Freelance writer – creative – media-maker
Every country has its own bevy of home-grown celebrities, but for some reason, the concept of ‘celebrity-fever’ seems that much more bizarre in New Zealand. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bic Runga, Brooke Fraser and Scribe just as much as the next Kiwi, but are they famous? Well, world-famous in NZ perhaps.
Maybe it’s just me, but my idea of the ‘celebrity idol’ was someone held up on a pedestal, someone who seemed unapproachable or unattainable. But every time I return to Auckland, I manage to bump into just about everyone on television at that given moment. I’m sorry, but that’s just not right.
Today for instance, whilst loitering around St. Luke’s Shopping Centre with my mother, I passed Britta from the TV show, Go Girls. Well, technically Britta is her character’s name, not her name, but you get the idea. Presumably she was doing her Christmas shopping like everyone else. Never heard of her? I assure you, you’re in the majority. Funnily enough, Mum bought me a TV guide along with the groceries which featured the actress. The same section in the guide also featured an actress currently on Shortland Street, who was in the same year as me in high school.
When I told Mum about my ‘celeb’ spotting (she’d never heard of Go Girls either), she told me that only a couple of months ago she saw current PM John Key at St. Lukes too. They were letting people take photos with him. She simply walked away, uninterested. Mum also bumped into actress Lynette Forday (Go Girls, Shortland Street) recently, being acquainted with one of her young children. Nobody around her gave a damn.
In a country in which I can get (and, in fact, have got) a photo with ex-PM Helen Clark and Mum turns down a photo opp with current PM John Key; in which the Opposition leader Phil Goff has regularly visited my old school for years and remains my Mum’s local MP; in which one out of every ten people I bump into are currently on or have been on Shortland Street – who are the celebrities??
I don’t know and I don’t care. I like it this way. They say New Zealanders are a friendly lot – maybe it’s because we all live in each other’s back pockets and have to learn to get along. Or maybe it’s because everyone gets to say they’re world famous in New Zealand.
World-famous in New Zealand