I watched with interest the TV One news story the other day on Breakfast where they announced who the most trusted New Zealanders were. I heard that Willie Apiata had won and that the majority of the top ten were sportspeople. This set me off. I thought, what? What does this say about our values? We value sport more than anything. A guy who does a great feat in a war is someone that people trust. I thought, trust in what sense? In a war, yes, Willie is the man. Or is he? I don't know him. He might have just been the man of a moment and really the rest of the time who knows? But, should I trust him with my money? With my kids? With a secret I don't want anyone else to know? Mmmmm.
The Evers-Swindell twins came in 2nd/3rd. Now they are great athletes, they appear to be lovely girls. But, are they to be trusted? I have no idea. How is it that John Kirwan makes it on. He was despised in his day as an arrogant Auckland tosser. I played against him, and that description was no completely without warrant. Yet, he bore his soul on TV and he is in. So my first thought was that NZ's values were screwed. Sport is everything and this proves it.
Then I dug a little deeper and searched it out. It turns out that 500 NZers were given a list of 85 NZers and asked to rank them. Then I realised the whole thing was loaded from the start. The 85 were chosen by Readers Digest. My wife Emma missed the list, cause she should have won. You can trust her with anything. So to say, Ed Hillary has been NZ's most trusted NZer for the last three years and now Willie A is is nonsense. Rather, they are the most trusted among a list of NZers prominent in the media! Again, the media rule the nation.
So, the whole thing is wrongly promoted. To find the most trusted New Zealander you would interview people with a blank canvas and ask them, outside of your close family, who is the New Zealander you trust the most. 'Trust' would have to be defined.
In actual fact, the New Zealanders I trust the most are my fellow drivers, pilots, emergency and medical staff. I dare to trust them everytime I take to the road, get in a plane, and have a medical issue. Of course, these are unnamed. For me personally, my wife and kids I trust absolutely. My brother and sister in law too.
The list does however reveal some interesting things. First, it does reveal that we judge our sportspeople very highly. After Apiata, the Swindells were 2nd equal, Barbara Kendell was
3rd, Peter Snell 4th, Susan Devoy 5th, Meads 6th, Kirwan 7th, Irene van Dyk 8th, Vili 10th, Hadlee 11th, Hamish Carter 12th, McCaw 16th, Vettori 20th, Lohore 21st, Greg Murphy 25th. So, of the top 9, 8 were sportspeople! Yet, we do not know these people except that they play good sport and come over nice and humble on TV.
Aside from self and money, which undoubtedly reign in the NZ pantheon, without question sport has pride of place in the gods of this age. While I love sport and respect most if not all of those named, what the heck is going on? Mind you, not all sports people did well, Mark Ellis was 68th and Matthew Ridge and impressive 78th. That is because they behave like gits on TV and their messy private lives have been scrutinised in public.
I see all politicians did poorly. Helen Clark topped them in 52nd, Key just behind in 53rd, Jeanette Fitzimmons in 67th, Bill English (just behind David Bain!) in 71st; Phil Goff a brilliant 74th; Sharples, 75th; Russell Norman 76th; Rodney Hide the self-appointed watch dog of NZ politics 79th; Turia 80th; Sue Bradford 81st; Roger Douglas 82nd; and Winston Peters 83rd! I don't think you will see NZ first back in 2011. The result says Kiwis do not trust politicians! On the other hand, it does show how naive NZers are about politics. Let's face it, being a politician is a no-win situation. It is the art of compromise and every decision is scrutinised and disappoints some, while pleasing others. The realities of running a country are far trickier than any NZer understands. I suspect some of these people are as trustworthy as anyone, its just that they are so scrutinised both privately and publically, that they are in a no-win situation.
So for me it is a load of nonsense. These are not NZ's most trusted people. The most trusted people are those who every day we entrust our lives to. Like surgeons who cut our cancers out. Doctors in whose hands our very lives are. Husbands and wives we share it all with. Emergency service people who respond to our crises. And yes, politicians in many cases. And of course for those of us with faith, at all times, and when all things fail, Jesus Christ who is with us always! (Phil 4:9).