Why New Zealand Shouldn’t Be a State of Australia
The Australia liberal senator Ian Macdonald has caused a media ruckus joking that New Zealand should become Australia’s “seventh and eighth state”. Guardian correspondent Eleanor Roy, who is “half Aussie, half Kiwi”, explains that while it “might solve the visa problems of Australia’s most famous New Zealander, Russell Crowe, the idea is otherwise unworkable.”
“If you said ‘chur’ to your barista in Melbourne after ordering a flat white, you’d be met with a quizzical look (it means cheers).
“If a Sydney-sider approached an unfamiliar group in Invercargill and asked to borrow a light, the terrifying stares would have her slinking quietly away.
“I left Australia when I was 16 – more than a decade ago now – and moved to the frigid Southern Alps of New Zealand. I woke in the mornings to Vogels bread spread with home-made blackberry jam, tea spiced with Manuka leaves and a view of snow-covered Tititea (the Maori name for Mt Aspiring).
“There was much I liked about this new land, but more I didn’t understand and couldn’t relate to. New Zealanders take years to know. They can be reserved and circumspect of outsiders, particularly those from across the Tasman.
“You cannot annex New Zealand – we would rebel. You cannot claim a vibrant, idiosyncratic culture as your own. And you cannot tell Kiwi’s to call Australia home – we don’t know the words of your anthem, and it would be a real pain to learn them. So bugger off and leave us alone, please.
“There is a symbiosis in the relationship between the two countries that has allowed the kinship to endure through decades of colonisation, change and growth. A close friendship – g’day mate! kia ora bro! – that allows our distinct identities and quirks to flourish. Three islands adrift in the Pacific ocean, close despite the Tasman and strong in spite of our differences.
“Usually mates. But no need to be more.”
Original article by Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian, November 26, 2015.
Photo by SWpix.com/REX.