Best quotes? Cats, sweat and Aaron Gilmore

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 11:48 09/12/2013

2013 quote of the year

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From Aaron Gilmore's "dickhead" quote to Maurice Williamson's "big gay rainbow" Massey University's quote of the year shortlist is a catalogue of some of the most memorable one-liners of 2013.

Others to feature on the list were Lorde, Eleanor Catton, Kim Dotcom and John Key.

Some the best quotes were comments on New Zealand society, including author James McNeish's: "In New Zealand nobody takes you seriously unless you make them yawn."

Massey University speech-writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan said singer-songwriter Lorde's "I'm not a spreadsheet with hair" was powerful because it helped dispel the myth that it's okay to judge people by their monetary value, rather than by their unique abilities.

"I think this is a myth many people would love to see dispelled," she said.

Politicians featured prominently again for the award now in its third year, with seven different lines from Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson's speech on gay marriage nominated.

"They were all great quotes and it was difficult to choose between them," Kavan said.

"In the end we chose the gay rainbow quote because the speech became known as the gay rainbow speech."

Quotes from politicians tend to dominate the list because they get a lot of publicity, she said.

"With some of the quotes, especially the ones in which Kim Dotcom and Winston Peters question the prime minister, there is also an element of pleasure at seeing someone in a superior position questioned."

Kavan and her judging panel narrowed down several dozen entries nominated throughout the year by Massey students and the general public to a top 10.

Context and memorability were important judging criteria, Kavan said.

"Memorability is paramount," she said.

"The gay rainbow line with its colourful imagery is a good example of this. However, many of the quotes appealed for different reasons.

"The GCSB one stood out because it was funny and most people can relate to having a frustrating experience with a government department.

"We were also keen to get quotes that were relatively spontaneous, such as Winston Peters' 'What didn't he know and when didn't he know it?'.

"Another criterion was context.

"We chose 'He's an extraordinarily lucky cat' because Moomoo's story [the cat survived being shot in the head with a crossbow bolt] made international headlines and even the word 'extraordinarily' seemed like an understatement."

To vote for the 2013 Quote of the Year, visit Massey University's Facebook page.

Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, December 19, with the winner announced on December 20.

THE SHORTLISTED FINALISTS FOR THE 2013 NEW ZEALAND QUOTE OF THE YEAR ARE:

* "If there was a dickhead that night, it was me" - then-MP Aaron Gilmore reflecting on how he got intoxicated and called a waiter a "Dickhead" at the Heritage Hotel in Hanmer Springs.

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* "Why are you going red, prime minister?" - Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom at the parliamentary inquiry into the GCSB spying on New Zealand residents.

"I'm not, why are you sweating?" - John Key's reply.

* "The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you" - Origin unknown but repeated on social media.

* "Male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel" - Man Booker prize winning novelist, New Zealand's Eleanor Catton.

* "I'm not a spreadsheet with hair" - Auckland singer/songwriter Lorde.

* "What didn't he know and when didn't he know it?" - NZ First leader Winston Peters querying Key's knowledge of the Parliamentary Service's actions.

* "In New Zealand nobody takes you seriously unless you can make them yawn" - author James McNeish at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

* "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer" - Economist Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go campaign website.

* "He's an extraordinarily lucky cat" - Massey University veterinary surgeon Dr Jonathan Bray after removing a crossbow bolt from the head of Wainuiomata cat Moomoo.

* "One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate" - Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson in his speech to Parliament supporting the gay marriage law.

- Stuff

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