Being positively patriotic

God of Nations at thy feet, in the bonds of love we meet, hear our voices we entreat, God defend our free land.

It was not long ago after the final of the Cricket World Cup that I sat down and read the news - all through it was this talk about the Australians being undeserving victors and that they were all ''tossers and bad sportsmen'' that day.

It seemed as though every Kiwi was experiencing a sudden and temporary burst of depression - including myself.

And I thought: why get upset about it?

Why not celebrate getting as far as we did?

Then it hit me.

People need to be more proud of our country and its achievements, and if we do this, people will generally be more positive about life and themselves.

If both those things happen, then this town, this country, this world, will be a much better place.

What do you think of, when I say ''rugby''?

The All Blacks, maybe Richie McCaw.

How about rowing?

Perhaps Bond and Murray or Mahe Drysdale come to mind.

Even the word shot put is synonymous with world champion Valerie Adams.

How about summiting Mt Everest, or splitting the atom? Pavlova? L&P? Pineapple Lumps? Kiwifruit? Sheep?

All these things speak New Zealand and success at the same time.

But what do you think of when I say spiders and snakes and deserts?That's right, Australia.

Or rain and bad weather - yep Southland.

Either way, rain or shine, New Zealand is a free land, with free people, free dreams and free Wi-Fi.

Not many counties can say that.

Some may argue that where else in the world will you find the infamous Gorons?

The bogans from Invers?

The classic folk of Hamilton?

I say nowhere!

Nowhere else will you find them, because they just are uniquely Kiwi.

They may not be known for their great heroic deeds, but it's people such as these that really make a great nation.

As the great writer Henry Miller once said: ''The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues''.

New Zealand in this case, is that man.

It's not like you can say that these places are all that bad anyway.

I mean, the guy who wrote the music for our national anthem hailed from the great South Island town of Lawrence.

And Lawrence was also the first town in New Zealand to offer free Wi-Fi too, the life source that we can no longer live without.

So it ain't just the big name towns that have something to claim.

There is good that comes from every New Zealand town ... except Gore.

Of course there are the obvious things that we take pride in, such as New Zealand being the first country in the world to allow women a vote, or being one of the only nuclear-free countries on the planet, but you've heard it all before.

Something that you may not have heard is, according to the global organisation Transparency International, New Zealand, along with Denmark, is considered the least corrupt country on the globe.

Now, I don't mean to point any fingers here, and by no means am I saying that we are perfect, but when do you see our police beat up black people on the sidewalk just for jaywalking?

Nah, we aren't about that business.

We are New Zealand - clean, green, pure and free.

It starts at the top.

If we see New Zealand as a great country, then we will have a positive outlook and life and just enjoy ourselves a whole lot more.

If that happens, then I tell you, you will see some changes.

The words of our very own anthem sum it up best: ''From dishonour and from shame, guard our country's spotless name, crown her with immortal fame, God defend New Zealand.''


 By Daniel Lewis, Year 11, Wakatipu High School


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