On my way to the border

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  • Published 20140129
  • ISBN: 9781922182241
  • Extent: 300 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I GOT UP, dressed, and walked to the airport. Everyone else was driving as fast as they could to beat it out of the city, out of New Zealand, to catch the first flight leaving for the colonies – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, even Darwin. There were incredible statistics. Every week, thirty thousand people – equal to the population of Gisborne, that lovely, beachy city on the East Coast, where Captain Cook first made landfall – were fleeing New Zealand, wanting away, deserting the ship that wasn’t so much sinking as going round in circles.

Poor old New Zealand. The money wasn’t as good as the Australian dollar. The weather wasn’t as warm, the natives were a lot less restless. The various assorted claustrophobias of living in a narrow archipelago north of the South Pole could get you down. Everyone knew each other’s business; nosiness and complaint were the New Zealand condition. It was also a form of entertainment. The most popular and longest-running TV show was Fair Go. Reality TV before it became a named genre, it dealt with consumer affairs, and made a cult out of shonky service and broken promises. But the numbers streaming every week to Auckland International Airport suggested Fair Go had spawned an even more popular sequel: Go Away.

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About the author

Steve Braunias

Steve Braunias is the author of Civilisation: 20 Places on the Edge of the World (Awa Press), judged best non-fiction book of the year...

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