#12 Off-The-Island

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Edge Message #12 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM

To NZEDGE.COM Community

On the way back from San Francisco to NZ this week I sat next to a Kiwi who is running his own technology start-up in Silicon Valley; I had a drink in Los Angeles with a Kiwi music producer and consultant who worked on The Beatles’ major project last year; two people I couldn’t get to meet up with in SF were a technology scout and an industrial designer, both Kiwis in Silicon Valley.

The US West Coast is a simply a microcosm in that New Zealanders are throughout the globe doing pretty extraordinary things. Many – most – won’t be back to live in NZ, which is cool, because we need a network of advocates implanted around the planet who actively identify as New Zealanders. This is the real guts of nzedge.com: expanding our effective population by say 15% by emotionally re-engaging with the 500,000 plus international New Zealanders – not to try and drag them back home through the sort of guilt trip that goes with the term “expatriate”, but to invoke a connectedness with those “off-the-island” that benefits us commercially and culturally. We’ll be starting discussion groups shortly, because people have told me they want to talk about these sort of issues. So, that’s some thinking-out-loud.

In NEWZEDGE, 42 new stories from across the planet prove the sharpness of the New Zealand edge: from Ancient Rome and the all-conquering glint on Russell Crowe’s sword in this year’s blockbuster hit The Gladiator, to James Cunningham’s mutant digital hand that has viewers on the edge of their seats at the Cannes Film Festival;from Fay Weldon’s big woman big-league, to Badminton where ‘rider of the century’ Mark Todd nears his final fence; from the verge of war in Kosovo with UN peacekeeper Dennis McNamara, to Karen Walker and Collette Dinnigam dominating the catwalks at Australian Fashion Week; from Mr Electric body-rocking down the streets in New Orlean’s Jazz Festival, to Russia where Anchor Butter was voted Butter of the Year; from Jonathan Cruse’s wired travel guidebooks that threatens to KO the road-trip, to David Tua who threatens to KO Lennox Lewis; from the unique sounds of Oceania, to ground-breaking research at Auckland University that helps us understand why we fidget. Again from the front page of Amazon.com to Village Voice, from the financial movers and shakers section of The Times, to the cover of New Scientist, New Zealand and New Zealanders are proving that the edge is not bounded by geography, but only by how far we can think.

Today’s Hero is Frances Alda, our “diva from downunder” who was a darling of the opera world in the early part of the Twentieth Century. She was the beautiful and fiery star of the New York Metropolitan Opera, achieving a fame and universally-heralded quality of performance that was only to be rivalled in the later part of the twentieth century by another well-known Southern girl. Any Kiwi who has witnessed a dawn chorus in the New Zealand bush and the melodious warble of the koromiko will know where the Kiwi divas such as Alda and Te Kanawa gain their inspiration.

A “Help” request from an nzedge.com member: if anyone knows of a New Zealander in Boston who can assist with the organisation of an educational conference in June, please contact Fiona Clayton-Law at callisto.fmcl@xtra.co.nz.


Until next week …

Brian Sweeney
executive editor

Thumbnail: Cast away in the jade green waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough Sounds

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