Protests and political bunfights at Waitangi are nothing new. They have helped shape our nation and should be celebrated, not demonised.

Monday 6th February is an important day. Not only is it Bob Marley’s birthday, but it is New Zealand’s national holiday.

Waitangi Day marks the day The Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori and the British Crown in 1840. In recent years it has also come to symbolise the progress we have made towards becoming a more bicultural nation. It is a significant day. Yet, every year there is talk of renaming it, ‘New Zealand Day’.

People worry about the inevitable protests. This year, Prime Minister, Bill English, led the chorus by declining an invitation to the official celebrations. Others argue we need a day that celebrates our oneness. Some have even suggested we follow Australia where they have a more upbeat mood on their national day.

I, personally, disagree that we should change Waitangi Day and find it alarming that we would look to Australia for ways to commemorate our nationhood.

One Love, One Heart. Let’s get together and feel alright

From the very first celebration in 1934, Waitangi Day has meant different things to different people. For some it is a holiday, for others a chance to reflect on the impact of colonisation. Yet the myth prevails that we are all one people and it seems to be at the heart of many of the arguments for a new national day.

Most recently Pamela Stirling argued New Zealanders could learn a thing or two from the way Australians celebrate their National Day.

I find it particularly alarming that New Zealanders would look to Australia for ways to commemorate our nationhood. Australia Day may have a more festive feel but (as an outsider) it appears there is little space for indigenous voices in the official celebrations. Aboriginal people find Australia Day a painful reminder of all they lost, many calling it instead ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’.

In this great future, you can’t forget your past

Since the 1970s protests in and around Waitangi Day have been instrumental in gaining recognition for Māori. The Ngā Tamatoa movement and 1984 Hīkoi in particular brought Māori rights to the forefront of our national consciousness.

Today there is a special tribunal to hear Māori land claims. There has been redress for the loss of land, culture and heritage that Māori suffered following colonisation. Māori is an official language and indigenous culture is alive and celebrated in schools, workplaces and homes.

If we rename Waitangi Day we run the risk of undoing the great progress we have made towards becoming a bicultural nation.

Get up, stand up! Don’t give up the fight!

That Waitangi Day provides a forum for Māori to voice dissent should not be seen as ‘cringe-worthy’, rather it is something to be proud of. Protest is a healthy part of any democracy and a crucial way for minorities to get their voice heard.

As Madeleine de Young writes: “Protest is an opportunity to learn from each other and to change. In Aotearoa, protest is how Māori have fought to regain their language, lands and right to exist as tangata whenua in this country.”

Waitangi Day may force us to reflect on painful memories and have difficult conversations. But it is also a chance to celebrate the more tolerant, inclusive country we live in. There are a range of ways we do this – from festivals, family time, official ceremonies and protests. Some of us even spend the day enjoying the music of that most famous Rastafarian, Bob Marley.

Australian expat Angela Cuming wrote recently when comparing Australian and New Zealand celebrations: “I hope New Zealand will leave Waitangi Day as it is. Be proud that it means different things to different people, that some will use the day to protest, some to reflect and some, like me, to celebrate what an amazing, diverse country this is.” I totally agree.

Smartphones are changing the way we do activism. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have given voice to the masses and a means to publicise messages quickly. But not all online tools are equal. Some social media sites are not safe for those living in fear for their lives or at risk of torture. Others are not available if you live in a country that restricts access to the internet and suppresses freedom of expression.

Here’s a list of some of the best tools to help you mobilise, organise and stay safe online.

  1. A little bit of information can be a powerful thing

CrowdVoice is an open source tool that ‘tracks and contextualises information on social justice movements worldwide’. Get lost for hours in the amazing infographics, video content and insightful articles. If you see a new protest taking shape, book yourself a front row seat by hopping onto one of the live streaming apps mentioned below.

  1. The revolution will not be televised, but it will be recorded

The ability to record and instantly upload footage to the internet has been instrumental in drawing global attention to police brutality and injustice around the world. From the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong to the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, the humble smartphone is being used to bear witness and speak truth to power.

Other popular live streaming apps include Ustream and Bambuser.

