New Zealanders are like the residue of Weet-Bix left in a cereal bowl for a couple of weeks: tough!
Let me give you an example. When James Grant was attacked by a shark while spearfishing his response was pretty typical of the Kiwis I know here: "Bugger, now I have to get this thing off my leg."
After fighting off the shark with his knife, he then proceeded to tack the 5 cm long wounds on his leg together with a needle from his first aid kit for his pig hunting dogs. What did he then do? Why, he went to the pub for a pint, of course.
I like that about Kiwis. Typically they don't expect others to solve their problems. They rely on themselves and their communities to get things done. Practical to a fault.
I like the fact that the men don't use "product" in their hair. Having lived in cities in Western Europe and the US, I reckon blokes spend far too much time worrying about their hair. It's as if everyone wants to look like a real estate agent or the weather man. Not healthy, I tell you.
Having lived in both third and first world countries, and traveled to many more I'm fortunate enough to now be able to choose where in the world I want to live without any real constraints. My wife and I have spent a long time determining what it means for us and this naturally impacts where we locate ourselves.
People have asked me why we spend so much time in New Zealand. It's a good question so let me provide a sprinkling of reasons which follow on from Mark's recent comments and his reasons for making New Zealand home.
- Aside from the fact that people are really unpretentious, I enjoy speaking my mother tongue of English. I know it's being a bit lazy but it's true. Kiwis don't actually speak English but the dialect resembling it can be understood. It's not as bad as Scottish or Australian which are of course both languages parsed from aliens.
- I'm not a city guy. Cities are great to travel to when needed but they make you soft and I don't like chewing my air before swallowing. I prefer it fresh. Also city folk don't beat off a shark with their knife, stitch themselves back together and head to the pub. They bleed, cry, scream for help, followed by counseling and antidepressants. So New Zealand is great for this because there aren't any cities... Not if, like Mark and I, you spend any time in Asia. No, they have large villages which are really pretty and that brings me to my next point.
- Stunning. Breathtaking in every way. No really, you have no idea. I've seen a lot of countries and this place is really exceptional.
- New Zealand? Where is that? Exactly why I like it. New Zealand, unlike large western powers, has never pissed on others doorsteps and as a result have no enemies to speak of. It's remote but not backward and it's very safe. You'll want for nothing in terms of the technology and amenities found in any modern wealthy western country. I use the term wealthy loosely as most western countries are broke and Europe in particular is falling apart at the seams.
- Corruption here is pretty much unheard of. The country ranks as the least corrupt country in the world second only to Denmark.
- Its cities offer some of the highest standards of living in the world with Auckland ranking 3rd in the Mercer Quality of Living Index.
- The Heritage Foundation rank New Zealand at #5 for Economic freedom. Streets ahead of Europe or North America.
- It comes in at second place behind Singapore in securing the title for "ease of doing business."
- Freedom House publish a report on freedom in the world. It makes for very interesting reading and you can read it here. New Zealand rank at the top of the scales.
- While we're dealing with statistical rankings - according to the Social Progress Index of 2014 New Zealand is the most socially advanced nation in the world.
- Freedom of the press is extremely high with the country ranking consistently in the top ten for press freedom.
What else? Well, I like the fact that children rarely wear shoes to school, and play outdoors in a clean healthy environment. I'd say that Kiwi kids are amongst the most active kids in the world.
Before I leave you, below is some New Zealand eye candy...
To me choosing to live in New Zealand is like deliberately sleeping with the bubbly, flirtatious and gorgeous German backpacker rather than her rather plain boring English friend, who, lets' face it, is a bit on the plump side. It's just better and you know it when you experience it.
"New Zealand is not a small country but a large village." - Peter Jackson