After writing about ‘Argy’, a kind of personification of Argentina and her people, I feel it’s fair to attempt to do the same with New Zealand: my homeland, my beloved country of birth. This is my interpretation based on thoughts and feelings gathered carefully over the years and on conversations with other Kiwis and people who have spent time living in New Zealand. I’m sure, like with any ‘friendship’, other people’s perspectives would be distinct to mine.
I have no choice but to call her ‘Kiwi’ as it’s a name that is held dear by New Zealanders and people from all over the world. Kiwi is a she, just like Argy, because I have always thought of countries as female – they hold us, nurture us and challenge us to grow up, hopefully, well.
Kiwi is wildly beautiful, kind and welcoming but reserved at times. She is humble at heart and she doesn’t like to show off. She believes deeply in honesty and giving everyone a fair go. She’s unique and proud of being a somewhat unpolished diamond in the rough. She loves nature and the outdoors. She has learned to treasure her diverse cultural roots, formed – not easily – over time, through the mixing of the people who first walked the land, a wave of settlers from Europe and more recent colourful migrants brought into the fold.
She is hardworking and very stoic, an attitude inherited from her forebears, but made firmer by her beginnings – of taming a wild and unforgiving land, with blood, sweat and tears-held-in. She doesn’t cry over spilt milk, she instead holds herself together with sheer will and moves forward, but I fear sometimes that she has feelings and burning issues from the past that are not being processed and are hindering healing.
Kiwi is fiercely independent, perhaps too much so, and she will forever be the little sister who has to stand extra tall to prove herself. She is loved by the world. Often Kiwi is held up as a shining example, and she is, but sometimes she is overly idealised. I believe this is complicated for her. It’s hard to be honest about difficult times and fears and sadness when you are supposed to feel so lucky. Being a star brings both good and bad things. She has a tendency to hide parts of herself and to drown pain rather than ask for help.
I love her deeply; she has been a good friend, even though I haven’t been in close contact with her for years…too many years. She lives close to my heart, a burning coal close to my soul. I am very proud of her as a person, but I know sometimes she struggles and can feel alone. In my opinion she needs more hugs, more time with close kin and an ear to listen to her struggles. I wish she knew that she doesn’t have to be so tough, and she can relax a little more and enjoy the fruits of her labour.
I’m not sure I will go back to her, even though my current best friend, ‘Argy’ is both wonderful and extremely infuriating! Perhaps it’s because I would miss the rollercoaster and the strength making challenges and the warm, tight hugs I get every day. Perhaps, when I’m older, I will seek out her quieter embrace.
I know she will always be there for me.