Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Just drove up New North Road through Mt Albert in the dark and was reminded yet again how awful New Zealand drivers can be. Many complain about 'Asian drivers', but every day I encounter some non-Asian dude/dudette confident in the belief that you only indicate when you're turning into another street. A lane change doesn't warrant the effort to move your right hand a few centimetres. Click click click. Learn to love that sound.

By the way, the 5-year census is upon us and the ethnicity category is causing confusion again. First I thought a little ironically that I would tick the 'New Zealand European' category since I'm British as well as being a New Zealander. Britain is, after all, part of Europe. I've probably got more experience of living in Europe than many New Zealanders who will tick this category. But I decided not to be a smart Alec even though I'd have loved to make the point questioning the conflation of 'European' and white. I'll leave that category for New Zealand white folks who dream about Europe or who are Kiwi or antipodean enough to not give a toss about belonging to Europe or Europeanness. I wonder how many white South Africans who have settled in New Zealand have called themselves New Zealand Europeans. Ethnicity seems to fluctuate between the colonial category of racialist biology and the notion of national origin. I saw that 'Indian' was an ethnic designation on the form. But in many news reports Muslims are now classed as an ethnic group. So ethnicity can be organized by religion which is cultural, though not nationally or racially defined. In the end, like many others, I just checked 'Other' and added: British Pakistani. I wasn't stupid enough to just write 'New Zealander' as some of the right-wing dumbo politicos suggested earlier this week in the media. This question in the census is, after all, designed to find out how the body politic of New Zealand has changed. It's trying to gauge how long it may take for the whites to be outnumbered, for that moment some Kiwis will look around and realize that New Zealand's gone dusky.

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