New Zealand’s geographical remoteness has led to a slow adoption of contemporary Western doctrine, and a tendency towards more archaic practices where the distribution of justice is concerned. The small island nation is unable to sustain a large prison population, so New Zealand authorities continue to favour capital punishment over alternative legal processes.
Annually, on the first Monday of June (or “Queen’s Birthday”), the nation’s convicted prisoners play an important match of backyard cricket. The losing team, or the team with the least “runs,” is sentenced to death and immediately transported to Rotorua.
Queen’s Birthday revellers gather in Rotorua for the annual dropping of the “geezers in the geysers.”
Usually desolate due to the unbearable stench of its geothermal mud pools, Rotorua’s population doubles over Queen’s Birthday weekend. Vast numbers of tourists descend on the pungent town to witness the fate of the unfortunate criminals who are cast into its boiling geysers.
A notorious New Zealand crime family on display in Rotorua. They were dismissed for 51 in their final innings after just 9 overs.
Queen’s Birthday remains one of the nation’s most popular public holidays; New Zealanders relish the chance to witness a better cricket performance than that of their national team, and can nurse their Sunday night hangovers without using annual leave days.
New Zealand’s cultural landscape was changed forever by the arrival of the first British colonists, who brought various commodities to trade with the indigenous Maori they encountered: food, tools, weapons, and of course, television sets. Though these new technologies proved useful, they came at a high price; many televisions were infected with Shortland Street, and the disease swept quickly through both the Maori and Pakeha populations.
Two million episodes (and 150 Christmas specials) later, Shortland Street remains New Zealand’s longest-running drama and soap opera. Vaccinations against Shortland Street have proved completely ineffectual, but health authorities have managed to contain the symptoms to weeknight’s from 7:00 to 7:30 pm.
Chriswarnerovirus, of the Shortland genus.
After increasing pressure from the Australian and United States governments, New Zealand agreed to adopt colour television in the late 1990s. There are now three 14” colour sets in New Zealand, but retail costs remain prohibitive for most average New Zealanders. It is rumoured that even Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords fame, are yet to see their show in anything more than monochrome.
Until now, television broadcast in New Zealand has been restricted to weather reports and Briscoes sales warnings, but a slow rise in the popularity of the medium has led to significant investment by the government. It is thought that by 2020 New Zealand will add all ten seasons of Friends to its television repertoire.
Excited New Zealanders have taken to the wireless to speculate about the implications of this promotional poster.
An isolated nation with a small population base, New Zealand is of little interest to major organised religious groups, resulting in it being largely left uninfluenced. The earthquake that struck Christchurch in February 2011 caused the destruction of the Anglican Cathedral, the last bastion of the nation’s meagre Abrahamic religious presence. Reluctant to invest in a country with only two Anglicans, the Church of England instead opted to construct a replacement cathedral out of cardboard (chosen by the Cathedral Reconstruction Committee over paper mache, Popsicle sticks, and Duplo).
The selected design for the replacement Christchurch Anglican Cathedral.
While organised religion is rare, most New Zealanders observe the teachings of spiritual leader and guru Sir Ian McKellen. Taking advantage of his international fame garnered through Peter Jackson’s documentary series, “The Lord of the Rings,” McKellen recently spearheaded the same-sex marriage movement in New Zealand. McKellen plans to wed in Middle Earth as soon as the new law takes effect in 2013.
Sir Ian McKellen protests outside of Parliament in Wellington.
New Zealand’s other notable ‘religious’ figure is comedian and satirist Bishop Brian Tamaki. “Bishy B-Maki,” as he is known to his fans, has carved out a successful career in character-based comedy, posing as a larger-than-life evangelical preacher. Some of Tamaki’s outlandish pranks have included plans to build a “holy city” in South Auckland, fooling several thousand followers into buying him a new motorcycle, and regularly pretending to drown himself in hair gel. Tamaki’s satirical religious group, Destiny Church, has attracted some 1200 comedy fans to its Facebook page.
Bishy B-Maki performs ‘The Greatest Medley Ever Told’ from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit with Wayne Brady at the NZ International Comedy Festival.
Local Weather Forecasting:
Localised meteorological study plays a significant role in the lives of most ordinary New Zealanders, who are often at the mercy of weather patterns that impact fruit and vegetable harvests, livestock farming, and backyard cricket matches. In fact, the outdoor barbeque (or barbie) is of such cultural importance to the average New Zealander that many will simply refuse to eat during adverse weather conditions.
A starving New Zealander desperately tries to barbeque.
Despite the combined efforts of international charities, the almost religious fervour with which New Zealanders traditionally treat the act of grilling meat can even result in many starving to death during extended rainy seasons.
Princess Diana with a group of New Zealanders in Westport - the first barbeque these children have eaten in over six months.
After the disastrous Annual New Zealand Christmas Party of 1996, New Zealand authorities elected to reverse the seasons from those of their northern-hemisphere counterparts, and ensure that Christmas is held in the dry and barbecue-conducive summer months.
