I Think I’m Moving To New Zealand

In the wake of the mass murder of Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, I have seen the leadership and citizenry of that country exhibit what I used to believe were American characteristics of goodheartedness and solidarity.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response was nothing short of inspiring. And then I came across this Time Magazine report:

Women across New Zealand are wearing headscarves in a show of support for the Muslim community, one week after 50 people were shot dead in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Women and children have posted pictures of themselves wearing headscarves on social media Friday, with words denouncing last week’s violence and expressing solidarity with victims of the shooting. “I stand with our Muslim community today and against hate and violence of any kind,” one Twitter user wrote.

What a contrast with our blathering, self-besotted President and his white supremicist  supporters, who have made it abundantly clear that they view Muslims–and for that matter, anyone with dark skin tones or religious views other than fundamentalist Christianity–as dangerous, illegitimate and even less than human.

While Trump supporters are chanting “build the wall,” which even they must know is an entirely symbolic edifice meant to emphasize our country’s disdain–if not hatred–for those they consider “other,” New Zealand women were engaged in an equally symbolic gesture of goodwill:

Auckland physician Thaya Ashman told Reuters she thought up the “Headscarf For Harmony” event after seeing a Muslim woman on the news say she was too afraid to go outside wearing a hijab. “I wanted to say: We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you,” she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore a black headscarf during her meeting with members of the Muslim community–a gesture of respect that I cannot imagine being copied by anyone in the Trump administration.

I’ve never been to New Zealand. I’ve seen photos, including those posted by my oldest granddaughter, who recently vacationed there, and the landscape is magnificent. A friend who is a healthcare scholar tells me the country has an excellent national health system. I’ve heard the weather is wonderful too.

But the country’s climate of goodwill and civility–demonstrated in the wake of this tragedy– is the most attractive feature of all.

If I were younger….


  1. I find it especially saddening that this act of terrorism happened in a city named, Christchurch. Nothing is further from the teachings of Christ or the true meaning of Christianity.

  2. I too would like to run away to a land that appears to be living the ideals I hold dear. Alas, even if I could make such a move, I would face other problems, other challenges, other disappointments. I know this as surly as I know that we are all on this same ship together, and we each need to clean up our own cabin first before abandoning the deck we were assigned.

  3. It is heartwarming to see a nation react to terror with grace and civility. They also reacted with new laws outlawing the ownership of assault weapons by individuals. Isn’t it good to know that our “thoughts and prayers” can be accompanied by action? If only we had the guts to do something like that, we might not have to dream of living in New Zealand.

  4. We are not the best country in the world anymore. We are the laughing stock of humans around the globe. I admire everything that country has done since the massacre. I’d move there in a heartbeat too.

  5. I’ve fantasized about moving to New Zealand for years – even have a book about the logistics of it sitting in my bookcase – the response to this incident has certainly made the urge even stronger.

    Oh, to be a more adventurous person!

  6. Sheila; please ask your healthcare scholar friend her opinion about this situation. A few weeks ago my daughter-in-law had to have a breast biopsy; he co-pay is over $5,000 of the more than $8,000 full cost for the test. Her family health care plan is almost $600 monthly with an almost $10,000 annual deductible; this is the only health care offered through the Indianapolis Catholic Diocese, she works as a janitor at a Catholic school and church. Fortunately the results were negative but this is the current reality of out-of-pocket costs to working Americans. Her coverage has nothing to do with the ACA; it has always been outrageous. She wasn’t even allowed to submit an application to ACA due to the rules of Indiana’s health care system which offered her a plan costing 3 times the monthly premium and double the annual deductible 3 months past the sign-up date leaving her with no health care for 2014. She was fined for not having insurance coverage which was taken out of her IRS refund.

  7. Theresa,

    If you could take a walk along the beach in Hokitika, on the west coast of South Island, your worries would vanish in a heartbeat. If you paddled a kayak through the magnificent splendor of Doubtful Sound, you may never want to go anywhere else.

