Posted by: scribe9 | February 23, 2010

Shortcut to the Kiwi psyche

Why do I keep blogging about the proposed changes in the New Zealand flag? Because they illustrate national attitudes so well.

Last week The Listener, New Zealand’s equivalent of Time and Newsweek in the US (their editions available here are international rather than local), ran a little piece explaining four themes required on the new flag:

1.  The mood engendered when the All-Blacks, the national men’s rugby team and the national obsession, loses. Since Aoteorea (the Maori name for the North Island, which has been extended–probably in a fit of political correctness–to the whole country) means “Land of the Long White Cloud,” this element should evince “Land of the Long Black Cloud.”

2.  Clearly indicate that New Zealand is not part of Australia. “Perhaps a picture of a kiwi with its foot on a dead roo might do.”

3. Since New Zealand (in its desperate attempt to catch up with Australian incomes and standard of living) is busy signing free trade agreements, “perhaps we should include an 0800 number for those interested.” (Australia uses 800, New Zealand uses 0800.)

4. Since many people have no clue where New Zealand is, “the flag needs to include, in large letters, a Google Maps web address and instructions on how to find us.”

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