There we were, very early on Saturday morning striding through Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens when we came across a this hobbit-like city formed by roots and earth. Oh my god I thought, those bl***dy Aussis – next thing they’ll be claiming ownership of the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
It seems these days that everything we regard as our own – i.e. from New Zealand – is said to have originated in Australia. From pavlova to Russell Crowe! I don’t know why we worry, but we do. Maybe because we feel so small, so isolated and so lagging behind. And, the truth is we are.
In many ways New Zealanders are far more fortunate than Australians – we have plenty of water for one. In Melbourne, people are not allowed to wash their cars at the moment. Not enough water – so all cars, all models and makes, new or old – are covered in dust and look remarkably uncared for. We have the most wonderful environment – lush native bush, a vibrant green landscape as far as your eye can see, majestic mountains and beautiful clear lakes and rivers. And as I cleaned my car last weekend, I watched the soapy water course down our drive, feeling not the least bit guilty.
We don’t have dust storms; we don’t have massive forest fires which every year dessimates homes, lives and the landscape; we don’t have the wonderful melting pot of cultures who have become the cornerstones of the big cities; and we don’t have an economy which despite the recession this year, still thrives. Damn…but do you know what, I’m happy living here. I’m happy that I can get in the car and seven minutes later am in the heart of the city. I’m happy that I can drive to Auckland in the space of a day (if I want to) and I’m happy that we don’t have venomous snakes and sea wasps.
You know – I’ve an idea, why don’t we start claiming ownership of some of the best Oz has on offer. Get our own back…and we can start with Rove, I’m sure he must have passed through New Zealand at some time in his life.