#41 Kiwis Take On The World

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Edge Message #41 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM


This is a longish message please read it all,
I promise it’s worth it.

Today we have the best mailbox ever, 72 messages,
go right to the end, the best gems are often the
deepest: affirmations on what it means to be a
New Zealander especially one living away;
offers of connection; remembrances; raps,
raves and riffs. Thanks for writing.

Today we publish the inspirational story of
John Britten, maverick genius of motorcycle
design, speedster and inventor. This has been
the most requested NZEDGE Hero story and we
are responding with a 4,000-word essay by
NZEDGE.COM’s Oxford-based roving senior
editor Paul Ward.

“It is hard to resist the tempting pun
“Great Britten” – but the John Britten story
is one wholly of the edge. A vision – “made
everything but the tires” – that created
revolutionary innovations, sparked the
imagination of a nation, and beat the world’s
best: a simple and single-minded devotion to
an idea that turned a frame and two wheels
into a design, racing and engineering legend.”
See www.nzedge.com/john-britten/

This is the title of a terrific academic
paper about NZEDGE.COM by Dr Michael Grimshaw
from the University of Canterbury’s department
of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Michael
has been thinking, teaching, writing about and
presenting the New Zealand Edge metaphor, and
we’re stoked because he expresses it in ways
we haven’t articulated or consciously thought
about (and besides he was/is a scarfie).

Michael characterises our objectives thus:

  • Create the conditions for abundance and peak
  • performance
  • Build networks to the million-strong international
  • community of New Zealanders
  • Re-frame “the New Zealand story” and create a
  • compelling national identity
  • Achieve a sense of common purpose in New Zealand
  • Reduce structural dysfunctionalities in
  • New Zealand society
  • Create an export focus among all New Zealanders

Michael hones in on the idea of taking the
nation to a new level – an emotionally-resonant
local/global “cyberian post-governmental state
populated equally by the diaspora and the
gathered people.” He calls NZEDGE.COM an
“inclusivist form of positive thinking
evangelism.” Sounds like my sort of place.
I’ll let you know when he publishes the paper.

Today I’ve also been reflecting on taking on
Philadelphia and coming away with a
spontaneous standing ovation from 500
“new new economy” toughnuts at the Fast
Company RealTime conference a few weeks ago.
My NZEDGE.COM fellow-traveller Kevin Roberts
took the stage by storm with his presentation
“Love Addict” about the addictions of business
and how Lovemarks are the kiss of life. The
show was framed by amazing performances from
Ahorangi Genesis from Turangi – Chris Winitana,
Tina Kaipara and Tupoutahi Winitana. A central
theme of Kevin’s speech was the need in this
globalising world to value the local – and we
all showed the Fast Company community what
going to the edge was all about, that’s what
they told us. You can read the speech, along
with others made by Kevin in May at Cambridge
University “What the World Needs Now” and the
CNN/Time/ Fortune Global Marketing Forum
“After The Flood”, at www.saatchikevin.com

Peter Fitzsimons, the renaissance rugby man
from Australia and journalist for the Sydney
Morning Herald, has written a biography of
NZEDGE Hero Nancy Wake, the Allies’ most
decorated servicewoman of WWII, and the
Gestapo’s most-wanted person; born in Roseneath
Wellington 1912. See also this week’s (Asian)
Time magazine.

For our Nancy Wake story, which was identified
and prepared by Jacqueline Owens, go to

A few stats about NZEDGE.COM. To date we’ve
published 350,000 words. We are in 105 local
and 231 global locations. There have been
70,000 downloads of our Hero and Hot stories.
Ernest Rutherford is lead Hero with 8000
accesses, followed by Edmund Hillary, Maurice
Wilkins, Kate Sheppard and Nancy Wake.
Pageviews of Hero stories are up 200% in the
past six months thanks to viral marketing
(that’s you) and work we’ve done with search
engines (our Hero stories usually rank 1-5
on www.google.com) and links from other
websites. 120,000 pictures have been viewed.
You’ve sent 800 messages.
Thanks Tim Berners-Lee. See

Because they’re mates we’re giving away ten
copies of the Topp Twins’s new album “Grass
Highway”. Lynda and Jools were my first
clients in my seven career as a showbusiness
agent in the early to mid 1980s, 81 tour
territory, nuclear free and the end of
Muldoonism. These two country grrls
intoxicated New Zealand with their harmonies,
humour, politics and twindom. A month ago I
saw them play a rapturous cosmopolitan packed
house at Wellington’s St James Theatre. See

So, to win a “Grass Highway” CD, and as this
was written on the shortest day of the year
down here, let us know by hitting your reply
button where you will be spending this coming
New Year’s Eve. We’ll take replies for a week
or so and draw the winners.

We’re going to be doing some advertising, our
first placement is a billboard strategically
placed in the Auckland International Airport
Customs Departure Hall. Final thoughts before
getting on the Big Bird.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions and
for sending us material.

From the NEW ZEALAND EDGE site team
Brian Sweeney, Paul Ward, Carla Hofler,
Anna Livesey, Lynda Robinson

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