    New Zealand is a wholly magnificent place where the people are as the article describes. You can tell this is so before they realize you’re just visiting. Sadly for us wannabe ex-patriots, NZ has tightened their immigration procedures and requirements. If you have a million bucks and/or a needed skill, they’ll accept you after a rigorous process. They get it that there are so many disaffected Americans “yearning to breath free”. NZ, like Canada, would be more open except for the overwhelming impact on their infrastructure. They didn’t create their health care system for a flood of self-absorbed Americans, but if you could get through the process, you’d have found what we idealists have longed for ever since 1981.

    HOWEVER, there are only about 200 miles of actual freeway in NZ. The rest of the main “highways” are white-knuckle snakes over hill, dale and mountain. They show someone used to driving on the right side of the road why drinking and driving is simply out of the question.
    One of the most scenic drives is up the west coast of South Island from Franz Josef Glacier, through Hokitika (Where you MUST stop and see) and up to the pancake rocks. Enjoy.

  8. Check out the history of NZ and their treatment of the Maori. Maybe they are acting out of some guilt.

  9. Vernon,

    I am sure that new Zealand is a wonderful place. And I have traveled some of it via Google maps. Frankly, I hope that dissatisfied residents of other countries work on their own problems and leave that beautiful island alone so that it can continue to shine as an example to all of what we should be aspiring to.

  10. There is an old saying: He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. However, as the great heavyweight champion Joe Louis said, They can run but they cannot hide.

    I will take Joe Louis’ advice. So, even if I could, I would not runaway to New Zealand or Canada, or some other promised Nirvana. My duty is to remain here and accomplish what I can to bring about Progressive policies, even in the face of extreme resistance, ignorance or willful ignorance.

  11. I said that if Trump won I was emigrating to either Canada or New Zealand. I didn’t because, among other things, my daughter persuaded me to stay and fight. To give you some idea of the warmth of those kiwis, when my now-deceased wife and I visited New Zealand last century and were dining out in Wellington prior to flying down to the South Island, a couple next to ours engaged us in conversation and it wound up that they invited us to dinner in their home the night following. They could not have been more gracious.

    I preferred Christchurch over either Wellington or Auckland as a tourist, and the natural beauty of the South Island is something to behold, as Vern suggests. It’s a shame that Christchurch some years ago was hit with a devastating earthquake – and now this slaughter of Muslims. The first could not be prevented, but the second one could have been prevented with less hatred of other humans and more attitudes like that of our Wellington hosts.

  12. Alas, it appears that the human race is diverse in every respect and pretty evenly distributed geographically in terms of good and evil and sometimes each and even both. That’s the raw material that government has to work with. I personally doubt if that raw material has changed much over history but do suspect that fake news and extremist propaganda over ubiquitous entertainment media has changed the distribution curve towards bi-polar. You know, like the mental illness.

    Over my life, most of the time anyway, the world regarded the US with a similar respect now being accorded the Kiwis. We earned it then, if not for our actual culture for our efforts to continuously improve; our shifting of the good and evil distribution towards the good. Not true today. Can it be tomorrow? I still think so and the factor which is the most essential in that transition is Democrat Party unity. Doesn’t seem like a very substantial foundation upon which to build our hopes, does it.

  13. ML,

    Yes, what you say is true. I’m too old to emigrate, so what’s left of my mind will be dedicated to destroy the Republican party so that we can feed our homeless, educate our children, deal with our immigrants in non-savage ways and ensure equity in our society – at least as far as the capitalists will allow.

    Maybe if more people have more money to spend, they will buy more stuff. Gosh, even a profit-addled capitalist or cost accountant could see that more sales equals more profits. So, why deny people a living wage? Makes no sense. But then, neither does unregulated, free-market capitalism without constraints.

    I’m not going anywhere, so we join hands is working for a political and social renaissance. Read my books. They’re available on Amazon, then read the bibliography included.

  14. Thank you Sheila,

    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s reaction to the tragedy in Christchurch is a wonderful tutorial for any national leader as to how to act in times of national tragedy but also every day. The Kiwis have always been a remarkable people and she really showed that.
    I had not really thought about Christchurch, New Zealand for a long time until this dreadful event occurred there.

