OK, so New Zealand is an awesome country. This isn’t such a well kept secret anymore. It pops up favourably on those online ‘best country’ lists people can’t seem to stop compiling these days… world’s most beautiful country, best country to visit, best country to be an expat and so forth.
This isn’t what makes New Zealand so awesome though.
Many people may not know that New Zealand was the first place to grant universal suffrage (the unrestricted right of women to vote) in 1893, while still a self-governing British colony. The Kiwis are a socially and politically progressive lot. It just seems to come naturally to them. The colonial and post-colonial New Zealanders didn’t systematically wipe out their indigenous peoples. Rather, Maori language and culture is celebrated in the national anthem, on the sporting pitch and is taught in schools. New Zealand is the only country to have successfully legislatively prohibited the world’s nuclear powered vessels from entering its territorial waters.
None of this stuff happened recently though. There’s something else.
The little country of four million people likes to punch above its weight. New Zealand gave the world Sir Edmund Hillary (who famously accompanied Tenzing Norgay, together becoming the first two men to reach the summit of Mount Everest), Sir Peter Jackson (film director and hobbit-tourism pioneer), Sir Richard Hadlee (sporting legend hated by Australians and other cricketing nations, because he was just too goddamn good), and more recently the Flight of the Conchords (two extremely talented, loveable idiots who took on New York and lost so triumphantly)… just to name a few.
Perhaps the best example though of this little island nation’s ability to consistently achieve the improbable is the All Blacks. These modern-day warriors strike fear unto any tasked with facing them. For those unaccustomed to the Kiwis’ national sport, here’s a little clip of the mighty Jonah Lomu.
Note: Lomu, standing 6’5, 120kg (265 pounds), running 100 meters in 10.8 seconds, was in the late ’90s arguably the most fearsome sight on the planet (if he happened to be running at you while holding a football). The school children this man appears to be brutalising are in fact the world’s best and toughest professional rugby players.
But that’s not it either…
No, the reason New Zealand is so spectacularly awesome is…
Chocolate milk. Yes.
Recently a small New Zealand company started manufacturing chocolate milk that is quite delicious. Put another way, the Kiwis are collectively losing their fucking minds over this chocolate milk. Purchase limits have been placed on the stuff, which rapidly sells out every morning. Now security guards are being deployed in supermarkets to guard the milk from hoarders and black market profiteers, and international rugby stars have been quoted in the nation’s press as saying that they have indeed noticed this to be true. A new wave of entrepreneurial types have nonetheless been doing a brisk trade, auctioning the milk online for prices that are (considering we’re talking about chocolate fucking milk here) just absurd. Most recently photos of counterfeit milk have surfaced online. All of this is front page news.
I mean, lets think about this for a moment. For whatever reason, be it extremely good marketing, a touch of sheep mentality perhaps, or the possibility that it’s just an unbelievably good product, the fact that there isn’t enough chocolate milk is the greatest crisis currentlty facing the people of New Zealand. In a world of Ebola, terrorism, slavery and other awful stuff, that says quite a bit.