective of consequence.
( A good example is the economic disaster we’re facing, but who cares, because look at how Jacinda Adern Wowed the world.)
– The absolute trust by Kiwi’s that the NZ media reported news is the truth.
– The misconception the whole world listens to what Kiwi’s say and do.
– The ability and willingness to be sheep, herded to slaughter.
WOW being self proclaimed as cringe worthy? Yes, but only to those in the know, here in Gods zone.
Rest of the world, simply don’t give a sh*t.

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