Reading 3 months of newspapers over several days to ascertain what’s happened in my absence, I noticed a phenomenon one might otherwise overlook.

That is the ridiculous spread of the pre-fix “award winning.” These days it seems to apply to virtually everyone and every activity thus through its excessive use, it’s now meaningless.

Up until recent years it was the domain of journalists. Journalism is rightly a low-paid career, particularly with the dying print media, and notably newspapers. So presumably as is a sap for poor monetary rewards and ignominy, in place is delivered the dubious and devalued bauble of nonsensical awards. Seemingly every journalist is a winner.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, consider this.

On the 28th May The New Zealand Herald published a full page, small type (of necessity given the sheer number of recipients) of this year’s journalists’ awards. In total there were circa 300 “winners”.

To ensure no-one missed out, individual awards such as for example, “Political Journalist of The Year” had six different winners, and so it went.

But as I said, this award nonsense has spread from journalism to every activity, in the process totally devaluing the honour. The periodic government awards illustrate this, as for example, earlier this year a chap receiving a knighthood for merely staying alive. Specifically, he was the last surviving member of the Second World War Maori Battalion, but had otherwise lived an innocuous life.


Well, of course! Decades of participation trophies, and everybody wins a prize is just whats expected


You’re right and it is prevalent everywhere. Kids at school now get certificates for trying. If I didn’t try at school I got detention. Gone are the days of a silver star on the back of the hand being enough. Accolades for all! Lemonade anyone?

Hi Bob, great to have you back…
In reference to the Maori Battalion … as an ex National Serviceman now in my early 70s…Were there any other NZ Battalions in the 2nd World War???

Adrian Mowatt-Wilson June 30, 2022 at 2:10 pm

What really got me as a Police Officer at Auckland Govt House during Investitures a few years back a Maori woman stopped to talk to me. She said she had put her sister forward for a medal and that her sister was receiving it that day. I asked what her sister had done. The answer was “She worked for the Health Dept for 20 yrs” . I asked her what else, over and above her job she had done? The answer was “nah, Nah, she worked for the Health Dept for 20 yrs.” Medals should only be given for over and above what they are paid for

    To be fair, if she had managed to work there for that length of time and remain sane, and/or sober; then a medal was the least a grateful nation could give her.

At the rate ‘gongs’ are distributed liberally in NZ for everything from ‘services to knitting’, to ‘teaching flax weaving to the under 5s’, eventually saturation will be reached and it will be an accolade not to have one.

Perhaps its a means to encourage those recipients to stay on the hampster wheel…

What we do know is the continued movement to centralisation is driven by the few, and its leaving the masses behind..

i presume Bob has attended a few degree award ceremonies…..

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