From: Shaun Tipson
Subject: Mission: New Zealand
Sent: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 10:48:19

Hi All,

I thought since it's almost time for me to leave Aoterora (I'm picking up the lingo eh?) I thought a group email might be in order. This will be the only one for this trip away, and the normal disclaimer applies: if you are bored easily just skip to the yada yada "general good will" section at the bottom.

So, what to talk about? Nope, not sheep, not wacky accents and not (well, not much anyway) skiing. Instead, I thought I'd give a guide to NZ culture, or, more appropriately, kulcha.

See, the thing is, I don't reckon NZ has much. Or, to put it another way, not much that hasn't been imported from some other place. I've been incessantly reminding Kel that most of the companies are Australian, the road signs are English and the TV is American. Even half the All Blacks are from a (non-NZ) Pacific Island.

But I'll stop there, since this isn't intended to be Kiwi-bashing. The thing is that somehow amongst all of the imported crap there is a strong Kiwi vibe. And, unfortunately (and the snow boarders out there are going to love this) it's Hip Hop. Now, some of you may have noticed that my girlfriend is quite keen on this musical genre. Myself, I'd just put it in the "wacky Kelly-quirk" basket, without suspecting for a moment that there was a whole country of them out here.

What do I mean? It seems like about half of the Auckland radio stations are dedicated to hiphop, and of the rest it's become such a part of the mainstream that even the seriously commerical stations mix it into their playlist. And, disturbingly, if you talk to young people (ie people more than 5 years younger than me) they actually TALK hiphop. And they're not joking (unless everyone's laughing at me when I leave) or posing (or, if they are, it's just part of the hiphop vibe). I've even concluded that the "sweet as bro" that I got from the lifties at Mt Ruapehu yesterday is all part of the New Zealand Hip Hop Conspriracy.

So where does the NZHHC come from and what does it mean? I've got no idea (but buy me a beer sometime and I'll make something up for you). Of course, it could just be my overactive imagination (or the strange hallucinations you get from walking too close to thermally active areas).

Oh, and to compress the rest of the trip: have seen black sand, boiling mud, lots of golf courses and (not enough) snow. All good really! Best wishes all, and I'll see most people when I get back sometime late next week,


2003 Tipson Family.
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