A while ago we saw a bit of controversy about the search for a new technology and innovation officer.
In a nutshell
- Kiwis are becoming more proud of New Zealand's place on the world stage, and no longer cut people down when they succeed - especially when success is achieved in a Kiwi way.
- We still occasionally look for reassurance from our bigger neighbours, but for every confidence wobble in our psyche we get confirmation of our standing in the world and our place as global citizens.
- Brands that achieve global success in a uniquely Kiwi way, like Allbirds, can tap into this rich territory and become a symbol of all that New Zealand has to be proud of.
The government was looking for someone to fulfil their ambition to “lead change at the edge of the world in a place where pioneers push boundaries to create models for the rest of the world to follow”.
Interesting use of language here. Edge has a sniff of edginess about it and being leading edge is surely the ultimate goal. Of course if you are a flat earth devotee positioning New Zealand at the edge is a precarious place to be, but in a fully global 3D vision there is no edge of the world – it doesn’t matter where you are on the globe, everything is connected.
And it’s this 3D global view that Kiwis are acquiring and embedding into an outward world view that’s a long way from looking to ‘the homeland’ for guidance and support that typified the view and the language of a few generations ago. Instead we are proud of our place on the world stage these days and we don’t cut people down when they succeed on the global stage, especially when they are doing it our uniquely Kiwi way.
From the OE to the KE (Kiwis Exported)
The traditional OE is becoming a thing of the past and instead we export our talent when it’s matured a bit. People did the OE to get a taste of what the big wide world had to offer them, to broaden their minds before they returned to the narrower world that was home. These days we see people in the middle of their careers taking their talent overseas for a stint, often because the size of the NZ business market means we have an abundance of talent seeking a smaller number of senior roles and C-Suite positions. But they come back when one of those senior roles comes up for grabs.
It’s these kinds of cultural changes that are a bellwether for a subtle shift in our Kiwi psyche. It’s about changing the dynamic from what we need from the world to what we have to offer the world. That we still spend time living abroad is important though. There is a fair amount of evidence that people who live abroad develop clarity about who they are and the cultural characteristics that make them who they are, so when they come home they bring that clarity and add fuel and confidence to the Kiwi story.
Kiwi good, global also good
When we explored what makes a New Zealander as part of the Kiwi Cultural Codes work with True this is one of the codes where we saw the biggest shift from what it was to what it is now. And beyond our work, there is a lot of evidence to support this. Take our TV viewing behaviour for example. We want TVNZ to buy international programmes and OnDemand means we can stream them just like we do on global platforms, but equally strong is our love of New Zealand content as the viewing figures show.
How we are embracing the cultures of new migrants is another example of how we are taking an outward world view. The popularity and wide participation in Divalli and the Lantern Festival attest to that.
The way Steinlager, an iconic Kiwi brand, was able to leverage the exoticism and different cultural perspective in a traditional Kiwi product category is what made Tokyo Dry the runaway success it has been. No longer is it a choice between home-grown and grounded Southern man’s beer, or a European premium brand.
In the world of advertising where we have historically looked at global campaigns with envy if only for the size of budgets, we now boast campaigns that the world envies and asks us nicely if they can copy.