Simon Schama on NZ: we should chant our national story

A lovely bit of writing that I had a little hand in creating... brilliant historian Simon Schama warns against New Zealand committing a national 'suicide'

Just had to share this lovely piece with you. A friend from the US forwarded me the link having heard it on the BBC World Service. (Thanks Keith!)... Simon Schama on New Zealand via Q+A, when we had him on the programme during his recent visit for the International Arts Festival. It's a must-read.

There's a long tradition of fly-by-night visitors mis-interpreting New Zealand, but Schama has nailed it. Perhaps I say that only because he largely agrees with my point of view, but he's got his facts right (although I'd like to know his grounds for claiming that we're one of the least ethnically diverse populations in the world; I'm scpetical of that) and a well thought-through position to go with is always compelling prose. (Although you could argue that his suggestion that Nicole Kidman is an asset to Australia is also dubious!)

In essence, he picks up on the suggestion that New Zealand should merge with Australia (via the UMR poll released on Q+A here) and warns against our national "suicide".

Schama's idea that we suffer from "an embarrassment of smallness" is intriguing. He notes that our earning power has only fallen behind Australia's in the past two decades, which is hardly long-term or terminal.

He shows our proud and distinctive history, which should give us immense confidence in creating an equally proud and distinctive future.

He challenges us to cherish ourselves, celebrate and dance and chant our culture and achievments. Are we a brave enough country to follow that path? That's the question, and one I hope we can answer with confidence and purpose.