In a beautiful expression of democracy, this week the New Zealand parliament has legalised same sex marriage and spontaneously burst into song. This has deservedly gone viral, so you will no doubt have seen that clip. Good.
For some reason, whilst watching this, I was reminded of our trip there in 2010.
When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by a customs officer of Scottish descent and had our passports stamped before heading out into a drizzly Christchurch. I must admit that I was slightly bemused to see that New Zealand's passport stamp contained the slogan "New Zealand: the right choice". It just seemed a bit weird to use that particular medium for advertising how great your country is when, by definition, the only people who will ever see it have already taken the time and the trouble to travel to the ends of the earth to visit you anyway.
It turns out that this wasn't so much an advertising slogan as a statement of fact. New Zealand: the right choice.
Mind you, I should have realised this years ago. In Wellington, we went to a pub to have a little early evening drinkie-poos. Over the time we'd been travelling in NZ, I'd discovered that they do pretty good beer, and Monteith's in particular was excellent. This pub was a Monteith's pub and was advertising that they had just started selling their Autumn ale. What more reason do you need to stop? We ordered a drink and then pushed our way through the after-work rush to try to find a table. By the time we finally sat down, we were ready for another drink. Just as I was contemplating the throng, a waitress came to our table and took our orders. I ordered an Autumn ale. In due course, four pints arrived. Four pints? Why yes, said the waitress, we're running a promotion at the moment where the first round of Autumn ale is on us, so I brought you both a pint. C. doesn't really drink beer, so this was excellent news. But four pints? Buy one get one free, apparently. So how much do I owe you? Nothing. Four pints, no charge? Yup.
Best pub ever.
New Zealand: the right choice.