Wednesday, 6 May 2015

There is no depression in New Zealand. . .

NZ Music Month - There is no depression in New Zealand by Blam Blam Blam

This track is a song request from +Rochelle Savage 

I must confess that I wasn't familiar with this song growing up.  It was written at a time when left New Zealand were super critical of Sir Robert Muldoon who was the prime minister of New Zealand and lead the country with his National government at the time.  

There is no depression in New Zealand
there are no sheep on our farms
There is no depression in New Zealand
we can all keep perfectly calm. . . 

I was only a child at the time so I wasn't really aware of the policies that affected my people (migrant Samoans who came to New Zealand as factory workers - my parents), particularly when the labour demand had been met by my forebears, the work complete - so the expectation was that we would gladly board a plane and return to Samoa - people of the sun, formerly the Navigator Islands, formerly under New Zealand administration, inherited from the signing of the Berlin Treaty that saw them accepting "guardianship" from Germany - who regularly shipped my people back to Germany to be featured in exhibitions so that Germans could pay money to come and see "the natives" like animals in a zoo.  

Everybody's talking about World War Three
Everybody's talking about World War Three
But we're as safe as we can be
There's no unrest in this country
We have no dole queues
We have no drug addicts
We have no racism
We have no sexism, sexism, no, no

I've listened to the track quite a number of times - it's really catchy.  There is something quintessentially kiwi about the whole vibe of the song.  The themes that come across in the verses - sadly there are no changes.  In 1981 we were lead by a National government, in 2015 we are lead by a National-majority government.  That same year sparked the infamous Springbok Tour that saw New Zealanders converge in protest in Hamilton to stop the game from proceeding with an anti-apartheid stance.  I heard stories first hand from a teacher when I was in high school, she was among the protestors at Rugby Park that day and watching footage on it when the anniversary is commemorated - it almost seems like a lifetime ago.  Drugs are still around - crack cocaine replaced by methamphetamine (crystal meth/P).  There is still unemployment and state services to support the unemployed while they try to find jobs - has never been more stringent.  Racism is still around - probably even more so now with the increasing international presence of foreign investors who like to buy New Zealand state assets.  Sexism, as insidious as racism is a perennial problem and not likely to go away.

We have no SIS but that's because it's been replaced by GCSB.
We have no secrets but we do, nobody says anything.
We have no rebellion but we do, refer to the previous line, nobody says anything.
We have no valium, valium, no, no. . . 

I hope that we can learn from our history in this country.
Sometimes we can be so hell bent on the future, that we conveniently forget that we will let history repeat itself . . . if we choose to ignore it. . . 

Oh we can all keep perfectly calm,
perfectly calm,
perfectly calm,
perfectly calm,
perfectly calm. . .