New Zealander  of the Year

New Zealander of the Year

There is a medium to strong chance that if you’re currently residing in New Zealand, you know some New Zealanders. Hell, you may even be a New Zealander yourself! If either is true – congratulations! There aren’t many New Zealanders in this world, but the New Zealanders that do exist are odd, awkward creatures who are constantly torn between fearing the world and attempting to rule it. Each year a handful of New Zealanders accomplish one of these goals to such an impressive degree that it deserves to be recognised. Not too recognised, though, or other New Zealanders will ostracise them – the inevitable result of the nation’s affliction with Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Smallest Poppy - John Key

Trying eternally to prove that he’s just one of the #lads, the only thing John Key proved this year is that he loses all semblance of intelligence and resorts to indignant (and usually fabricated) playground tell-tale tactics when faced with an opponent who’s basically better than him in every possible sense. New Zealand’s favourite new criminal mastermind/ philanthropist/ fuck-the-system antihero Kim Dotcom was the tall poppy chosen to humiliate John Key this year.

The topic in question was the controversial GCSB bill. Key successfully altered the law to retrospectively make his illegal spying on Kim Dotcom legal – after all, you can’t beat a bigger opponent if you don’t know all their moves. The debates that followed saw Key initially try to limit the time Dotcom had to talk, but inevitably give in to the big teddy bear. He has since lashed out at Dotcom’s political ambitions, calling his potential party the “No Hope Party.” Now, now. That’s no way to fight, Mr. Key.

In unrelated news, which serves once more to highlight Key’s small-town mindset, London’s Daily Telegraph quite rightly pointed out that the “galloping colonial clot” that is our Prime Minister was “nuclear pink with pleasure” at being photographed in the Queen’s private sitting room.

“Well, I think there are two main points here,” Key said to Critic when given his award. “I’m chuffed, of course. There aren’t many awards that are given to people in the tireless role I currently fill. But more importantly, I think this shows the progress my Government has made. Taking on the bigger guys and being prepared to have a toys-out when necessary is something New Zealanders struggle with. I’m a much smaller poppy than Cunliffe would ever be. Say, it’s a bloody good day! Do you want to come over to my mansion for a celebratory barbie and a brewski? #lads #KiwiSummerStunner #JustANormalGuy.”

Interview of the Year – Francisco Hernandez on Firstline

Perhaps the biggest faux-pas/clusterfuck of the year was OUSA President Francisco Hernandez’s disastrous interview with Rachel Smalley on TV3’s Firstline about the closure of the Cook, which resulted in all Otago students, whether Scarfie or not, face-palming in unison.

Abysmal from the get-go, Hernandez started the interview by all but forgetting to exchange standard introductory pleasantries, and babbled incoherently through all of his responses. Our humble, media-inept leader was successful in one aspect, though: he somehow pulled off body language that was simultaneously rigid and nonchalant by not smiling at all and doing his best to impersonate some sort of statue.

To be fair, he only lost his train of thought once (“and to answer your second question … wait, what was your second question again?”) but it was a doozy. Critic was particularly envious of Smalley for beating all our efforts to conduct Fran’s worst interview, but we’ve consigned ourselves to the fact and take our hats off to her.

The climax? Well, that would have to be the moment when Hernandez agreed that the Cook was in need of demolition. You could hear the gasps from North Dunedin all the way up the East Coast.

Criminal of the Year – America’s Cup Referees

Critic doesn’t give a fuck about sports – we got rid of those pages as soon as we possibly could this year – but, alas, we must represent the majority in this Scarfie land of ours and agree, fundamentally, that the referees at the America’s Cup Regatta were cheats, arseholes, incompetent, and, most significantly, the biggest criminals New Zealand has ever seen. Oh, except for that referee at the Rugby World Cup a few years ago …

We’ve heard that they, like, robbed us of victory and stuff like that. Meanies.

Celebrity of the Year – Lorde

She has been congratulated by international celebrities like Grimes for topping Billboard’s alternative music chart (the first female artist to do so in years). She had the self-control to turn down the opportunity to open for Katy Perry on a world tour, and she also topped her English class in 2012. But perhaps her greatest accomplishment so far is being crowned Critic’s “Celebrity of the Year.” Lorde, or Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is an internationally renowned celebrity who is still not old enough to legally drink alcohol, vote or buy cigarettes in New Zealand.

Lorde was expected to release a covers album at age twelve. Instead she released The Love Club EP – and later her debut album Pure Heroine – in a desire to do her own thing. It’s hard to imagine a more determined, inspiring and together 16-year-old.

Indeed, some have found it so hard to believe that they have stumbled over the line into the realm of criticism. Simon Sweetman, writing a review of Lorde’s music on Off the Tracks, went as far as to describe Lorde as “hype transliterated” whose parents “gave up their daughter” to Universal. He also believed there to still be “some final twist in the manipulation.”

Fish of the Year – Snapper

You know what smells fishy? Fish. They really do have a certain smell about them! One particular fish that has expelled an impressively strong smell this year is the snapper. The snapper is a New Zealand band, a convenient way to use the bus system in Wellington, a fish, and John Key’s replacement for the word “children” in the phrase “what about the children” during the GCSB commotion.

The only thing more slippery than David Shearer’s rapid slide to irrelevance was the pair of snapper he held up during parliamentary debate only weeks before his resignation. These fish ignited more debate in our fair country than Kiwis’ privacy flying out of the window, and were included in tweets as trivial as Maurice Williamson’s calling for a “Snapper Election” after Shearer’s resignation. Very clever, Mr. Williamson. Very clever.

When we told a representative of the snapper fish about its achievement, it looked at us with its bulging eyes but didn’t say anything. Either this fish just likes to keep us guessing or plucking it out of the water to tell it the news made it breathless. You naughty fish out of water – get back to school!

New Zealander of the Year – Stephanie Key

She unlocked our hearts when we had given up on the Keys altogether. She has achieved so much while baring, well, almost as much. And yet there remains minimal coverage, so to speak, of Critic’s New Zealander of the Year.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister John Key’s daughter Stephanie Key created headlines when her daring photography portfolio was posted and shared across the Internet. The photos were part of an assignment for her course at the famous Paris College of Art, and showed her posing, often naked, with an interesting range of objects (including an octopus) covering her breasts and vagina.

If Steffi Key were any old student, and not the Prime Minister’s daughter, perhaps she wouldn’t have received Critic’s prestigious award. However, this was not the case. Key’s ambition was, in its own way, a huge “fuck-you” to one of New Zealand’s most important people, and she manifested that ambition through the medium of art.

When an interviewer asked John Key to comment on his daughter’s art he (actually) replied, “I told her to eat her food, not play with it. But oh well – she’s got sushi all over her.” All Steffi Key has to do to keep the Prime Minister of New Zealand on his toes is lie down. She is the most laid back person, and is unashamedly deserving of this title.
This article first appeared in Issue 26, 2013.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 6th October 2013 by Zane Pocock and Loulou Callister-Baker.