THE GLOBAL LIFE OF NEW ZEALANDERS
From Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM | 27 September 2013 | #162 | New York
The reason why sport is a Top-10 global industry? Spectacular Drama. With victors and the vanquished. This is what the dramatic America’s Cup in San Francisco has ultimately been about, with a spectacular result for Oracle and Jimmy Spithill/Ben Ainsley and for the vision of Russell Coutts and Mr Incredible Larry Ellison. America will feel great about this win; that it has been against a nation of five million makes our role in it all the more significant.
The elements of Oracle’s turnaround from 1-8 sudden death will be studied at leadership and innovation schools for decades. What occurred? Deep observation, technical analysis and assimilation, rapid ideation, incisive decision-making, fast kaizen everywhere, smart personnel changes (resulting in a highly communicative afterguard, whereas we seemed to clam up), mental toughness, a lot of chatter, and of course deep resources – all resulting in a rocket of a boat. It would have been wonderful for New Zealand to have won the America’s Cup, and the ride to 8-1 was terrific; thanks Team New Zealand for the magical memories.
There will be a lot of head-gnashing and I would prefer to skip this whole part of the grieving process and go straight for the learnings. I showed two “emotional heatmaps” in my August TEDx talk on New Zealand nation branding, and asked the question “how do we become more like California?”
New Zealand is generally perceived as friendly, warm, easy-going, kind, balanced; California is perceived as creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, passionate, a leader. What type of psychic engineering and encouragement do we need for New Zealand to achieve attitude and performance upgrades; not to lose goodness, but to add a decisive edge. I ask this question seriously because going to that place of ugly invective that we experienced after successive All Black World Cup defeats is pointless (try being a New York sports fan, the Giants won the Superbowl two years ago and last weekend lost to North Carolina 0-30; as for the Yankees, don’t ask).
Let’s divert this energy to somewhere positive. There is huge positioning to drive right now for our specialist design, engineering, manufacturing and services excellence. New Zealanders had a very significant role in designing and building these jaw-dropping boats, perfected how to sail them, and took us to the edge of victory (“edge”, in all its meanings, was a metaphor that permeated media coverage of the regatta). Here’s recognition and applause for our team, our sailors, government, sponsors and supporters for the thrills you brought us. Watching and listening to the races from New York with an all-US commentary team and with daily Times and WSJ coverage, I see that the messages are very positive for New Zealand’s reputation, engendering incredible respect and affection that may in fact be where our afterburners reside.
Let’s do something really positive with this Aotearoa experience. We need to positively move our national character forward with 2-3 key learnings, keep wave after wave of export initiatives going forth, suffuse the world with New Zealandness (Lorde! PJ!) and absorb into ourselves sharp global insights and influences lest we develop the lockjaw that comes from an island mentality. In fact the ideal cup catharsis could be a joint Emirates Team New Zealand/Oracle Team USA ticketertape parade down Queen Street, with the America’s Cup, and with the entire Auckland boatbuilding industry. Talk about global photo opportunity.
Our journey calls for grit, guts and genius. The dream is constant: “Winning the World from the Edge.”
NEW ZEALAND HEADLINES IN GLOBAL MEDIA
Oracle defeats EmiratesTeam NZ to take out 34th America’s Cup – Christian Science Monitor
Leanne Pooley’s Everest documentary Beyond the Edge premieres in Toronto – Globe and Mail
BUSINESS / INNOVATION / SCIENCE
New Zealand’s yacht building ingenuity on display; marine industry profits rise – Forbes
FILM / ARTS / MEDIA
Lorde, makes cover of Billboard, says in an ideal world wouldn’t do interviews – Billboard
SPORT / ADRENALINE
Lydia Ko, defends Canadian Open title; “brilliance shone brightest of all” – Vancouver Sun
TASTE / DESIGN
Sandra Nunnerley, NY interior designer, merges sumptuous with Spartan – Globe and Mail
TOURISM / NATURE
New Zealand experiences warmest winter on record, average temperature of 9.5C – Guardian
Mana Vautier, NASA aero-engineer, inspires W Auckland kids to dream big – Stuff
See all stories and an 8,500 story archive of international New Zealand news 2000-2013 at NZEDGE/MEDIA.