  1. Burn after reading, best apps to protect your privacy and personal data

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great for gaining global attention to a cause but not suitable for those who are concerned about governments spying on us, or corporations stealing your personal data. Encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram, Wickr and Signal allow users to communicate without fear of eavesdropping.  Telegram also includes a ‘Secret Chats’ service where you can send self-destructing messages, photos and videos.

  1. Search the internet in stealth mode

If you’re concerned your activist search history could be made public when you stand for Prime Minister one day, consider using a search engine that does not store your personal data or cookies such as DuckDuckGo. Alternatively, use a proxy or VPN service such as Orbot which uses TOR to encrypt your internet use and hides it by bouncing it through a series of computers around the world (this could also be useful if you’re in a country where the Government limits access to the internet, such as China, Iran or Vietnam).

  1. Alert the ones you love when you are in danger

Amnesty International’s Panic Button app turns your smartphone into a secret alarm and helps those at risk of being kidnapped, arrested or disappeared, tell people they’re in trouble. By rapidly pressing the power button the app will send an SMS and your GPS location to a preselected list of contacts. I’m Getting Arrested is similar and enables anyone, with one click, to broadcast a custom message to SMS numbers in the event they are arrested. It was inspired by a real Occupy Wall Street incident.

Be the change you want to see in the world

If you’re feeling inspired after reading this post, turn your anger into activism by signing an online petition today. Personally I love change.org and New Zealand’s ActionStation, which allows users to create and share petitions based on the idea ‘that many people together performing small actions can lead to big change’.


1. Teamwork

No team understands teamwork better than the All Blacks. They know success isn’t about personal glory – rather, it depends on people pulling together with the bigger picture in mind.

But, isn’t content writing a solitary craft? Well, it can be. However, whether you like it or not, as a content writer, you are still part of a team. At The Copy Collective, for example, writers work in partnership with account managers, proofreaders and graphic designers. The goal is to deliver high-quality work for clients, not satisfy our own ‘creative’ urges. So, resisting edits and suggestions for improvement is counterproductive — good content writers keep their egos firmly tethered.

2. Being organised

Focusing on what matters is something the All Blacks do very well. That’s because they are organised.

As a content writer, it’s easy to veer off-track — particularly when home-based. So, it’s important to keep a schedule of work to be done with your deadlines. Though far from high-tech, I use a colour-coded Excel spreadsheet.

Content writers are not athletes (well, maybe at the weekends). However, we must still manage our energy levels. In my case, I find my brain functions better in the morning until early afternoon, so that’s when I write. Other tasks, like following-up customers and preparing quotations, I leave till later. Oh, and though coffee provides a great kick-start to the day, after two or three cups, it does more harm than good. Water is far better.

3. Ongoing learning

If the All Blacks stuck to the  ‘tried and true’ that delivered their first World Cup, I’m pretty sure that today their trophy cabinet would look rather sad. Thankfully (for us Kiwis) they understood that what worked in 1987 could only be effective for so long. The world changes. So, they continually keep up-to-date with new tactics and training regimens to maintain their winning edge.

The writing profession has changed dramatically over the years. And much of what content writers do now, like writing blogs and e-books, was unheard of not so long ago. What does the future hold? Who knows? So, like the All Blacks, we must keep learning.

According to this rather fanciful map New Zealand leads the world in sheep and rugby. But there is much more

This may seem a little unfair for a country that was the first to give women the vote, scale Mt Everest and split the atom. Of course there is more to Middle Earth than All Blacks and woolly jumpers.

Scratch the surface and you’ll find New Zealand has many hidden talents and is a veritable hub of innovation and industry.

  1. Beating cancer and other biotech breakthroughs

Using the body’s immune system to fight cancer is just one of the incredible biomedical discoveries that Kiwis have made in recent years. According to a recent study, New Zealand ranks third in the world for its biotech potential and its scientists are leading the charge to conquer cancer, cure Parkinson’s disease, tests for prostate cancer and may have even found a cure for migraines. Read More.

  1. Look up! Look down! Look out! Jetpacks are real

Once the stuff of science fiction fantasy, jetpacks are now a reality thanks to a clever Kiwi named Glenn Martin. He invented a personal aircraft, The Martin Jetpack that looks like something out of a Bond flick and allows the ‘pilot’ to fly using fingertip controls. Very soon we could all be blasting our way out of sticky situations, á la Sean Connery.

