Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Kate Hawkesby: Getting out of NZ shows how introspective we've become

As school goes back today, for how long who knows given the looming strikes, but as we head back to the office and to school, it’s been interesting to reflect on the past two weeks.

We headed away for the first time in three years – we hadn’t left the country since Covid and closed borders, but we’d heard from everybody who had, how refreshing it is to get out of NZ. How inspiring it is to see how much the rest of the world has moved on. How blinkered and parochial we have become in our own little hermit kingdom.

Our first stop was San Francisco, a lost city full of drugs and homeless people and not much to enthuse a tourist to be honest. It felt edgy and unsafe and made me worried about our next stop – New York – and how much more dangerous and unsafe that may feel.

But how wrong I was. New York is incredible. It feels super safe due to the fact the place is flooded with cops – Police on every corner, and lots of them.

The place moves at a cracking pace, people are focused on what they’re doing and they’re going places. No one gives a crap about what you’re doing or where you’re going, individualism and the pursuit of happiness and success is embraced.

A refreshing change to NZ? Hell yes. I loved every second of it.

In fact we extended our stay by double the nights we’d originally booked. And even then there was still so much more to see and do. It’s an exhilarating city that feels exciting and inspiring all at once. It has get up and go. It’s not introspective and naval gazing. I appreciated the outward focus.

I also like how informed New Yorkers are. They were curious like most Americans about how young our politicians are – given theirs are so elderly. But one cabbie said to us, “your lady leader, the young one, she quit, she couldn’t hack it.. how old’s the new one?”

We said, “oh he’s young too..” The cab driver replied, “yeah but can he hack it?” We explained that he was so far ‘hacking it’ but that an election was coming. He asked what Kiwis thought of Trump. I said ‘well more importantly what do New Yorkers think of Trump?”

He said, “oh they hate him, we all hate him.” Which is not hard to see why, given Trump Tower and the surrounding streets are all cordoned off and crawling with cops and their NYPD cars, making getting down 5th Avenue just that little bit harder.

But I loved New York with a passion, as anyone following my Instagram would’ve seen, I was obsessed with its energy and vibrancy, it makes you feel like anything is possible.

And then we get to London. London has my heart because I lived here and have always loved it and it feels like a second home. I married a Brit, have 3 of his half English children who are all desperate to live here too, it’s spacious and well mannered (mostly) and always such a good time.

They are so amped already for the Coronation, the bunting is going up, the shop windows all have framed portraits of Charles in them, streets have been cordoned off to practice parade routes, it’s got a buzz already.

So I am very happy to be here, very grateful to be here, and all the people who said leaving NZ is good for your soul were right. It is.

It’s been so refreshing to get out. It makes you realise just how introspective we’ve become. It also makes me hope that we can shake our hermit kingdom shackles soon.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.


Anonymous said...

Yes Kate, you are describing t
New Zealand Inc - the New Zealand is the leader of the world, everyone cares about NZ and that NZ represents the new world order. When actually no one gives a damn, assuming they have heard of NZ and know where it is. Silly little country wasting its resources.

TJS said...

Yes I'm not sure why you'd want to go to San Francisco now, 💉 and human doings.
On the streets, people in tents.
Sad really.

Back 15 years ago it was vibramt, you could eat really good Mexican food at many places.

But what amazed me was if you had the odd $60,000 plus you could walk into any of the dealer galleries and purchase a Picasso or any number of early to late 20th century pieces of art. You were made to feel welcome and we're happy to show you their stock. I remember being impressed by viewing Ertés fashion plates in guach and Leon Bakst Marinsky theatre Costume designs for L'après midi d'une faune. And Keith Harring artwork to which we had a full length discussion about with the gallerie's propriorter. My mouth just dropped.

I can't recommend travelling enough. I did like the then San Francisco. We went to
Sausolito historic hippy cafe intact with original painting of The Band members. To Willie's Wine Bar we drove there with the top down by our friend who owned the hardware company that did Motion Capture systems. And we went to Oakland for a night out. Not bad.

Thanks for that trip down memory lane Kate.

Anonymous said...

I lived in london for 10 years and loved it. " If you are tired of london you are tired of life" And you could travel anywhere in the world for next to nothing. Kiwis in london were a real communituy and would always help a fellow kiwi out if they got into any strife. Living in nz at the moment there is a real sense of despair due to the politics we have been subjected to since the covid switch was pushed. I would feel more like a kiwi and accepted in london and miss the place like anything!

TJS said...


To Anonymous at 2:02 pm

Barbara McKenzie said...

San Francisco, New York, London ... not the obvious choice for different perspectives.

I escaped the Wellington freak show last year. The further from Jacinda the better it got. On the Wellington - Auckland flight everyone else was masked, despite the Ministry of Health issuing exemptions to anyone who wanted them. On the international flights masks largely ditched. Istanbul trams jam packed with maskless people. No masks in Bulgaria or Albania, very few in rural Greece. Lots of handshakes, hugs and kisses.

The sheeplike compliance of the New Zealand is best reflected its acceptance of our totally depraved education system. The top priority is to teach children how to change gender, with every single subject expected to impart radical gender theory: 'a whole-school approach to relationships and sexuality education' (ie gender theory). The damage to children of being made to feel insecure about their gender, and then encouraged to follow a path of counselling, drugs, mutilation, impotence and sterility is of no concern to media, politicians or the general public. Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on us.

TJS said...

Whoa hoo! Yes! Margaret
McKemzie. I commented about a young man who died on the operating table last night but did not get published because I mentioned the details. I guess, or the people behind it.
Very very sad.

Me too about flying out of NZ, silly masks.