* = consult glossary
Although I am currently living overseas, I am very proud to be a *Kiwi and feel incredibly lucky to have been born in NZ with all it’s natural beauty and transparent politics and so on. It really is an amazing country but it does have one large flaw.
It is in the middle of nowhere and not many people outside of NZ seem to be aware of its existence.
If you are reading this and do know where NZ is then good on ya mate, *Ka pai! However, to my great disappointment, too many people do not have any idea where NZ is, let alone what it is. Over there in the *wop wops with only Australia *across the ditch we really are the centre of our own world meaning that this lack of recognition for the homeland can be quite a shock to the average kiwi out in the big wide world.
At first I was surprised about the lack of knowledge about good old *Aotearoa however now I am all too used to it. I have had some great responses along the way from stunned people who had obviously not previously heard of little NZ. Among others, these are some answers I have received after stating that I am a proud kiwi citizen:
- ‘Oh ok’, accompanied by that I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about look.
- ‘Which state is it in?’
- ‘So, what is the USA like?’
- ‘Cool, I have always wanted to go to Europe.’
- ‘Oh, you mean Holland?’
- Blank look.
I have to say the blank look is my personal favourite.
Thanks to the questionable existence of NZ, I have been interrogated crossing the border to Bolivia by an official who seemed to suspect the validity of my nationality, have had airport clerks in Costa Rica show each other my passport as they had never seen a passport with pictures of *kiwis before and have had to explain that NZ is somewhere under Asia.
Apart from jokes about my accent and having to explain that the kiwi bird is not actually a chicken, probably the worst thing is when we are left off the map. Many a time when I go looking for my homeland I get to Australia and… nothing. Or there is just a blob. Yes, a blob to represent NZ, which doesn’t happen to represent a blob at all. Has no on ever heard of the *Fish of Maui?
I guess I shouldn’t complain, it really is only a small price to pay for coming from a *wee cracker of a country way down south and I am as proud as ever to come from the middle of nowhere.
- Kiwi – New Zealander or flightless bird which is also the national symbol
- Ka Pai – Good
- Wop Wops – The back of beyond, middle of nowhere
- Across the Ditch – Over the Tasman sea
- Aotearoa – Maori name for NZ
- Fish of Maui – Maori legend of how NZ came to be
- Wee Cracker – very good, awesome