Positive Identity Reinforcement

Closely linked with ‘Taking Ourselves Seriously‘, a trait unique to the Kiwi psyche is the need for constant, positive reinforcement about just how great a country it is. This is probably because, deep down, most Kiwis have a niggling fear that it might actually be a bit shit.

Travel though a country such as Great Britain, and the first question the locals will ask you is ‘What the f**k are you doing taking a holiday in this crap-hole?’. Travel round New Zealand, and the first question locals ask is “Isn’t it great? Are you having a wonderful time?”.

Not unlike a teenage girl with low self-esteem, Kiwis are always seeking out compliments about their country. It is thought this personality disorder is a common symptom among all colonial countries, but is particularly prevalent in New Zealand – the youngest and smallest of the group of countries colonised in the last 500 years (which includes Australia, Canada, USA etc).

A country of immigrants, the need for Positive Identity Reinforcement is a result of the long and uncertain process that preceeds the desicion to pack up everything and seek out a better life on the other side of the world. Forever plagued by the nagging worry that one might have made the wrong choice, immigrants to NZ seek constant reassurance that their adopted home is totally awesome, and that leaving their cold/overcrowded/racially-troubled motherland was definitely the right thing to do.

This trait is passed down through the generations, until it disperses and is replaced by the sort of blind, flag-waving, cock-suredness evident in Australia or USA. NZ has a way to go before reaching this state of harmonius equilibrium.

A word of note: If travelling New Zealand, do not, under any circumstances, answer a question such as ‘Isn’t it great’, with something like ‘Actually it’s a bit quiet, out of the way, and not as sunny as Australia’. Kiwis have not yet developed either a robust sense of irony, or cast-iron self belief, and you may bring about a deep period of depression in the person asking the question, or, at the very least, a firm fist in the face.