Meteorology and Geography:
Due to its floating and impermanent nature, New Zealand’s geographical and geological constitution is often impacted by significant meteorological events in the surrounding Pacific Ocean. Of particular note was the 1992 arrival of the South Island, which washed up on New Zealand’s shores during Hurricane Tina.
Historical announcement: weatherman Jim Hickey breaks the news to Wellington that they are now only the third largest city in New Zealand.
While not all New Zealanders welcomed the change, most were receptive to the South Island’s arrival. The Interislander ferry company were particularly supportive of the addition, which provided a much less depressing destination than their usual Stewart Island route. Most Aucklanders, to this day, are still unaware that the South Island exists.
Education in New Zealand is compulsory for all children before the age of ten, at which point they are expected to find gainful employment in a shearing gang. There are two schools in New Zealand; children from affluent families usually attend the privately funded King’s College in Auckland, while those from lower socio-economic groups attend Waimate Main School.
The competency of all New Zealand students is assessed through a standardised nationwide test, designed to evaluate each student’s literacy, numeracy, ability to think laterally and understanding of their cultural heritage.
2012’s Standardised Year 5 Test; students who achieve more than 50% are awarded their New Zealand School Certificate.
Tertiary education is pursued by many young New Zealanders wishing to achieve higher qualifications. University study remains popular today, despite growing pressure from government officials and parents to outlaw further education in a desperate attempt to halt the nation’s “brain drain.” A recent survey of Melbourne baristas found that one in five held a doctorate from a New Zealand university, while 100% of those surveyed were earning more than New Zealand’s total workforce combined (excluding surviving members of OMC).
A tiny island raft drifting in the South Pacific, New Zealand’s only natural resource of note is its vast sheep population. Fortunately, the small human population can sustain itself almost entirely with ovine products: lamb, traditional Dobbyn/Bain attire, and ugg boots are bartered locally.
This woman has grown enough ugg boots to feed her family of six for a week.
New Zealand’s official currency is the Swanndri, or the NZS (sometimes incorrectly written as the NZ$). An ever-practical people, the citizens of New Zealand use the Swanndri as both a medium of exchange and a warm outdoor garment.
A daring thief poaches a high quality Merino - this unfortunate creature will likely be shorn into several NZS.
New Zealand’s GDP is approximately NZS $71.00 (2012 estimate), or NZS $10.14 per capita. The economy consists of several major industries, and can be broken down as follows (percentages of total GDP, based on the December 2012 quarter):
A South Island bungee-jumping operator shows off his profits for the 1999-2009 financial decade.
Immortalised in Tolkien’s 1954 written history of the country, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Zealand’s parliamentary system is one of tradition and solemnity. Though the population of seven generally require little government interference, the Council of Kiwis hold a formal meeting every four years to discuss important issues that face the nation.
A New Zealand Parliament in session.
In 2012, the Council of Kiwis convened for the 43rd New Zealand Parliamentary Assembly. Items on the minutes included:
Options for improving the nation’s international reputation over neighbouring Australia were also discussed, with the legalisation of same-sex marriage narrowly beating out an OMC reunion tour, a third season of Flight of the Conchords, and a sausage sizzle (gold coin donation).
Occasionally, New Zealanders may decide that the Council of Kiwis is performing inadequately, and a general election is held. Fortunately, New Zealand’s population is now an odd number; before the departure of Russell Crowe, tied vote counts could mean drawn-out decisions and the additional step of a backyard cricket match to determine a winner.
Helen Clark narrowly misses a chance to run out John Key, 2008.
Despite calls for their abolition in recent years, five special parliamentary seats are reserved to ensure fair representation of the country’s minority groups. These elected officials are chosen from within their respective electorates: two hobbits (The Shire), one caucasian farmer (Rangitata), one bungee jumper (Clutha-Southland), and one nightclub owner (Auckland Central).
With a national tendency to support the underdog, New Zealand has long enjoyed a robust social welfare system to assist those kiwis most in need, through the services of Work and Income New Zealand. Like all New Zealand government departments, WINZ maintains extremely high levels of efficiency and competence. Beneficiaries can expect nothing but the best, right down to the department’s graphic design and visual aesthetic (see image below).
If a New Zealand citizen falls into one of the following categories, they are eligible for state support in the form of accommodation, financial benefits, or radio airplay during the month of May:
A Work and Income New Zealand application form.
Unfortunately, the kind heart and trusting nature of WINZ is sometimes abused by profiteers. In particular, many New Zealanders feel that the native kiwi population are exploiting the welfare system to the detriment of the economy; kiwis seem unwilling to make any attempt to fly, breed, fend off predators, or even search for employment during the daylight hours. Despite the Department of Conservation’s best efforts at rehabilitation, the lethargic and apathetic nature of the kiwi makes them poor contributors to human society.