It’s been a rough few months for Australia and New Zealand.
Australia has been plagued by storms and flooding over the summer and New Zealand has endured repeat earthquakes and tremors since September including the horrific one today in Christchurch.
In June 2010, New Zealand topped the Global Peace Index as the safest in the world, as reported here by Asian Correspondent.
This was largely due to New Zealand’s good relationships with its neighbours, stable democracy and I would also add its lack of animal and population dangers.
There is nothing that seems to bite or sting in New Zealand, including its friendly people who remain one of the nation’s best assets. Welcoming, hard-working, innovative and fun loving they are really Australia’s best loved neighbours despite open rivalry on the sporting field and in other sectors.
While the nation’s high country and some changeable weather can be problematic, the goodwill in the population seems to override all these other factors.
New Zealand hasn’t had the natural disasters of other Pacific or Asian nations, say like the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, despite high seismic activity and major fault lines running through the country. But with a 6.3-magnitude earthquake today, the second since September 2010 when a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, that “safe” tag may well change.
And in Australia we often describe our nation as the “lucky country”. Not necessarily because of our lack of dangers (our wild animals and harsh environment are well documented), but because of “natural resources, weather, history, distance from problems elsewhere in the world, and other sorts of prosperity” (to quote Wikipedia).
While the phrase was actually originally used in a different context, it certainly has stuck.
But are people likely to be turned off from coming to this part of the world? Have we lost our “safe” and “lucky” tags completely?
Tourism Queensland has been working over time to reclaim visitors since the disastrous summer and change a perception this is a dangerous place to travel. Will New Zealand now have to do the same?
In an effort to gather some international perspective, I welcome reader’s comments. What do you think about coming downunder given these disasters?