Friday, April 18, 2014

Stuff about New Zealand

I often mention stuff about New Zealand, past, present and future. That’s part of what this blog is about, after all. So, I was interested in a list shared on Facebook yesterday—and surprised.

I could quibble about a few of the items on the list, “69 Facts About New Zealand That’ll Blow Your Mind” not because they’re wrong, but because some are a bit misleading without context.

But what was interesting to me about the list actually was one particular thing I didn’t know:
4. In the scene of Star Trek: First Contact, where we see Earth from space, Australia and Papua New Guinea are clearly visible but New Zealand is missing. [link is in the original]
I’ve seen the movie several times, at the movies and at home, and I’d never noticed that. That’s odd, because I usually notice that sort of thing right away. Somewhere I have a photo of Nigel and me in front of the metal globe outside the Universal Studios theme park in California, pointing to the spot on the globe where New Zealand should be (a photo of the globe, without New Zealand, or us, is on Wikimedia Commons).

All the other stuff on the list is basically true, though not always exactly as its presentation implies, like, for example:
59. New Zealand is the only country with the right to put Hobbit-related images on its currency.
While it’s true that the commemorative coins were legal tender, they were never introduced into circulation—they were sold to collectors. This is a good example of something that’s literally true, but not in the way the statement implies. Still, NZ being the only country with the right to do this was the main point, and that's absolutely true.

Overall, this list is accurate, even if sometimes a little bit misleading. I’ve seen plenty of similar lists on the Internet, and the information is sometimes just flat-out wrong. In this case, it’s actually possible to learn a little about New Zealand from a list. And, of course, I’m happy to talk in more detail about things on the list if anyone’s really curious (in fact, I’ve already talked about some of them in earlier posts).

One more thing this list reminded me: It’s not always necessary to be serious when talking about New Zealand. A little light-heartedness and fun never hurt anyone.

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