Above is a ridiculous thing. It isn’t new news by any means but in New Zealand is a company called Sanitarium who make products called Weetbix and Marmite. In the UK is a company who make Weetabix and another who make Marmite (I wouldn’t be surprised if the UK products are older but I’m not sure). These products are not the same by content but do equate to a wheat-based biscuit cereal and a yeast extract spread.
Why am I telling you this? Because Sanitarium feel so threatened by these two big UK brands that they won’t allow Weetabix to be sold while clearly named on the packet…and in the spirit of free market economics, the NZ system allows them to disallow the sale of a brand which clearly looks and sounds different (Weetbix are sold in a big blue box and are square in shape). Absurd! Unilever, who own Marmite in the UK, retail their product as “Our Mate” here instead. Somebody somewhere must think consumers are stupid.
It makes me a little suspicious of Sanitarium as a brand when they behave in such anti-competitive, odd ways…although I can’t say I have issues with their products. They even tried to take a small UK importer to court over it. Madness.
You may be curious which brands I prefer…well the UK ones (especially the Marmite…no other brand comes close)…but then I grew up with them so I guess my palate is adjusted to them. 🙂
Whose job is it anyway? Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com
A little while back, I decided I’d conduct a sort of experiment. It sometimes occurs to me that I seem to spend far more time trying to maintain contact with friends and family than is true of the reverse. In all honesty, I don’t think this was any different before I moved to New Zealand from the UK but you had the buffer of seeing people occasionally there.
What was my experiment, I hear you ask? Well, I thought I’d not instigate contact with anyone for a month and see if anyone contacted me, knowing full well that I might not like the result.
And the upshot…I was actually pleasantly surprised. I think the final count was seven contacts (including one family member). Now, put that into perspective with the number of channels which could be utilised by people…Wordpress, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype, Text, Telephone, Email, Letter (to name a few)…hmmm…maybe seven isn’t too great after all.
Did I learn anything from this experiment? On reflection, not really, but it does reinforce the fact that friendship should be a two-way street and that I shouldn’t be afraid to not be sending messages that often because true friends will remain friends whatever happens. And family won’t change behaviours whatever you say or do… 🙂
I recently met a lady on a boat excursion. Not entirely unusual you may think, why tell me about it?
This lady told me about how she comes to New Zealand (from the UK) almost every year because her daughter lives here with a kiwi husband. Over the years she has made a number of friends here and comes to visit them as well as family. She’d done the boat trip on numerous occasions as it happened.
Still not that remarkable?
OK, she is 81 years old, travels by herself and actually told me how lucky she feels that her daughter lives here so she has the reason to visit so often because she loves it so much. How fantastic is that? To reflect so positively on what life deals you is quite something I feel…perhaps I and others can learn from such an encounter…may we all seek out new adventures and experiences in life whatever our age.
It proves that it’s always worth chatting to a stranger every so often because it can be very enriching…although of course you should perhaps always take the words of a stranger with a little pinch of salt as you don’t really know if they speak the truth, though why lie?
Here is a photo…what do you call them?
The Kiwis call them Jandals (a shortening of Japanese Sandals)
The British call them Flip Flops (I assume because of the sound they make while walking in them)
The Australians call them Thongs (which in Britain is a type of skimpy underwear, why do they get called this Down Under?)
Isn’t language peculiar at times? 😄
It’s a little bit behind the times now as the NZ election was in September but I thought I’d talk politics (hopefully without the whole subject being a big turn-off for you).
This year was the first time I’ve been able to vote here in NZ since becoming a permanent resident. Indeed, by law you have to enrol to vote but you don’t actually have to vote (seems bizarre eh?)…although I doubt anyone polices this…it is NZ after all!
A little factoid for you is that NZ was the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893. Why on earth it took so long to do things like that is anyone’s guess.
The voting system requires you to cast two votes on the day, one for a party you wish to govern and one for your local MP. The number of seats a party receives in parliament relates to the proportion of votes received counted up across the nation from the party votes cast, with the people receiving those seats being taken from a prioritised list which each party publishes. Your local MP will get their seat first though, if elected. In my area I could choose from 16 parties but only 6 local candidates.
Sounds a bit weird right?
They have what they call a “wasted vote” statistic linked to those votes people cast for parties who don’t receive enough votes to win a seat (you need 5% of the party vote for a seat or to win a local area seat)…but then this seems less than would be wasted in the UK where if you vote against a long-held party seat and your candidate doesn’t win in that area, you vote is largely meaningless.
The outcome in NZ had the strange situation where the ruling National party didn’t have enough seats to form a majority government, so the NZ First party entered into coalition talks with them and also with Labour and the Green party (the latter two already stating they would govern together but not having enough seats either). NZ First then in essence decided who won depending on who gave them most of what they wanted (Labour/Green it was). This was made more comical by the fact that the NZ First leader couldn’t even win his own seat and basked in the grand-standing limelight while everyone sucked up to him. Pathetic. It was a bit like the public voting on X Factor and then Simon Cowell’s personal assistant (i.e. someone arbitrarily unimportant) just deciding who he/she wants to win afterwards…in other words, a farce.
In summary, politics is messed up whichever way you slice it, and it’s a shame that it doesn’t attract altruistic and honourable people to the career. Someone worth voting for. Democracy isn’t perfect, but I suppose it seems better than the alternatives.
One upshot of having such a wonderful time in the UK is that it inevitably raises questions about the future. I will never regret the decision to move to New Zealand because it has given so many wonderful experiences which I would never otherwise have had but there is suddenly a pull on yourself from a number of sources when you return home for the first time.
There is the emotional pull of missing friends and family (though of course moving somewhere based on someone else being there would most likely be a huge mistake in the making), a cultural pull of missing certain things from your homeland, a pull from the countryside (not really from the cities!) and a pull of missing the British humour and the feeling that everyone generally understands you. All of these things (plus a good few others) seem to club together to raise doubts, especially when so many good feelings are crammed into a euphoric, short timespan.
However, leaving a booming economy, vibrant multicultural environment, conservation experiences and the wonderful countryside of NZ would be tough in its own right. It takes a long time to establish yourself in a new place and maybe a true regret would be to throw in the towel after just a few years and go back to something which I left behind for good reasons in the past. Add to that the upshot of Brexit (plus the divisive ignorance it has given rise to in the British culture), its potentially negative impact on the economic future of the UK and you begin to think that a wait-and-see approach is much more sensible. It seems more sensible to think about moving forwards instead of moving backwards.
The key question seems to be this…what kind of life do you want? It is also the hardest to answer. One thing has become clear, sometimes you have to change yourself and not just the place you live, because if you move to a new place, you will eventually revert to the same basic routine.
Has anyone had similar doubts or experiences themselves that they would like to share?