Fun fact: Kiwis also invented bungee jumping, zorbing, the eggbeater and jet boating. See Great Kiwi Inventions

  1. Freakishly talented sportspeople

The Telegraph describes the All Blacks as ‘one of the most extraordinarily successful sporting dynasties on the planet.’ Rugby is certainly strong in New Zealand but Kiwis also punch above their weight in many other sports. From golf to shot-put, kayaking, rowing and motorsport, there are Kiwi legends like Lydia Ko, Scott Dixon and Ian Ferguson winning on the world stage.

Fun Fact: Excluding the United States, New Zealand is one of only two countries to win and then successfully defend the America’s Cup title, the other being Switzerland.

  1. Cape Canaveral move over – Mahia, we have lift-off!

Mahia is a small settlement on New Zealand’s east coast and is about to become a hub for the aerospace industry as Kiwi company, RocketLab prepares to begin launching rockets from this quiet coastal town.

RocketLab is a game changer when it comes to the space industry. Thanks to clever Kiwi design, 3D printing and light lithium polymer batteries this innovative Kiwi company intends to send satellites into space for about NZ$7.3 million, compared with the current price for other companies of more than NZ$100m.

  1. Wellington’s world-class coffee culture

Italians may have invented espresso but Kiwis have taken café culture to a whole new level.

Drinking coffee is now considered a national pastime and they even have their own unique brew, the ubiquitous ‘Flat White.’ Wellington is the spot for the best cup of coffee in New Zealand (it is ranked in the top eight coffee cities of the world) but it shouldn’t be too hard to find good coffee anywhere in this caffeine-crazed country.

  1. Landscapes ‘that make you want to applaud’

For the fourth year in a row, New Zealand had been named the ‘world’s best country’ in the 2016 Telegraph Travel Awards. Praised for its outstanding landscapes and ‘magnificent Maori culture’, the British judges also loved New Zealand’s ‘extraordinary kakapo’ and unsurprisingly, its strong ties to Britain. See also: 26 reasons why New Zealand is the world’s best country.

  1. Best banknote in the world

Finally, it may not be the Oscars, but New Zealand’s ‘stunning’ new $5 note was recently named Best Banknote of the Year by the International Bank Note Society. The new fiver pipped nearly 40 designs from 20 countries to take out top spot. Now that’s something to be proud of!


Can you speak Kiwi?

NewZild. World famous for the haka, hobbits and heroic halfbacks.

Visitors love our Lord of the Rings landscapes, limitless adrenaline adventures and laid-back locals. They don’t always love our laid-back lexicon.

Tourists get confused with the way we crazy Kiwis merge and mispronounce vowels (pegs turn into pigs, packing sounds like pecking) and look bemused when we pepper conversations with strange colloquialisms (“Rattle yer dags”, “Get off the grass!” and “Bust a gut” are some of my favourites).

We also use a lot of Māori words and phrases (Kia Ora cuz, that kai really filled my puku!) and we tend to talk fast. (How are you doing? might sound like hwreding to a non-Kiwi ear).


So, if you’re planning on a visit to the land of the long white cloud, it’s a good idea to brush up on your Kiwi-speak.

  1. Cuz

Short for cousin, can refer to anyone vaguely familiar including the bank teller and bus driver. “Hey cuz”, “Cheers cuz!”

  1. Yeah, Nah

A noncommittal response (does it mean yes, does it mean no?) used when we don’t agree with something but feel too polite to say so.

For example, a friend might ask “Do you like my new orange hot pants?” You reply “Yeah, Nah, Yeah” – translation: “they’re hideous!”

  1. Cuppa

Means cup of tea, but could refer to any hot beverage. Often enjoyed on a smoko with a ciggie or a bikkie.

Tip: If you want to specify black tea try asking for Gumboot Tea (don’t worry this is not a drink made of boiled black rubber, just Kiwi for plain black tea).

  1. Kia Ora

Welcome or hello in Māori. It can also be used to say thanks or farewell.

