Listen up and loosen up New Zealand.
It’s time to stop whinging about the Rugby World Cup.
You don’t have to understand or even enjoy the sport because it’s not just about the games.
It’s a party, we’re the hosts, we’ve invited visitors, and good manners require us to make them welcome.
We should be doing everything we can to ensure they have a good time and how can we do that if we’re not having a good time too?
Lots of people and communities are doing their best in spite of the doomsayers.
A wee cafe in Riverton has a notice on its wall inviting locals to get into the spirit for the Scottish visitors they’re expecting when Colac Bay hosts its first rugby international against Scotland supporters.
Oamaru is hosting a Golden Oldies tournament. It opens with the Bog Rock Music Fest featuring The Feelers, The Beat Girls, X Factor, The Black Velvet Band and the Winner of The Classic Hits Idol Competition.
The Real New Zealand Festival has dozens of other events that celebrate our art, culture, food and wine, history, sport and everything else we love about our country.
The sponsors have mucked up but that’s no excuse for the rest of us to be negative.
Still not convinced? Then read how Half Pie learned to stop worrying and enjoy the RWC.
When you’ve done that, take a deep breath, accept it’s our party and it will be so much better if we all lighten up and enjoy it.
Katherine Mansfield said it so much better than I could: It was one of those days, so clear, so still, so silent you almost feel the earth itself has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty.
I’m not sure if I’ve got that word perfect, though I ought to have because it’s on a Marg Hamilton painting which hangs on our living room wall. But that’s at home while I’m in Wanaka and in awe of the scenery which brought the quote to mind.
We’ve had not one but two of those days. Yesterday we drove tup the Waitaki Valley and through the Lindis Pass, which no matter its mood is beautiful.
In Wanaka we called on friends whose living room window frames the view straight up the lake to the mountains, scenery so stunning it makes you wonder why you’d ever bother to go anywhere else.
Today we left Wanaka by starlight to go to Southland. Our route took us down via Alexandra to Ettrick then south through West Otago to Gore. The views there may not be as awe inspiring as the ones round Wanaka, but there is beauty in those gently rolling, bright green paddocks.
We did a whistle-stop tour of farms at Otahutit, Riverton and Dipton before turning north again up SH6 which follows Lake Wakatipu from Kingston to Frankton. We were treated to many more Mansfield moments as the late afternoon sun spot-lit snow clad hills and reflected them back on the water.
Tussocks poked cheeky heads through the snow as we climbed up the Crown Range then down through the Cardrona Valley and back to Wanaka to marvel again at the breathtaking combination of mountains, snow and lake in the sunset.
Two of those days, and the clear, starry sky is promising a third tomorrow.