One of my favourite books read whilst at Christchurch Teachers College was “Cry The Beloved Country” by Alan Paton.
A 1948 novel about the trials and tribulations in pre-apartheid South Africa. It poignantly mourns the loss of the stability offered by traditional tribal ties as the economic and social alienation of blacks takes root in the cities.
In 1980 New Zealand was still referred to as Godzone, a derivation of reforming Premier Richard Seddon’s turn of the century vision. ‘Godzone’ cherishes the ideal of a free caring society set in pristine nature. Whether this was ever fully true doesn’t really matter, it was something to aim for and be proud of. It celebrated our aspiration to be an inclusive, kind, and freedom-loving society.
The End of the Dream
Stuff Newspaper, famously sold for $1 in May 2020, is now generously funded by the New Zealand government to stuff us in their words full of “The Whole Truth”. Today Stuff published an article entitled “NZSO musician with anti-mandate ties seeking council seat”.
This is just another in a series of Stuff articles attacking anyone who opposed government Covid vaccine mandates, but for me it signals the end of the Godzone dream.
The assistant principal viola in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Nicholas Hancox is standing in the upcoming local body elections, but he is not welcome to do so. His crimes as detailed by the Arts Correspondent of Stuff are as follows:
- An orchestra colleague accused Hancox of wearing a “Freedom-affiliated T-shirt” to a chamber music rehearsal.
- Hancox sent an email to his NZSO colleagues in December in which he linked various articles from scientific journals which questioned the safety and effectiveness of mRNA vaccination.
- Symphony orchestra publicist Tom Cardy described NZSO as ‘nonpolitical’ (??) but linked Mr Hancox’s criticism of mRNA vaccination to the government’s Covid-19 policies and said NZSO staff must refrain from “any act, omission, or statement that may detrimentally affect the goodwill or reputation” of the orchestra. Cardy also said “employees should not do anything that could compromise or be seen to compromise the NZSO’s ability to retain the Government’s confidence”.
- Hancox made a submission to Parliament opposing the Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill. Stuff describes such actions as part of an effort to make New Zealand ‘ungovernable’.
So let’s examine these crimes one by one:
- He wore a freedom T-shirt—apparently offending an unwritten and little-known NZ dress code disbarring references to freedom. Oxford Languages defines freedom as “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved”.
- He referenced mainstream scientific journals—he should have referenced the government alone or perhaps Stuff arts correspondents. This is perhaps the end of NZ science. Do you think this is an acceptable position or the start of fanaticism? Fanaticism is defined as “belief or behaviour involving uncritical zeal, excessive enthusiasm, blind faith, and the persecution of dissidents”.
- He held political views different from the government—to retain employment at government-funded NZSO he should have been a musician devoid of political opinions. A restriction compatible with repressive regimes.
- He responded to a government public consultation initiative—he should have kept his mouth shut and obeyed without question. Surely the government should stop this pretence of public consultation, responding will only get you into trouble.
Among the journal articles Mr Hancox linked is this one: Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States an early article whose conclusions have been widely replicated and have since been acknowledged as accurate—the study’s main point being that mRNA vaccination does little to reduce Covid case incidence. Something that we are very well aware of in New Zealand as the vaccinated have filled our hospitals out of proportion to their numbers.
An article written in 1940 by Leo Fanning entitled “New Zealand… A Free Land. The Real God’s Own Country” said:
“No man who found himself suddenly endowed with infinite power could design and make a better country than New Zealand—happy isles of heart’s desire. Here nature offers mankind every gift for health of body and mind…Anyone with a good knowledge of the people here believes firmly that they will strive to their utmost to keep themselves free because they know well that they have a country worth keeping, a country worth guarding.”
I hope the significance of Hancox’s crimes are clear. We are no longer a free country nor a chosen people. We have somehow created an exclusive political class so sure of their right to rule us that the very word freedom sends shudders through their ranks and elicits calls to close the door to those who cherish the opportunity to learn and express themselves—they are no longer welcome here.
Image credit: Tyler Lastovich