Overshadowed

Photo taken from Wellington Botanic Garden loo...

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Every so often the possibility of spending some time in Australia rears its head in conversation. (Edited to add: And talk about timing – yesterday I found out a friend is moving to Perth this month…)

As Dita De Boni points out, “Both my sisters live across the ditch and seem to have a never-ending array of incentives to lie back and think of the country’s future tax payers.”

It’s so true. The $5k-plus baby bonus (I suppose that would sweeten the agony of labour?). And apparently T’s aunts get lump sums for their kids at Christmas.

Add to that 9 per cent super and warmer weather, and no wonder so many Kiwis have made the leap.

Then again, cars are expensive over there. And working in the mines does not appeal. (Of course, there are plenty of nonlabour jobs too, but mining and trucking are where the demand seems to be.) T hates the heat, and Australia in general – he takes pride in assuring me they really are as rude as people say. (Amanda, however, was lovely in person!)

I kind of hate myself for even writing this, because I’m quite honestly exhausted with the NZ/Australia debate. Sick of surveys and colour pieces on those who’ve defected; sick of business analyses talking about “catching up with Australia” and our “low productivity”; sick of the polarising views (you’re either a fool for staying or you’re a fool for going). And given my job, I’m exposed to quite a lot of this. Heck, just recently local media picked up on a story about homeless Kiwis being flown back from Melbourne. That’s some major WTF-ery there.

The truth is, we’re always going to be overshadowed by our bigger cousin – the one with mineral riches, the one who brought us Neighbours and Home and Away, the one that’s about eleventy million times larger in every way. It’s like we have an identity crisis – we latch on to any mention of us “punching above our weight”, as validation of our worth and existence from other countries.

The worst thing is, we’re even fighting amongst ourselves. Lonely Planet recently named Wellington the coolest little capital, and before long, we were all scrapping about whether the title was deserved and generally playing true to the Jafa stereotype.

Can’t we just accept us for what we are? I’ve come to accept myself for who I am – something I think all women struggle with – and now I wish my country could do the same. I’m going to do my bit by minimalising all bitching about how expensive Auckland is, at least until summer ends and I have nothing good left to say about it…

6 thoughts on “Overshadowed

  • Reply Cat November 17, 2010 at 03:05

    Hi there!
    Started reading your blog recently, this is the first time I’ve commented.
    Anyway, just wanted to say, I’m from Australia (Adelaide, in fact) and I’ve always thought of New Zealand to Australia as Canada to America – cooler, better, nicer. Okay, I’ve never actually been to NZ (but will be going next Feb!), but still.

  • Reply Helpful Kid November 17, 2010 at 08:17

    But Auckland should be the capital! NZ made Lord of the Rings! Sir Edmund Hilary! We’re better than Aussie! 😉

    Yeah, it can get tiring, and it can also be a bit of fun to joke around with. I think, with most everything, when people take themselves too seriously it gets annoying.

  • Reply danablair November 17, 2010 at 08:47

    interesting to hear this perspective. As an American, I can tell you that so many people here talk about moving to/visiting Australia (Americans are often deathly afraid of moving to a non-English speaking country, which is probably part of it). It’s interesting to hear about neighbor rivalry. We sure have it here too, with Mexico and Canada, and even more so at the state and city level. We all just need to take pride in where we are from!

  • Reply First Gen American November 17, 2010 at 22:13

    Wow. As an American who’s spent time in both places. If you told me I could have a job in either country, I’d pick just about any part of NZ over Australia hands down.

    The funny thing is that I consider Australia pretty small (GDP wise) because the US is the same geographic size but 10x bigger economy wise. From a career standpoint there are many more opportunities in US, Europe and China.

    I do think NZ is doing some interesting things trying to get people to emigrate who have entrepeneurial skills. I heard from my friend who moved there that it’s easier to get a visa if you’re an engineer for example.

  • Reply unknowntheartist November 19, 2010 at 23:08

    MOH and I would gladly welcome you and T to Australia.
    There are plenty of rude people everywhere, in any country, but let me assure you, we’re not all rude and smarmy.
    I don’t care about the NZ/OZ adversity and never feed into that stuff. And y’all have awesomely beautiful land, great TV and film has been made in NZ and you had a a female Prime Minister before we got one so I find NZ to be pretty magnificent and moving forward in better strides than OZ.
    (And don’t tell anyone but yay for NZ winning the Four Nations final!)

  • Reply Link love (Powered by mochachinos and Coldplay) | NZ Muse November 10, 2012 at 12:31

    […] Two years ago, I talked about why running is the only form of exercise that I get along with, what it’s like being a woman in publishing, our car history, and the evergreen NZ vs Australia debate. […]

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