Post-War New Zealanders ~ Not An Intellectual People
[ Anyone who ponders the origins of our collective cultural psyche might find this of interest. No offense intended.
h / t : Chris ]
Aspects of New Zealand culture were not a feature on the 1953 royal tour.
[ The Royal Yacht ~ The S.S. Gothic … … yes, it really was called that. ]
The Queen saw no local plays or films, visited no galleries, read no New Zealand novels.
In 1953 most New Zealanders did not think of themselves as a highly cultured people.
Not surprisingly, intellectuals, feeling ignored and isolated,
painted a less positive view of their fellow nationals.
Appalled at the suppression of civil liberties in the 1951 waterfront industrial dispute,
writer Bill Pearson left the country to pen a fierce portrait of New Zealanders as ‘fretful sleepers’,
a people who were puritanical and repressive,
given over to small-town prejudices and a hypocritical concern for respectability. 3
Others, such as Robert Chapman and Phoebe Meikle,
attacked the separation of gender roles;
and novelists such as Janet Frame, Ian Cross and Sylvia Ashton-Warner
presented an unhappy picture of a society where creative individuals were repressed and race relations poor.
Foreign commentators too began to criticise New Zealanders.
[ … ay ? ]
In The fern and the tiki (1960) a visiting American, David Ausubel,
argued that New Zealanders suffered from an authoritarian education
which created a repressed hostility beneath their calm exterior.
His analysis was not well received.