Can Andrew, Hawkeyez and if there are others could you please say something about your own experience or opinion of Australia Day?
Can the rest of us please respond to this?
Kiwi’s and Aussie’s have this love hate thing going on. Sporting rivalry is particularly intense. There is a saying in NZ that we support the Kiwi team and whoever is playing the Aussie’s (it’s reciprocal on the other side of the Tasman).
Yet there is much in common.
My older brother Doug moved to Tasmania in 1968 and died there last year.
My younger brother Ian has been living in Brisbane for about 15 years (though he has recently bought a property about half a mile from where we live in Kaikoura).
Terry Pratchett did a great hatchet job on Australia with his book The Last Continent, where he describes the mythical “EcksEcksEcksEcks” as “a place where everything is poisonous, except some of the sheep”. (I particularly love his creation of the drop bear as a predatory distant family member of the Koala which drops from a tree onto its prey. As a result the species has developed well padded backsides to cope with the drop.)
So while I am against the concept of nationhood as such, and would much prefer to see all humanity aligning first and foremost with the idea of valuing intelligent self awareness whatever its source, I certainly enjoy a certain level of sporting rivalry, at all levels of relationship (ritualised and non-lethal combat).
NZ only has 3 species of poisonous spiders, and two of those recent imports from Australia, and none of them normally lethal. So it is safe to walk around barefoot anywhere in NZ – which I did for many years – often doing multi-day tramps through the bush barefoot.
In Aussie, between the poisonous snakes, spider, wasps, hornets, ants, centipedes, scorpions and other things, it is best to wear a pair of stout high lace-up boots.
And I have enjoyed my visits to Australia, though I was much more nervous and cautious in the bush than I would be here in NZ.