I’m glad to see NBR follows my annual count the corks competition. From today’s issue:
The National Business Review – 26 May 2006 : 20-03
What are the events that helped to define New Zealand? In conjunction with National Radio’s competition, In Tray proudly presents a listing of the top events that have shaped our nation and made us the special people we are today.
Maui’s Discovery Year Zero: A mythic – or was she? – Polynesian tribal figure fishes up a new country from the sea. She then removes her snorkel and establishes herself as ruler in perpetuity of the country she later names “New Zealand,” or The Land of the Long White Crowd. According to most historians, this is the point at which the BC, or “Before Clark” years ended.
Signing of the Treaty 1840: Te Tiriti o Waitangi or “the Treaty of Waitangi”, a groundbreaking document envisioning equal “partnership” between the native Maori and the English colonists, is signed, paving the way for the modern, bicultural New Zealand state. Although ignored for successive generations, the document once again assumed centre stage during the term of the fourth Labour Government. As a result, New Zealand is now internationally admired for having the most enlightened cultural policies and impressive race relations that have ever existed in known history.
Katherine’s Tea Party 1888: Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp is born into a socially prominent Wellington family. After leaving the country forever, she produced a number of short stories that have gone on to enchant generations of readers with their vivid recreations of Thorndon garden parties in her beloved Wellington suburb, the joys of family life in Wellington, and totally hot lesbian encounters.
Suffrage Day 1893: New Zealand gives women the vote. Hone Sharples and his grandson Pita boycott the ceremony.
China Calling 1945: In an unknown province of China, little Wing Ping is born to peasant rice farmers. Later the young farmboy emigrates to New Zealand where he anglicises his name “Winston” and eventually becomes an iconic foreign envoy.
Birth of the Enz 1971: The beloved rock band Split Enz begins life at the University of Auckland after Tim Finn teams up with friends Mike Chunn, Robert Gillies, Phil Judd and Noel Crombie, and from the following year the band becomes a fulltime occupation. The group has a striking visual presentation, impressively intelligent Kiwi style and writes a number of compositions in the late 1970s and early 1980s which most observers now agree are among the greatest songs of the past century.
No Nukes! 1985: The fourth Labour Government refuses to allow nuclear-powered or -armed ships into New Zealand waters, a policy that New Zealand continues to this day. The iconic legislation, which had the effect of prohibiting US Navy ships from visiting local ports, also set the international scene for the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall 1989, the collapse of the old Soviet Union 1991 and the production of a number of deeply fascinating documentaries, generously funded by New Zealand On Air, about how the world would be a much better place if only the Kiwis were in charge.
Birth of the Web 1993: The National Centre for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, along with Wellington-based blogger David Farrar, release the Mosaic web browser version 1.0, and by late 1994 there is growing public interest in the previously academic/technical “internet.” By 1996 the international movement is in full swing. The internet’s New Zealand founder later launches his own annual “Count The Corks” competition on his weblog.
Mother of the Nation 1997: The loved Joan Bolger is replaced in the nation’s hearts by Burton Shipley as the country’s “First Spouse.”
Cry Freedom 2006: Accompanied by scenes of wild jubilation, the jailed activist and civil rights leader Donna Awatere Mandela is released from prison. Amid the triumphant reception given to her and husband, Wi-nnie, the iconic politician calls on the New Zealand government to dismantle its apartheid system and allow free and fair elections.