There’s long been a strange spiritual connection between the people of Ireland and our far-flung friends of New Zealand. In fact, one-in-six Kiwi’s claim Irish lineage and despite us being over 18,500km away from each other the relationship has never felt that distance.
Probably the most surprising aspect of the news, announced by Michael D as he starts his state visit to New Zealand, is that Ireland didn’t have an Embassy in New Zealand yet! It’s rather bizarre that an Embassy in Wellington/Auckland nor Dublin currently exist but a testament to the close nature of each state that this is such a surprise.
Every Irish traveller worth his/her salt will have been aided by at least one Irish Embassy or consulate while abroad at one point in time so this is great news for the Irish community in the Land of The Long Cloud and those looking to make it their home in 2018.
It got us thinking; What makes Ireland and New Zealand such good mates? Unsurprisingly, weather banter is crucial…
Having ‘great drying in that weather’ or it looking ‘like rain Ted’ is just as likely in New Zealand as it is back in Ireland. In fact, just like home the further west you go, the wetter it tends to get.
New Zealand’s landscape is basically Ireland’s, but on steroids that enhance scale and beauty. We have the Cliffs of Moher, they have Queenstown. We have Glendalough, they have Lake Wanaka. We have Glenroe, they have Lord of the Rings. You get the trend.
14 years separate our nations, which in country terms means we basically shared most classes together in school. A long, long time has passed since but both nation’s fought and gained independence from the same ‘foe’.
Both nation’s have remarkably similar sized populations, even though the Kiwi’s back garden of 264sq km is over four times bigger than Ireland’s. They have a couple of hundred thousand more members but when you’re talking about 4.7m people, that’s the difference between having that uncle which arrives once a decade who no one knows, or not.
It’s quite difficult to find two nations are this size that punch further above their weight on the international sporting stage than Ireland and New Zealand. Sure, New Zealand play Rugby 2.0 and own that particular game but we’re not exactly bad! We’ve got Conor McGregor, they’ve got Mark Hunt. We’ve got Padraig Harrington, they’ve got Michael Campbell.
When we do battle, it’s always a thrilling affair built on respect too (Tana Umaga spear tackles aside). We also appreciate their backing of Ireland’s 2023 RWC bid.
On the flipside, we’re rubbish in the Olympics, so are they!
Fun Fact: New Zealand were the only team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup not to lose (3 draws and knocked out).
Aside from the global ‘brain fart’ that was a global economic crash back in 2008, both nation’s have driven otherwise strong economic growth over the last 20 years. It must be said too that New Zealand came out of it with scratches and bruises compared to our internal bleeding and a broken pelvis.
Since then, both economies are notable ‘bounce backers’ in the global landscape. New Zealand forecasting 3.8% growth in 2019, a figure very similar to ourselves. Which at least means we have comparative levels of shooting in the dark!
Lovers, not Fighters
It will not surprise you to learn that one of main reasons neither of us are military superpowers is the simple fact that it’s not where our money goes. According to Aneki.com, Ireland’s military spend as a % of GDP is 0.5%, while New Zealand’s is 1.13%.
Instead of bickering, we tend to get on better with our better halves too, Ireland having the lowest divorce rate in the EU while New Zealand’s divorce rate is significantly dropping. Hug it out guys!
Getting a Visa To Stay For A While Is Easy
Both nations love visitors from the other and it’s reflected in the ease at which Irish can obtain Working Holiday Visas to New Zealand and vice versa.
As far as we can work out, the mathematical equation for soundness involves Irish roots + New Zealand travel experience or vice versa.