    Years ago, now well over 40 years ago, as a very young sailor I volunteered for what was known then as Operation Deep Freeze. Operation Deep Freeze was the American scientific operation on the ice of Antarctica, principally at a place called McMurdo Sound. The main operating base for this effort was, you guessed it, Christchurch, New Zealand, as it very likely still is.

    Having grown up reading National Geographic’s and having always been fascinated by Antarctica and the various expeditions there, I was really hoping that I would make the cut and be assigned to a naval aviation squadron then known as VXE-6, which stands for Antarctic Development Squadrons Six. Unfortunately my great plans were dashed when I was not selected, reportedly missing the cut by only two slots, and ending up at Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Virginia instead working with the fine group of folks that I came to know that maintained and flew the Presidential Helicopter, Marine One, back then.

    One of the many things that was attractive about Operation Deep Freeze to me beyond the sense of adventure that it obviously brought to a very young man raised in Indianapolis Indiana, was that if I had wintered over at McMurdo Sound under the ice I would’ve received 60 days of un-accrued leave with my starting place being Christchurch, New Zealand. I knew about the geography and history of that island country and its people and was looking forward to exploring it. I would have been about as far away from home as I could at the time visualized.

    To be reminded of all this as a result of this unbelievable tragedy was very bittersweet to me when I saw the video of Prime Minister Ardern speaking to her nation while wearing a headscarf in solidarity with the victims and families that were affected by this egregious act. I was very, very impressed by her actions and the symbolism of it. This is the mark of a true national leader, something that for over 2 ½ years we have not experienced which has been a serious level gut punch for all of us who have yet to drink the Kool Aid and the rest of the world.

    So Sheila, if you can get a package deal together to move a bunch of us to Christchurch, New Zealand please keep me in mind. I’ve always admired the Kiwis and their unique take on things and I’m sure we could all benefit from the lowering of our collective blood pressures by living in such a peaceful minded country.

  15. Not only was the outpouring of support heart warming, the legislative action to ban assault rifles was an amazing kind of common sense response lacking here in the US. Much more effective than thoughts and prayers.

  16. New Zealand should hope no one discovers oil, uranium, or any other coveted resource anywhere near them. When it happens, all will change.

  17. World famous soprano, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is of Maori ancestry from New Zealand . I would go there just to hear her sing. Fortunately some of her repertoire if available on You
    Tube. Enjoy!

  18. JoAnn:
    Christchurch was founded 920 years ago. Has it been sitting there for a millennium waiting to highlight an irony that only points out that its namesake didn’t show up when he was most needed? The people of New Zealand are to be commended for their solidarity in confronting this horrific event. They should receive a Nobel Prize for actually doing something about it by passing new gun laws. But to think that some kind of ghostly redeemer is supposed to show up for these things when one never has always seems like a form of self-delusion. To me that feels like spiking the ball in the end zone and then crossing yourself because Jesus obviously likes your team better than your opponents. Can anyone name any event in the history of mankind where any spiritual intervention improved the situation? What makes things better is the determination of caring adults that they won’t give in to the most awful crimes that humans are capable of. Man’s ability to deal with this kind of tragedy results from the nobility of his nature, and not from any omnipotent being who seems to throw in the towel every time he is confronted by evil.

    Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and I don’t question yours, but I can’t help thinking about what kind of world this might be if the last 2000 years had been spent advancing the cause of science instead of the 100% ineffective cause of a philosophy that gives power to spiritual overlords (consider their crimes – consider their impotence). Think a bit about what those overlords have done with that power, and what they might have done but elected not to, and you may see it in a different light.

    I yield to religion’s superiority in its ability to memorialize suffering. A second worthwhile skill that is not readily available to the non-religious does not occur to me.

  19. I’ve been to NZ and loved it. Unfortunately, they have criteria for immigration that are very hard to meet, especially if you are retired.

  20. I share your desire to live in a place like New Zealand where the citizens appear to have the values we once considered to be American values. However, our chldren and grandchildren need all of us to stay here and fight to undo the damage that has been done. Our goal should be not to leave, but to make our country more like New Zealand.

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