World Cup NZ

The world cup has got me thinking that you can tell a lot about a nation from its national anthem. Here in New Zealand we sing a song of warm fuzziness and humble pleas, not to God of our particular nation, but a God of all nations thereby acknowledging our own insignificance in the greater scheme of things. We meet in love and general niceness and ask only that if there is strife and war to be dished out to the cosmos, that the universal God be so kind as to give us a miss and send it all elsewhere. Historically – so far so good.

We’ve missed out on most of the starvation strife and prolonged civil wars that most countries have copped and while that makes for a peaceful and pestilence free existence it also makes for a rather boring (although sweet) national anthem. While the haka may carry some of our national fire in the belly, with its throat slitting bum baring ferocity – it has also become a ritualised display of fossilised aggression. Friday showed us inspired choreography and breathtaking creative coordination. It also gave us haka a la bollocks, haka with feathers, haka with imaginary canoes and haka in ties. OK. We get it. Everyone is really angry and ready to fight the enemy (in a friendly and sportsman like way – just ignore the whole throat slitting bit.)

Our national anthem and the haka seem to sum up our slightly schizophrenic national psyche. As does the Argentine’s. Saturday had the mad Latin driving round town with the national flag on our beat up truck. I’d personally like to thank whoever nicked it from him when he left it in the carpark. The flag and the upcoming game with the English engendered in him a need to drive about town singing the national anthem out the window and inciting war against those Malvinas stealing pirates – those offspring of Satan: the English. I had to remind him that this would also include me – and technically – our daughter.

Part of the problem with the Argentine anthem is its blood and guts hyperbole which gives the expression ‘over the top’ a whole new dimension. In fact the toned down version had to be created because the original was so long and gory against the Spainish that it offended the wave of later Spanish immigrants to such a degree that it frightened them. “to resound with horrible din: the whole country is disturbed by cries of revenge, of war and rage.In the fiery tyrants the envy spit the pestipherous bile.” You get the idea. And it went on. And on. For personal entertainment I did suggest that with all those double barrelled surnames and excessive hair product in the Argentine team – the best response if they were ever to face the haka -would be to blow a big group kiss the way of the Mighty All Blacks. I regretted it. It triggered another round of the national anthem where he swore they would gain victory or all die in glory trying. Which is why I’m supporting Japan, simply because they’re called the ‘Cherry Blossoms’. The idea of a bunch of rucking maniacs going by that name delights and inspires.

I’ve had just about enough of the machismo of rugby - it’s time for the All Blacks to reclaim their feminine side. The English have stolen their uniform anyway so it’s time for a change. What about renaming The Mighty All Blacks, the Little Kowhai buds and going for a yellow look? My only hope is that they play like a pack of girls. The NZ women’s rugby team pack of girls that is. And that’s because; the Black Ferns always win.

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