  1. She’ll be right

Means everything is OK, often when it is not. Usually uttered when you’re doing something a bit dangerous or precarious as a hopeful exclamation rather than a statement of fact.

  1. Sweet as

Everything is good. Kiwis may add “as” to anything to add emphasis – “That’s cheap as!” “I’m tired as.” You get the idea.

  1. Togs

Kiwi for swimsuit. And flip-flops are jandals (not thongs – thongs are underwear on our side of the Tasman). Also, trousers are called pants and pants are most definitely not underwear.

  1. “Fush and chups”

Practically our national dish. The best way to tell a Kiwi and an Aussie apart is to get us to say “Fish and Chips.” If it sounds like “Feesh and Cheeps” you’re talking to an Australian, if it comes out more like “Fush and Chups” it’s a Kiwi you’re dealing with.

  1. Bugger/Buggered

Popularised by the   for Toyota, Bugger is now so ubiquitous that even your Nana might use it. It simply means dammit, as in “Bugger, I’ve lost my keys!”

Buggered is also fairly common and refers to something broken or tired.

  1. Onehunga, Whakatane, Te Puke

If you spend more than a day travelling in New Zealand, you’ll come across many Māori place names, which can be bit tricky to pronounce especially if you’ve never seen them before.


Make sure you can get from Whangarei to Whangamata without ending up in Whakatane by brushing up on some before you arrive.

Hot tip: “Wh” is generally pronounced “F” in Māori so Whakatane is said Fah-cah-tah-nay.

3 things businesses can learn from the NZ flag furore

A strong brand is easily recognisable, reflects the organisation well and evokes an immediate emotional response. For example, if I see a stylised black swoosh, I instantly think of Lycra and a long-forgotten gym pass, and suddenly get the urge to “Just do it”. But a good brand also needs to move with the times and keep up with your organisation as it changes and evolves.

If your logo is not doing any of these things, it might be time to head back to the drawing board and consider a rebranding.

However, as New Zealand has just discovered, the road to change can be costly, fraught with infighting, indecision and dubious design work, and might lead you right back to where you started. So what can companies learn from New Zealand’s corporate identity crisis?

  1. First, ask yourself why?

Most New Zealanders admit that our flag is quite traditional and very similar to our closest competitor’s (just one star distinguishes our flag from Australia’s, which is confusing and does little to dispel the myth that New Zealand is a small cluster of islands to the east of Tasmania). But we also value the history and symbolism of our flag. It is something we have all grown up with and it is as familiar as gumboots and Pavlova.

Which is why, after many months of discussion, indecision and heated debate, not to mention $27 million spent polling all eligible voters, we are left to fly our old familiar flag.

First lesson. If you are considering a corporate identity makeover you need to carefully weigh up brand loyalty and familiarity with any potential benefits. Spend time talking to staff / clients / customers and be sure they are ready to embrace a new look before you begin.

  1. Get key stakeholders on board

You may not have a rugby legend like Richie McCaw to ‘fly the flag’ but all companies have influencers and individuals that people respect. If you can convince these key people change is necessary, others will soon get on board and be excited and supportive as you roll out a new look.

  1. Seek expert advice

When the project of choosing a new flag for New Zealand began, the public was asked to submit ideas online. While some ideas were quite professional, many were amateur and even absurd (a Kiwi bird with laser beams shooting out its eyes and a hand-drawn sheep with an ice-cream cone were among the initial contenders).

Crowdsourcing is great if you have a community fundraising project or tricky technical problem to solve. However, it is not such a great process for distilling the essence of your brand into a simple, stylish graphic. For this, you’re better to call in the experts.

So, write a clear brief, give it to a designer and let them lead the process of dreaming up an inspiring new image for your company.

Read more:


Meet Jenni Anderson and Laura Golland, two rock stars in the NZ charity sector. These two tireless troupers spend their days juggling everything from donor communications to a broad range of fundraising endeavours. Wearing multiple hats they work to promote and fund the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand’s core services throughout the country. Together, they are spreading a life-saving message of stroke recognition and prevention with one hand while whipping up appeals and campaigns with the other. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Pictures od Jenni Anderson and Laura Golland

Laura Golland (Left) and Jenni Anderson (Right)

A little experiment

While working on the fundamentals of their roles, Jenni and Laura are always pondering new and different ways to enhance their efforts in the hope of making an even bigger difference.

