Friday, 12 October 2007

Some reasons I think New Zealand is a fantastic place

This is an excerpt from a response to someone who took me up on my offer from my last post. I got a little carried away... but, well, this is really how I feel about New Zealand. What, you think I just moved here on a whim or something?

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Imagine a country whose citizens do not have the constitutional right to carry a hand gun. I saw an article in the local paper the other day that said "Child terrorizes teachers with stick" Some 9-year-old threw a temper tantrum, somehow got hold of a stick, and started swinging it at teachers and students. And this made the papers. I just thought "Americans have got 9-year-old mass murderers shooting their class mates, and New Zealand's got an angry boy with a stick!"

Imagine a country where midwives are respected healthcare professionals, where pregnancy and birthing care are free, where all children are provided with free healthcare until the age of six, at which point healthcare will be highly subsidized throughout their lives. This is a place where the government has a very real stake in the health and welfare of its citizens. Every package of cigarettes here has a big label across the opening that simply says "Smoking Kills."

Imagine a country where it is expected that young adults will go on their OE (Overseas Experience) sometime after graduating high school, to go out and see what the rest of the world has to offer, and to bring this knowledge back home to enrich New Zealand's culture. Being a small country, and situated at the edge of the world, so to speak, New Zealand can't afford to insulate itself from the rest of the world.

Now think about this. This country holds about 4.4 million people and a quarter of them live in Auckland. In a country the size of Colorado, that leaves a lot of space for the rest of us. Wellington is one of the largest cities in New Zealand, and I live right in the middle of it, in the club/pub/theatre district. On a Saturday night I step outside and the streets are flooded with dressed-to-the-nines kiwis out for a night on the town. But I can walk for five blocks and be in the "town belt" a series of parks in the hills surrounding the city. Or I could walk five blocks another direction and be at the beach. If I had a car, it would take me about fifteen minutes to find a spot so remote I could hike around all day with no sign of civilization to distract me.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

And that is why we are never leaving!!