Researched and edited by Jane Nye (Berlin).
Web published by Kirsten McConchie (Auckland).
The Sociology of a Color by Prudence Stone
Some years ago I had a highly engaging conversation with New Zealand sociologist Prudence Stone about the color Black, and in particular its role in the cultural narrative of New Zealand. Prudence was working on a book exploring this subject, and this month her book Black Inc. one nation’s identity, a global politic has been published (with a brilliant design by Anna Brown). I highly recommend this as a companion to the discussions and debates on national identity and branding that are flourishing and will gain more currency in the wake of the America’s Cup.
“Black is explored widely through genealogy, ethnicity, religion, history, sexual mores and a hijacked “Black Power”…A highly interesting and debatable treatise.” Otago Daily Times.
From the book’s blurb: “For anyone who is suspicious of history, critical of power and control, or simply enjoys undisciplined philosophy.
“This is the book that explores one nation’s impact on the world through its symbolic take-over of the symbolic values for the colour black. Come on a journey through New Zealand’s cultural narrative, to discover the irony and politics surrounding its production of national identity.
“Where does black’s symbolic powers come from? How are they reproduced through time? Be prepared to be turned on by a new theory of cultural reproduction that explains how New Zealand transformed black’s symbolic power and in doing so, made its cultural mark upon a global political economy. Exquisitely illustrated, available as large hardback or e-book. Visit http://shareblackinc.wordpress.com for more details.
EDGE AS METAPHOR
American writer Thomas Pynchon has a new novel out – Bleeding Edge – and while this is not a review of the book, it serves as a platform to ruminate on the edge metaphor as means of denoting advantage, danger, excitement, innovation. So here is a chronicle of the America’s Cup Regatta via the edge metaphor.
Race 4 was a thriller in the fog, wind and salt spray on San Francisco Bay, with the foiling 72-foot catamarans sometimes veering toward the edge of control in wind that reached 22 knots.
Where the Kiwi syndicate has really had the edge over its opponents is in time.
Join us for live coverage as Team New Zealand hope to edge closer to winning the Auld Mug.
Team New Zealand nearly capsized during a tack – teetering on the edge of disaster – in Race 8.
Team NZ’s near-capsize showed just how on the edge these racing machines are.
There are all sorts of examples where there is danger and when you’re pushing the edge. It’s about knowing when to push and when to back off.
AMERICA’S CUP: NEAR-CATASTROPHE ADDS NEW EDGE TO BIG CATS’ DUEL
It was spectacular, edge-of-your-seat action, and oh so excruciatingly tense.
It was a game of centimeters, with Team NZ’s ability to nail the small moments giving them the edge.
“I love that athletes tweet and interact with the fans. They’re going to go a little bit on the edge.”
New Zealand on edge at prospect of winning America’s Cup
Team New Zealand win race 10 and edge closer to America’s Cup
New Zealand’s cruel residence on the precipice of America’s Cup ownership continued today.
The game of modifications and copycatting is on in earnest now as both teams seek for a telling edge between two evenly matched boats.
Alarmingly Oracle now appears to have a clear edge in boat speed over the Kiwis.
Barker had the big edge with New Zealand leading, 8-3, after Saturday’s race was postponed, but Spithill was hardly conceding defeat.
They were faster upwind in the lighter conditions, but Oracle had a massive edge downwind to offset that.
OTUSA seem to have the edge in acceleration right now and could just out-sprint them.
Port entry is definitely an advantage for the starts, but in a flood tide the edge isn’t so significant.
Team New Zealand still looked to have an edge in yesterday’s upwind leg but they couldn’t eat into Oracle’s lead on the beat today.
That shrinking lead no doubt has all of New Zealand onedge.
Another Oracle win puts Kiwis on the edge.
Oracle didn’t replicate that edge until the second week of racing.
The aquatic duel between New Zealand and the US for the 34th America’s Cup is an intoxicating mix of cutting-edge sailing technology and seat-of-the-pants human skill.
There’s so much danger involved that you’re always on the edge of your seat.
There were a bunch of little changes that just reduced the drag a few kilos here, a few kilograms there, and all the sudden you have an edge.
Fern symbol via www.nzflag.com founded by Lloyd Morrison. Banner photo: Above Masterton, August 2013