When planning this year’s Spring DM Appeal they wondered about the benefits of sandwiching a little eDM either side of their direct mail in the hope of boosting response rates. It sounded like a good plan. But not having tried this before Jenni and Laura wanted to be sure they had the time and resources available to ensure their eDM experiment was top notch. The key here was to work smarter not harder.

To help test the concept, the team at The Copy Collective worked with Jenni and Laura to develop their eDM content, calling on our dedicated fundraising writers to piece the project together. We focused on everything from the appropriateness of the subject line to creative, personalised and valid content in a style that would appeal to the reader and finished with a clear and direct call to action. We wanted to do Jenni and Laura proud.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

As this was an experiment, the results were all-important. The benefits of the eDM sandwiching around the Spring DM Appeal speak for themselves. It has been a very successful campaign boasting over 200 new regular givers and a healthy 7.7% response rate across all giving. Not bad considering the campaign is still running!

Jenni and Laura were especially thrilled with the 38% opening rate on their pre-appeal eDM. Apparently recipients didn’t mind hearing from them again a couple of weeks later with a post-appeal follow-up and donation ask opening at 34%.

So it’s a happy ending all round and time for a little reflection on our learning journey.

Jenni and Laura’s top tips:

  1. Spend time and energy on the things that you do best.
  2. Recognise that the effort you put into your message will likely influence what you get out at the other end – quality copy developed by experts. Although this may incur a short-term cost, your return should be significantly measurable.
  3. A written video script resulted in a stilted recording when video participants presented their sound bites on camera. To help maintain a natural flow, Jenni and Laura broke up the scripts into key points/ideas that the participants could put in their own words, resulting in the ‘e-chats’ sounding more normal and friendly.

Why not take a leaf out of Jenni and Laura’s book? Give it a go! eDM can be an engaging, spur of the moment way to connect with your audience that should be developed with precision and care to ensure it doesn’t head straight to the email trash.

New Zealand office opens for The Copy Collectivea vibrant team of skilful copywriters commits to further New Zealand growth, writing copy that counts.

The Copy Collective is delighted to announce the expansion of its New Zealand copywriting services from 1 July, 2015.

To cater for the growing demand in New Zealand, The Copy Collective has invested in staff and infrastructure to ensure its support of clients is targeted to meet their needs.

Why a focus on New Zealand?

Development of the New Zealand business was a timely and natural progression notes Anna Shere, newly-appointed National Business Development Manager and The Copy Collective’s first New Zealand-based employee.

“The Copy Collective team has established strong and effective business partnerships with the Australian client base,” said Ms Shere, “providing efficient, creative and targeted copy time and time again.”

“Strong recommendations from our existing clients has triggered a growing rate of enquiries from New Zealand organisations. They’re looking for the depth and breadth of copywriter expertise that The Copy Collective can provide.

“Our clients also value that we use New Zealand-based writers wherever we can, so that the tone of voice truly reflects our Kiwi culture.”

Already the New Zealand client base includes recognised organisations such as The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and Stroke Foundation of New Zealand.

About The Copy Collective

Established in 2008, The Copy Collective is a collective of Australian, New Zealand and other international copywriters whose versatile skills range from fundraising, marketing and digital copywriting to corporate and government writing, feature and speech writing, as well as editing and so much more.

This is no ordinary business. The Copy Collective team is full of heart, supporting and promoting causes aligned with the fundamental beliefs of the team. This includes sponsorship for the past two years of the Attitude Awards Trust in New Zealand – an organisation that works to change attitudes towards people with disabilities. The Copy Collective proudly sponsors a New Zealand student with disabilities as he completes his public relations studies through AUT University.

Find out how we can help

To find out more, visit www.thecopycollective.co.nz. You’ll find the downloadable resources section particularly valuable.

The team from The Copy Collective can be reached via the online contact form or call or email Anna using her contact details below. Anna is excited about adding a Kiwi touch to the business and would love to meet new clients and contacts.

Contact details:

Anna Shere

National Business Development Manager NZ

Ph: +64 9 905 4977

Email: ashere@thecopycollective.co.nz

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