The 10 shortlisted finalists in Massey’s annual Quote of the Year competition have been chosen and are open to public vote:
Dr Heather Kavan, Massey’s speech writing specialist, started the competition three years ago because she found her speech-writing students had trouble identifying memorable lines.
. . . “The quotes I knew were too old for the students. Edmund Hilary’s “We knocked the bastard off” was said in 1953. Muldoon’s one-liner about Kiwis going to Australia “raising the IQ of both countries” and Lange’s “I can smell the uranium on your breath” quip were both said in the 1980s.
“I thought there must be some good contemporary New Zealand quotes, but no-one is collecting them.”
Dr 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.
She describes the judging criteria: “Memorability is paramount. 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 made international headlines and even the word ‘extraordinarily’ seemed like an understatement.” . . .
The shortlisted quotes are:
• If there was a dickhead that night, it was me – MP Aaron Gilmore reflecting on how he got intoxicated and called a waiter a ‘Dickhead’ at the Heritage Hotel in Hamner Springs.
• Why are you going red, Prime Minister? – Kim Dotcom at the Parliamentary enquiry into the GCSB spying on New Zealand residents.
I’m not, why are you sweating? – Key’s reply to Kim Dotcom.
• The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you – Unknown origin 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? – Winston Peters querying John 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 – 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.
Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday December 19, with the winner announced on December 20.