Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Kia Kaha (Forever Strong)

Touring Lions

All Black Aaron Smith, singer Lorde with her letter of support to Joe Irvine 
The British and Irish Lions are touring to New Zealand in June/July 2017. Having not won against the All Blacks since 1971, the Lions will be raring to touchdown in New Zealand and get off to a flying start on 3rd June at Toll Stadium in Whangerai. Lorde’s song Glory and Gore might serve as anthem for the All Blacks. 
You could try and take us (oh-oh)
But we're the gladiators (oh-oh)
Everyone a rager (oh-oh)
But secretly they're saviours
Glory and gore go hand in hand
That's why we're making headlines (oh-oh)
You could try and take us (oh-oh) 
But victory's contagious
Cook Islands where Tatau was filmed

Bucket List

Since watching the recent BBC3 series Tatau filmed on the Cook islands, New Zealand is currently high on my Bucket List of the places I hope to visit before I “shuffle off this mortal coil.” Of course Peter Jackson’s films of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have no doubt boosted tourism already but there is something seductive about the remoteness of the country, notwithstanding its rugby history and the pull of the film locations.

Far Away Is As Far Away Feels

Dunedin on South Island, where the Lions are playing the Highlanders on 13th June, is the furthest city on the planet away from London. I learned from Robert Tombs’ The English and Their History that South Island has something in common with the Scotland/Wales/England landmass and with Honshu, Japan’s main island. All three are the main islands “of the three largest temperate archipelagos in the world.” Japan seems more remote to me somehow, even though it is geographically closer. (As the crow flies, Saltaire to Tokyo is 5,846 miles. Saltaire to Christchurch is a whopping 11,697 miles: double the distance plus five miles!) Yet New Zealand “feels” more within reach than Japan.

Natural Beauty

New Zealand scenery is undoubtedly spectacular, and the temperate climate, though volatile, leads to amazing natural beauty. (I am sure Japan enjoys the same variety of features.) The weather wouldn’t put me off visiting, by any means.

Kia Kaha (Forever Strong)

Should I worry about the Ring of Fire? The earthquakes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 caused much destruction and loss of life, but news reports suggest there is much resilience and a determination to rebuild and thrive. Kia Kaha (Forever Strong) seems to have been adopted as a national motto and applied to rugby and survival against the odds in equal measure.