I’m an incredibly patriotic person. I have seen many countries and I am painfully aware of how badly some people in this world are forced to live. I live in paradise. New Zealand is not only beautiful in a look-at-that-breathtaking-scenery kind of way, but we are protected by a police force that isn’t corrupt, we have a public health system that means that everyone can get help when they need it and there is no need to go homeless. Those things are easy to take for granted when they’re all you’ve ever known.
You don’t have to drive more than an hour to see the ocean from just about anywhere in the country (no more than 10 minutes in Auckland). It’s only a few hours from anywhere to go skiing. The climate is temperate. There is no overcrowding. We have more sealed roads per head of capita than any country in the world. And crime is still relatively low.
The reason that I’m talking about my love for my country is that yesterday was Waitangi Day – a public holiday in celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. It is the closest we have to any kind of ‘New Zealand’ day. Unfortunately it’s not celebrated in that way. We take the day off and enjoy not having to go to work, but we don’t use it to celebrate who we are. The Australians have Australia Day and they go huge. They stick flags on their cars and paint their faces and make a big deal of things. Why don’t we do that?
New Zealanders are fiercly patriotic when it comes to rugby and yacht racing. For a very tiny country of only 3.5 million people, the world certainly knows who we are. Why don’t we celebrate ourselves with that kind of energy? Waitangi Day has traditionally been fraught with infighting and childish behaviour from activists and politicians alike. What a waste of time. Let’s use it to stand up and be proud of who we are and what we have. Let’s be grateful for some of these things that we take for granted.
The things that make us Kiwis.