You get a native tree when you take New Zealand citizenship. Greg got an enthusiastic Pittisporum. I got a brooding, slow-growing Black Pine.
But the real citizenship rite of passage happened back at my language school. The Kiwi staff decked me out in a floppy hat, a Swanddri shirt and gumboots and pushed me in to teach my class of twelve Korean, Japanese and Chinese students who would do anything if it was set to karaoke. So, in five different languages, armed with kiwi tucker and L&P’s, we belted out:
It’s a Canterbury tradition, isn’t it? Every year we’re up at sparrows on Show Day. We bundle the kids into the car and head to the showgrounds munching marmite on toast as we go.
There’s always a queue. We bump over the paddocks and get mixed messages from people waving orange flags. We park, slap on sunblock and head to the entrance pockets jangling.
The animals are happiest early in the day. The rides are best before lunch. The nor’wester arrives at noon along with the chips and hot dogs. We buy up Christmas presents at the stalls before we leave exhausted, sunburnt and full of memories. The A&P Show is what Canterbury’s all about. Brilliant!
“Blog on ‘Canterbury’ in under 100 words,” they said. My heart plummeted – how could I, a wordy immigrant, hope to achieve that?
But before I could call myself a Cantab, first I had to come to terms with being a Kiwi. I bonded by doing all the right things: I barbied, bought an Edmonds cookery book, watched rugby at Jade Stadium (the Sharks won – Yeah, right!)
But the Pineapple Lumps advertisement finally did the trick. One viewing and I knew – I could come to love this place. Recommended viewing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpj2oVJhYjM Assignment 1: What’s the quirkiest thing about Christchurch/Canterbury for you?