I suppose I should not at all be surprised by the fact that in New Zealand people are acutely aware of the affairs of the UK. Indeed I might go so far as to say that while you often do feel as if you are at the final frontier, you can also at times have the sensation that you are closer to England than you ever were when home in Eire.
The reason I say this is that in all sorts of conversations to date, be they with voluntary firemen, school teachers, barmen or of course farmers, they have all made direct reference to their professional counterparts in England and shown a very well informed knowledge of the overseas work practises. I put this down not only to their being a former colony of Great Britain and a continued member of the Common Wealth but also due to the fact that so many Britons and Scots have arrived out here since the early eighteen hundreds. In fact according to a report published here recently, New Zealand is currently the sixth most common destination of the 2000 Britons who immigrate from their homeland each week .
Futhermore when in Christchurch, second city of the south island, one would be forgiven for momentarily forgetting that one is not in a large English town that has recently undergone some fashionable urban renewal. It is this very same Englishness that is also evident and I dare say most apparent in the Kiwi media. Here it is not at all uncommon for the main pages of the south island newspaper to be almost completely dedicated to the affairs of the UK while English sport and politics will never go without a generous mention on the National TV news.
At the same time however there is ironically no end to my hearing the POMES (prisoners of mother England) being cruelly slagged off, although perhaps this is nothing to judge by as it may be like in Spain and Argentina where many believe that "England bashing" is the key to an Irish Friendship.