New Zealand tourist campaign against social media

January 28, 2021 • 2:00 pm

Count on the Kiwis: they don’t take themselves—or anybody else—too seriously. In this case, they’re mocking tourists who visit New Zealand and spend much of their time taking shots for Instagram and other “socials”. This campaign, mounted by New Zealand’s tourist agency, excoriates those who miss the scenery so they can show themselves in it (and I share that scorn).  As the Guardian reports:

New Zealand’s tourism agency is seeking to edge out influencer-style photoshoots at tourism hotspots with a tongue-in-cheek campaign against “travelling under the social influence”.

In a video, the comedian Tom Sainsbury stars as a lone ranger in the “social observation squad”, chiding tourists for perpetuating tropes such as a hat-wearing woman in lavender field, a man quietly contemplating on a rock, and “a classic one in these parts: the summit spreadeagle”.

Here’s the main ad: “Travelling under the social influence”:

The call by Tourism NZ to skip the cliche social media shots and “share something new” follows the launch in May 2020 of its Do Something New campaign to boost domestic tourism while borders remained closed to international visitors.

Travellers were encouraged to share their creative travel shots with #DoSomethingNewNZ to go into win a $500 domestic travel voucher.

“We noticed that the same pictures or poses kept coming up, time and time again, no matter the location,” Bjoern Spreitzer, Tourism NZ domestic manager, was quoted as saying by Stuff. “There are so many incredible things to do in New Zealand, beyond the social trends.”

Two short supplemental ads: “Man on a rock:

Instagram has driven the popularity of a few scenic spots in New Zealand, including the tree in Lake Wānaka and the day hike to Roys Peak nearby.

In 2018 a photograph of the “social media queue” on the track went viral for showing the behind-the-scenes of the “summit spreadeagle” shot.

. . . and “Run me over risk” shot. I have to admit that I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the middle of roads taking pictures like the two at the bottom. But I didn’t intend to be in the shots! Besides, there’s hardly any traffic out of the cities.

Two of my “middle of the road shots”: Kea and Kiwi (crossing)

And yes, a lavender field, not fully in bloom (it’s owned by a member of Heather Hastie’s family). But no fedora!

I can’t believe it’s been nearly four years since I visited! I want to go back very badly.

Jacinda: I’m vaccinated now. Will you let me in?

h/t: Jez

My efforts to help Trevor the Duck come to naught

October 5, 2018 • 10:45 am

THIS DUCK NEWS JUST IN: After an absence of two full days, Honey and James have returned to the pond. It’s cold and rainy, but I fed them anyway. To add to the drama, one of our office staff reported that earlier this morning there were two drakes in the pond, and one of them chased the other away. The chaser was undoubtedly James going after a would-be suitor of Honey, for James and Honey are together right now in the pond; and there is no sign of any other duck.

On to the story at hand. A while back I published the sad tale of Trevor, a lone and lonely mallard drake who had somehow landed himself on the small island of Niue, a self-governing state affiliated with New Zealand. There were no other ducks there, and no standing water, either. Trevor found himself a small and temporary puddle, but the locals took pity on him, giving him food and topping up his puddle. Even the local fire department pitched in by adding water to the temporary pond. Still, Trevor (named after Trevor Mallard, the real name of New Zealand’s speaker of the House of Representatives) became somewhat of a celebrity, even getting his own Facebook page. Here’s the World’s Loneliest Duck:

Photo: NZ Herald/Claire Trevett

I brought this situation to the attention of Kiwi Heather Hastie, and told her I’d be willing to pay the expenses to relocate Trevor to either of New Zealand’s big islands so he could have permanent water and maybe find a mate. Heather was kind enough to write about this to both Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, and to the Minister of Primary Industries (MPI), the person in charge of animal welfare. Ardern, who was in the U.S., sent a “you’ll hear from us later” reply, but the MPI’s agency wrote back. The news is not good, but at least they cared enough to write to Heather. Here’s their letter:

Dear Heather,

As you know, New Zealand has strict controls on what’s imported into the country, to protect our environment, flora, fauna, and human health. Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, an import health standard (IHS) is required for importation into New Zealand of any biosecurity risk goods such as live animals, and at this time we do not have an IHS that covers live ducks. Unfortunately this means that we are currently unable to allow Trevor to be imported into New Zealand.

Kind regards,

Janessa Brown DVM, BSc (Hons)| Senior Adviser, Animal Imports
Animal Health & Welfare Directorate | Regulation and Assurance Branch
Ministry for Primary Industries | Pastoral House 25 The Terrace | PO Box 2526 | Wellington | New Zealand

I of course respect the biological integrity of New Zealand, but I still hope there’s another solution to Trevor’s plight.

Air New Zealand’s 2017 Christmas ad

December 1, 2017 • 1:30 pm

Now that I’m an Honorary Kiwi™, you’ll find a marginal increase in the number of items about New Zealand. But that’s okay, because Kiwis have a great sense of humor about nearly everything—especially themselves. This is the 2017 Christmas ad from Air New Zealand, and it spends no time touting the airline but a lot of time taking the mickey out of the Kiwi accent. And it’s pretty accurate, too, since apparently Santa isn’t from New Zealand.

How can you not love a country that produces ads like this? Be sure to see the final salutation.