Editorial: An open letter to Australia

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

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OPINION: Dear Australia,

We like you, we really do. You're our brother in arms and we've gone into battle beside you, staring down impossible odds. When there's a job to do, the spirit of the Anzacs rises on both sides of the Tassie and that's never going to change. It's you and us against the world, mate, and stuff the starchy collars.

But come lunchtime, sport, and it's game on.

We enjoy giving you a decent hiding on the footie paddock and we had the best laugh ever when you stole one of our coaches, thinking a Kiwi was going to teach the Aussies how to beat the All Blacks. (The cheque's in the mail, by the way, Robbie).

You've got to keep it in perspective. We're better at rugby and we've never really minded that you're way better at cricket than we are. When Hadlee and Bond stuck the new ball right up your visor a couple of times, we took that straight to the pool room because we knew it wasn't going to happen every day. But you know what? You gave yourself away when you rolled the ball at Brian McKechnie at the MCG in 1981 when he didn't have a dog's show of hitting a six off the last ball to win that match.

It's that lack of self-belief when you've got victory in your sights that gives you away. For a big country sometimes you think really small. Your post-colonial insecurities are showing and your psyche has more cracks in it than a test strip at the Waca. You're always trying to cover them up by talking yourself up, or talking down the opposition, or threatening to break their arms with the next delivery.

We understand that you are essentially a nation of convicts and that pilfering is second nature to you. And we know that a win's a win and you take 'em when you can get 'em.

But, comes a time, mate, when it's just got to be said: Playtime's over. Stop stealing our stuff.

You've had a crack at our pav. You claimed Phar Lap. You poached Split Enz and the brains behind Crowded House. Pineapple lumps, John Clarke, Kimbra and Weet-Bix. All ours. Dragon and jandals. Ours, too, claimed by you.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Hmm, we're not unreasonable, we'll give you that one. Ditto Russell Crowe. If he doesn't want to be one of us he can be one of you. Martin's test record was way better, anyway.

But, mate, hands off our kiwi. You've got your own fluffy toys. Leave ours alone.

Word has reached us that researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide have been crawling under rocks at beautiful St Bathans just up the road looking for evidence that our kiwi is actually descended from one of your emus and that the little blighter flew over here 20 million years ago.

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Stone the crows, the lengths you'll go to to rip us off.

The fossil your fellas found is from the early Miocene period, they reckon, and is about a third of the size of the modern kiwi. Its DNA suggests it was related to the emu, not our moa, and that it was capable of flight. Therefore, they reckon, it must have flown across the ditch to New Zealand. Well, that's perfectly understandable. Which little critter wouldn't want to fly out of the desert to find a greener place to live in?

Personally, we're not too worried by any of this. No matter where it came from, the kiwi's been here longer than you or I, and it's ours. We like it so much we decided to name ourselves after it.

And we Kiwis are a charitable bunch. We notice that the bloke who discovered the fossil is one of our castoffs, an expat by the name of Dr Trevor Worthy. Just to show you there are no hard feelings, we'll let you keep him, too.

How's that, digger?

- The Southland Times

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