Nothing informs the world of wearer’s modest Kiwi patriotism better than a printed T-Shirt with words or images cleverly rearranged into the shape of New Zealand. Ironic, then, that 99% of these are worn exclusively in this country only.
While happy to laugh at the USA for their blind jingoism and flag waving, Kiwis still feel a need to express a (albeit deeply self-conscious) sense of identity – as part of the wider colonial symptomatic need for ‘Positive Identity Reinforcement‘. However, lacking both the personality and goods to back it up, we are unable to simply shout it in people’s faces (the chosen method of our Australian cousins).
Inconspicous, easy-to-blend-in, highlighting an acceptable sense of modern fashion, but, importantly, not so much that you might look ‘like a bloody queer’, the printed t-shirt is the perfect vehicle for the understatement of Kiwi nationalism.
It is likely too, that this is part of the wider campaign of ‘Putting New Zealand on the Map‘. Literally. By forcing recognition upon the world of the correct shape of our fair and forgotten isles – which is so frequently dropped off the bottom right hand corner of world maps, or, at best, rendered as an unrecognisable pair of blobs somewhere off the coast of Chile.