Does anybody else out there wonder why drooping business confidence matters? Okay, business is important but it represents just one part of the economy.
Category archive: NZ History
One of the advantages of skirting sixty is arriving at a vast fashion plateau, where peer pressures recede into the misty distance of the 1950s, when our mothers dreaded a hole in our socks.
What a relief it is to window shop today and see tortured blue jeans with unmatched patches, or with gaping holes without patches, and jackets turned inside out with threads hanging off artfully fraying seams! What a joy, to go home and rip apart an old coat taking the scissors to its sleeves, tearing out the shoulder pads and pinning a 1950s rhinestone brooch on its sagging lapel above our heart.
The finding of a body of a handsome young man lying in a remote spot beside the Clutha River began the story of Lonely Graves. In 1865 a miner called William Rigney came across the body near Horseshoe Bend Diggings. The dead man’s dog stood guard but no one knew the young man, nor could they discover his name.
In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.
But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed. Life was hard. The picture, is grim.
Crass materialism leapt brazenly out of the closet in New Zealand the 80s. Money-making was elevated to high social status beyond public service. An American import, the dominance of the mighty dollar had already taken root in other countries. Business finally reached the pinnacle of prestige. Business books proliferated: business management, business leadership, how to succeed in business and, of course, business-speak.
Sometimes the stuff that spills out of old box files on their way to the bin, are not only worth remembering, but keeping.
One we found was Windows on Poverty, a 1992 Report from the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services on Poverty in New Zealand. It was well on its way to pile in one of those purges we hoarders are told we must do. But caught between the need to clear out stuff – and hoard, we once more hoarded. Why? So we don’t forget, so we don’t allow it to happen again. Not in Godzone.
I don’t know what other boomers expected from this election but here’s what one, not a million miles from this keyboard hopes for:
Hope. In the arid landscape of ideology over the past 30 odd years it was as precious as water – but there’s an oasis ahead and room for hope. Just look at what’s happened abroad, as Martin Jacques wrote in the Guardian recently: