When my wife and I went to New Zealand, we were able to see an exhibit on the country designed to bring families together. They handed out a deck of cards that were supposed to be used at home with the family. The fronts of the cards have different photos, and the backs have questions to answer. One of the questions was “Which five New Zealanders would you invite to dinner?”
This really became an exercise in “What New Zealanders do I know?” I decided to stick with those who are living, rather than historical figures. I found out that I knew more than five New Zealanders, but they were all in the entertainment industry, except for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who’s been doing phenomenal with the coronavirus outbreak and her country’s response to it. So, I thought the first of my five would be her. (Please note: this article uses affiliate links for movies and TV shows. Using them helps us to continue to provide great writing and doesn’t cost you extra if you purchase from those links.)
Jacinda Ardern and Politics
New Zealand was the first country where women got the right to vote. It would be interesting to know how that has affected Ardern and the country overall. Ardern has had the country on lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic New Zealand has had 1,113 cases. So far, 1,036 have recovered and 14 have died. According to Prof Michael Baker from Otago University’s Public Health Department, it’s Ardern’s empathy and leadership that have helped contain the virus. She’s united New Zealanders in a common cause, and the country is ready to begin moving out of isolation. That ability to gather people together is one that I’d like to learn, and dinner with Ardern would be a start.
How to Dad
Jordan Watson and his girls are hilarious in the How to Dad YouTube videos. Dinner would probably have to be at their place, so we could get the full affect of the family. He may not be that hilarious in real life, but his philosophy in life is amazing (as revealed in this TedXTalk). Plus, he’s got great shorts.
Flight of the Conchords
The comedy duo of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie make some of the best comedy music since Weird Al Yankovic. “Flight of the Conchords” on HBO launched them to fame. Clement was also in a Men in Black film and the crab from “Moana.” Rhys Darby was their manager in the TV show. He’s been seen in the Jumanji films. Taika Waititi worked with Darby and Clement in “What We Do in the Shadows.” Waititi has also directed and written a few episodes of “Flight of the Conchords.” His film credits include “Jojo Rabbit” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” That’s only four New Zealanders for this dinner. Adding someone like Lucy Lawless or Manu Bennett to the group could be interesting.
As far as film creativity coming out of New Zealand, Weta Workshop would be an incredible place to get five dinner guests from. Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies would probably be at the top of the list, and I’d want to invite Richard Taylor and Tania Roger as co-founders of the company. Then probably anyone two of their staff in design would be amazing. Quite frankly, spending a day at Weta Workshop and being able to talk to the people who work there about creativity would be amazing. I’d settle for dinner though. (I already proposed doing a book on their creativity; they turned me down. I can still dream, though!)
Helen, William, Checkers, and Flat Friends
Of course, I would want to invite my friends to dinner. Helen and William live in New Zealand, and we had dinner with them when we were there. They brought along their friend Checkers Penguin, and we brought Helen a couple of Flat Friends. We had a great time, and as my wife pointed out, there is no one else we would rather spend time with when in New Zealand.