A nation divided

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
9 February, 2018

This week saw a nation divided.

While there were no protests in the streets, snarky comments were rife.

It was not uncommon to hear people mumble disparaging remarks under their breath.

And all the usual suspects were well and truly on the bandwagon.

Social media was in a stir as we have all come to expect around this time of year.

And talkback hosts and news anchors reported about events with gusto.

For many New Zealanders it was a time to commemorate with friends and whanau.

But for others there was no special significance. It was just another day.

I am of course talking about Super Bowl LII.

Love it or loathe it, Super Bowl mania has started to afflict many sports nuts all the way over here in Godzone.

Many Kiwis took the Monday off to sit in the pub and watch the 52nd Super Bowl, drink American beer, eat American food and cheer their favourite American team.

The rest of New Zealand, myself included, looked on a little bemused by all the hype.

Whatever happened to good old rugby?

Isn’t American Football the lesser of the sports?

It turns out I had been looking at it the wrong way entirely.

Rather than being a fast paced contact sport like rugby, American Football is more like a turn-based strategy game.

The fact that the ball is only in play for about 11 minutes in the 3.5-hour long Super Bowl does not seem to upset diehard fans in the slightest.

I still don’t think I will be sitting down to watch Super Bowl LIII, but to each their own.

And that holds true for Waitangi Day too.

Thankfully, this time around there were no major protests.

There was no mud flinging or sex toy throwing.

And the Prime Minister looked at least as adept on the barbie as yours truly.

While many politicians made the annual pilgrimage to Waitangi, others spent time with local iwi or kicked back like the rest of us.

Just like the Super Bowl, it turns out I had previously seen Waitangi Day the entirely wrong way too.

Far from being a nation united, on Waitangi Day we are a nation divided into lots of different people, groups and families each doing Waitangi Day their own way.
And actually, I think that’s pretty choice. 

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