Sir Ed

Edmund Hillary

New Zealanders everywhere have, hopefully, taken some time today to reflect on the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.

I watched the funeral on TV this morning and tried to explain the significance to my young son. But he’s only 3 and didn’t really understand.

He was a legend, no argument about that.

He climbed his Everest (which just happened to be the actual Everest) at the age of 35.

And, after that he got on with the next thing.

This quote from Peter Hillary’s eulogy to his dad will stick in my head (from memory, so please excuse me if I don’t have the wording exactly right):

“Don’t wait for great things to happen to you, or else you might be waiting a very long time.”

In New Zealand cows eat grass

I was interested to read Jeremy Zawodny’s recent post, where he talks about the difference in quality between the red meat he ate on his recent trip to Africa and what he’s used to in the US.

Any kiwi who has travelled to the US will relate.

It reminded me of a great Anchor billboard which was running in London when we arrived there in 2001. The scene was a typical New Zealand rural setting – green hills, fences, the odd farm animal. And the by-line was simple:

In New Zealand cows eat grass

Sometimes your unique selling point is not necessarily obvious until you’re on the outside I guess?

Or, as Fred Dagg might say, we don’t know how lucky we are in this place Bruce.

What do you do?

I went to hear Danyon Loader speak a while back.

He is an excellent speaker. If you get a chance to hear him, take it.

He had a nice anecdote which I’ve been meaning to share on here…

He said he can usually tell where somebody comes from based on the first question they ask when they meet somebody new.

  • Those from Dunedin ask: what are you studying?
  • Those from Christchurch ask: where did you go to school?
  • Those from Wellington ask: what do you do?
  • And, those from Auckland ask: where do you live?


So, what do you do?


Do business with New Zealand

How is the 100% Pure NZ site promoting NZ businesses?

Look at the two links:

Travel: Funky font. Exciting colour. Wicked.

Business: Grey! Times New Roman! Yawn. :-(

It looks to me like this splash page, where visitors are forced to choose between travel and business, is a recent addition.

I wonder what the bulk of the visitors to this site are after?

My guess would be travel. So, why not get rid of this choice altogether? Just default to the much nicer travel site landing page and have an obvious link in the navigation to segue those people who are interested into the business section.

Chris Killen signs for Celtic

Living in the UK for a few years I got used to having the sports news totally dominated by football (I even learned to call it football rather than soccer).

Here it’s the other way around. Even when the All Blacks are playing a second- or third-string French side, which everybody expects them to beat comfortably, other sports still struggle to get a look in.

But tucked away at the bottom of the back page today was some interesting news:

Killen confirms move to Celtic

Celtic is a top club, so this is big news. Next season they will play in the elite Champions League. Chris Killen will be the only New Zealander in that competition.

Not bad for a fellow Rongotai College boy!

The heart of the edge of the world

I’m a big fan of the ideas behind The New Zealand Edge.

Here is where the name comes from:

“The metaphor was given to me by Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired. I drove Kevin to Karekare, as one does, when he visited in 1996.

He said that New Zealand was really easy to understand, because in biology – his genre – change and innovation occurs first on the edge of a species, where the population is most sparse.

New forms of life emerge on the margins, away from the deadening effects of the center. The excitement is on the wing, not in the scrum.”

Brian Sweeney, Victoria University Design Conference, 2003

Applying these ideas to New Zealand came out of the work that Saachi & Saachi did for the Tourism Board in the late 90’s, before being dumped because of a scandal involving a dinner between Kevin Roberts and Jenny Shipley.

In it’s place we got the “100% Pure” campaign.

They have great photography of amazing scenery and of course an award winning website, but it feels like an unfortunate compromise to me.

“We must turnaround our fixation with beauty. We have to stop defining ourselves in terms of other countries’ standards. We’re actually not going to win a ‘My Alps Are Bigger Than Your Alps’ contest, so we’ve got to add massively to the existing set of perceptions about New Zealand.

People don’t have a really great holiday here just because the mountains are so beautiful, or the fishing’s great, or the fjords terrific. People are the essence of most memorable tourist experiences.”

Kevin Roberts, NZ Tourism Industry Association Conference, 1998

Here is a video of a recent speech where Kevin Roberts applies the same ideas to Wellington:

The heart of the edge of the world

It’s 38mins, but worth watching.

Here are a couple of quotes that stuck with me:

On measuring the success of an advertisement:

“The only question that matters is ‘do you want to see it again?'”

On engagement:

“It’s not about ‘marketing at’ it’s about ‘connecting with'”

Good stuff!

P.S. You might notice that their logo is the alternative NZ flag design, as proposed by Lloyd Morrison and friends (see What ever happened to that campaign? It seems to have just fizzled out eh? What a shame!