As a mainlander it’s always a bit of a chore going to the big city at the top of the other island.
My most recent excursion was pretty hectic; traffic, work and other big city kind of stuff, enough to leave any man parched and in need of a cool, refreshing beverage. I was looking forward to quenching my mega city thirst with an ice cold Speight’s in Air New Zealand’s revamped Koru Lounge. It seemed all that was standing between me and my little slice of home was an arduous journey through the world’s least transit friendly city. Thankfully I was couriered to Auckland Airport by my good friend Jo in her white lightening late 80’s Nissan Sunny negotiating the loony’s on the road with consummate aplomb. What a beast of a car, always a highlight of my trips to the big smoke.
I trudged through what was an unusually quiet Auckland Airport, arriving to the traditional, friendly greeting by the Air NZ Koru Lounge staff, always a day brightener. I found a secluded looking seat then attacked the fridge with some eagerness.
Dismay, disillusionment, shock and horror! I was greeted with a fridge devoid of a Southlander’s staple drop. I thought, don’t panic there must have been a run on it, just ask the usually helpful staff and they will surely produce another bottle or two from the chiller. Alas, my heart sank faster than the Paul Henry’s Aussie TV ratings as they confirmed to me they had replaced Speight’s with Moa.
I was reassured Moa is a high quality drop of some considerable standing in the beer world of the 21st century and I would enjoy a bottle for sure. I was informed it’s even going to be on tap soon which was causing the staff some degree of excitement.
It’s bad enough when someone passes on the horrible news that they do not have your favourite brew? but when they then try to turn you onto something else - that is the ultimate insult. Do they think I just vaguely flit around unaware of these other options and only drink my chosen beverage out of pure ignorance for the alternatives? I am big enough and ugly enough to make my own informed decisions and whether they are right or wrong, or/and agreeable or not to others is completely irrelevant, so please don’t patronise me with a spiel on other options to satisfy my thirst.
Seriously hoping this debacle was isolated to Auckland I further investigated the situation via some carefully targeted emails and a visit to the Wellington Koru Lounge. A response from Air NZ’s CEO Christopher Luxon coupled with my own research confirmed my worst fears. Speight’s is no more. You can’t get it in the air or on the ground. It’s been pulled from the arsenal of our national carrier and replaced with the so-called fine ales of the future, local craft and premium import beers to satisfy the demands of the discerning drinker. In a wider sense it’s yet another nail in the coffin for the Southern Man.
The changing global climate is forcing many animal and plant species to adapt or shift their habitable range to survive. Those that cannot move or adapt to the new climate are dying out and will eventually become extinct. Do I need to adapt, change my preferences to fit in with society, start to wear skinny jeans and buy a murse (man purse)?
Globalisation, rampant change and advances in technology, fashion, language and culture are putting many of life’s great traditions under threat, pressuring more traditional ethnic and cultural groups from all corners of the globe to change their ways and swing into line with the world of the future.
It’s no great revelation that one of New Zealand’s most at risk species is the Southern Man.
The Southern Man’s way of life is being threatened by the quickening pace of urbanisation, and habitat destruction along with cultural and demographic changes to New Zealand society.
Just what is a Southern Man you might ask?
A Southern Man is defined more by his characteristics and way of life than any geographic parameters.
A Southern Man is genuine, honest, hardworking and reliable. He hails from an era when meeting you at the back paddock gate at 10am on Sunday meant just that; not a text message to reschedule due to inclement weather.
A Southern Man is good with his hands, practical and prefers to do things himself. He rarely uses a map or relies on instructions, as things in his life are simple enough to work the way they should and anything he or the local mechanic can’t fix doesn’t have a place in the shed.
A Southern Man is generous often to a fault, always looking for out for his mates and traditionally offers legendary hospitality to his guests. “I’ve got the next round lads” is a common phrase in the south.
A Southern Man enjoys life’s simple pleasures, a good yarn, Friday night footy, a hearty meal washed down with a decent beer, usually Speight’s. Definitely not one of these so-called craft beers, created in small towns (named Lion and DB Brewery) but consumed mainly by city slickers in pink shirts and dress pants.
While out of politeness a Southern Man can be persuaded into trying new things, he knows what he likes and doesn’t see a need to change from the tried and true. “If it was good enough for the old man it’s good enough for me.”
The Southern Man laments for the good old days when there were more of his kind, a time when an Otago vs Southland match was just as popular as the All Blacks and rucking ensured there was no need for confusing ruck regulations.
The Southern Man knows a good woman when he sees one. The perfect woman knows her way around the farm, looks great on horseback and can help out with the chores in; particular plucking ducks in May and feeding the orphaned lambs and calves in Spring. The perfect woman however is just at home in the kitchen ensuring southern fare is heartily prepared for the Southern Man and his mates. He respects her opinion as long as it’s not about the rugby or his dress sense and he is grateful she takes care of most the trips to the city for him. He wouldn’t be anywhere if not for the better half and on odd occasions he even gives her a caring pat on the back and a hug, but never in public.
Maybe the above description is more a nostalgic idealism than reality. Maybe the Southern Man has become so rare that one fitting all the characteristics above may never be seen again but there are still plenty of us who at least adhere to some of the above and we are constantly being pummelled by a society which seems apathetic about our future existence.
Mark was a contributor to Jamie Mackay's Farming Show Website in 2012/13 - View Original HERE
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