Titular tango

by / 08/03/09

If stripping back workers’ rights, women’s rights and forcing legislation through parliament were not enough, John Key announced today that the National government is going to reinstate the antiquated Queen’s honours system.

We’re not a fucking colony any more, John! We are our own nation. This move is an insult to all New Zealanders.

“The Queen has given approval for the reinstatement of titles.”
Have the New Zealand people? Shit, we never even had a chance to debate the original switch away from titles. Since an honours system is at the core of national identity, maybe it would be a good idea if we go and ask the people what they want. That little thing called democracy.

“It is my pleasure to be able to reinstate these titles that will recognise the service of outstanding New Zealanders.”
New Zealanders were already getting recognised, in a way native to New Zealand. It was a recognition system born and bred of the hills, paddocks and rivers of Aotearoa. Anyone would think that under Labour, New Zealand stopped recognising achievement. The NZ Order of Merit system harked back to egalitarianism that André Siegfried saw when he came here. It echoed the cries for republicanism that are growing stronger and stronger every year.

Aunty Helen bought us a shirt two sizes too big with the knowledge we would soon grow into it.

DPF on kiwiblog reconciles the idea with a perfect piece of illogic: “I’m a staunch Republican, but also a supporter of our top honours having titles. It makes them more meaningful.” How does it do this? Oh wait. Somehow miraculously writing “Sir” or “Dame” in front of someone’s name makes it more meaningful. The people are already being recognised. They are part of a very few who will ever get recognised for the hard work and effort they put in. Three or four extra letters at the start of a name means nothing. It is actions that speak the loudest. Not titles.

“This is about celebrating success.”
It is not about celebrating success, it is about celebrating the Queen and an outmoded form of recognising achievement.

It is pretty friggin’ cool that we’re going to have knights and dames again though. I wonder if the government will shell out for suits of armour and noble steeds for our mighty defenders of the realm to joust with. Maybe it is a sly money-making scheme on the government’s behalf. Create a new sporting pastime for New Zealanders: “Jousting—it’s what Kiwis do!” Charge people fifty bucks a pop to go see a joust—a veritable gold mine in such economic times.

Vic Uni post-grad student BK Drinkwater said: “That would be so fucking cool! I would so pay to watch that.”

It will be interesting to see how many of the 85 people who, between 2000 and 2009, received honours on the New Zealand Order of Merit, chose to trade in their honours for titles. I hope they chose to stick with the natively New Zealand honour. Will Helen Clark engage in a titular tango if/when she is offered an honour? Surely she’ll turn it down… won’t she?

What do you think?

About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (10)

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  1. Sir Business Round Table says:

    It’s got nothing to do with respect for the monarchy, Johnny knows a good bribe when he sees one.

  2. Mikey says:

    I think having titles again would be pretty cool, but it’s shit like penguins being knighted (http://www.3news.co.nz/World/Story/tabid/417/articleID/67279/cat/58/Default.aspx) that ruins it for everyone.

  3. Chewy says:

    Penguins rule motherfucker

  4. Mikey says:

    Thanks Samuel L, I totally agree with you. Penguins are awesome. But when a penguin, an animal, that hasn’t really done anything is knighted, then that decreases the value of the title for everyone who has worked hard to earn it.

  5. Superior Mind says:

    Especially when the Penguin didn’t earn it and instead inherited it from a Penguin who probably wasn’t even a blood relation. Shocking.

  6. Mikey… it looks like the Norwegians didn’t heed Salients advice: penguins are a species to be wary of.

  7. Superior Mind says:

    Not the mention the Chi- nah we don’t want to go down that road again.

  8. Sir BRT says:

    Yeah, but imagine if they’d said the Jews.

  9. Wow. That was a thread killer. Thank, Sir BRT, you humourless moron.

  10. Mikey says:

    Godwin’s law.