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We've been best mates for over 100 years but the bromance seems to be waning. Have we grown up? Or simply grown apart?

We fought together as ANZACs, died together as ANZACs, wept and laughed together in the trenches and the horror of war.

We patted each other on the back for being Antipodeans and couldn't really understand what all the fuss was about for those living “ up north “. For us, we were proud to be " far from the madding crowds." During this virus disaster, our Geographic isolation has been our great advantage.

Our two countries are the same but different. We happily took the mickey out of each other, our accents and our unique turns of phrase. Our people travelled for decades quite freely across the ditch, not even needing a passport. We made jokes at each other's expense, teased each other like brothers but, by God, if anyone started to get down and dirty with our sibling, we were the first to stand and fight alongside each other. Because that is what families do.

The only time we took the gloves off was the Bledisloe Cup. Then it was all on. Oh, and the cricket... in other words, where sport was concerned, there were no illusions. It was brother against brother, country against country. After the match, the beers would get poured and the bullshit metre started ticking and we dissected each player, each action and each tiny bit of the game until we woke up the next morning with heavy heads and vowed never to do it again. Until the next time.

 

Even our sense of humour and spelling were shared. You see, we were born of the same stock, the same lineage, the same Pioneer Spirit. Of course, some were convicts from England and some were "refugees " from Scotland ... but our forebears were all escaping the fundamental flaw in the Northern Hemisphere: not enough food, no freedom of speech, no freedom to have a job to support the family unit and no chance to ever break the cycle of poverty and helplessness. Much like those brave folk who got on the Mayflower and headed off to America, we all found ourselves descended from those that were fortunate enough to bail out of the Northern Hemisphere and start new lives.

From the goldfields of Victoria to the goldfields of Otago, our forebears carved out lives, married, made babies and created new Nations. Think about it: NEW NATIONS. What an incredible opportunity and what an incredible responsibility.

By 1893 New Zealand became the first self governing country in the world to give women the vote. Australia quickly followed and by 1895  had done the same. And some of our women think that we are not about Equality or have a history of Equality?

 We may sit at the bottom of the world but we proved early on that we were above the pack when it came to equality.

World War One we fought side by side, brother by brother, cousin by cousin and Kiwi by Aussie. Our boys continued in the Second World War... one only has to visit the farming communities in either country to see the War Memorials and the names of the young men who died to defend the freedom that they enjoyed "down under. "

In the 1950's and 1960's we saw migrants arriving to both countries to work in our lucky Nations. From Hungary, Italy, Germany, Greece and other parts of Europe; we saw the " Ten Pound Poms" joining the stampede to join us on our quest for Utopia. And they mucked in, worked hard, played hard, learned our language and became part of us.

But something happened. The friendly banter has become less friendly. Our matesmanship seems somehow tainted. We are wary of each other. We no longer laugh at each other's jokes. We don't seem to like each other very much. 

 

I cannot help but wonder if half the problem is that being an Aussie or a Kiwi is no longer a pre requisite to Citizenship or Residency. Across the Western world, the influx of Islamic “ refugees “  and Chinese migrants has seen a dramatic shift in what it means to be an American, an Italian, a Pom, a Swede,  a Kiwi or an Aussie. Enclaves of people who seek to build mini Bejings or mini Tehrans and maintain the very things that they apparently were trying to escape… worse still, is their desire to change us.

 We need to restore our relationship, sit down, have a beer and start being mates again.

 

 

When the lock down is over, open the flights across the ditch. Then open the flight paths to America. But please, please, turn the lock on the door to China and the Middle East.

Then throw away the key.

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