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Pearse a farmer who took to the air nine months

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Pearse, a farmer who took to the air nine months before the Wright brothers, in an aeroplane and engine he constructed with home-made tools from scrap metal and other oddments (Ogilvie, 1973). Edmund Hillary was the first person to drive a motorised vehicle overland to the South Pole, and he used converted farm tractors for the expedition (Booth, 1993). As Holm has noted (1994), this celebrated trait of “Kiwi ingenuity”, of devising innovative, practical, cost-effective solutions, is now no longer confined to the use of such prosaic materials as fencing wire. The lasting strength of this rural image, of the practical man in tune with the elements, belies the level of urbanisation in New Zealand. A peak of 75% of the population lived in rural areas in 1871, but this figure has steadily declined. At the most recent census, 85% of New Zealanders lived in urban areas (Statistics New Zealand, 1999). Following World War II, New Zealand’s identification with Britain as the ‘Mother Country’ declined further. The United States protected New Zealand in the Pacific, while most of our troops were fighting in the Mediterranean theatre. Over 100,000 Americans were stationed in New Zealand during latter stages of the War, and in the following decades our foreign policy became more aligned with that of America. We signed the ANZUS security treaty with Australia and the United States in 1952, and fought with both countries in Korea and Viet Nam. Following a period of prosperity during the 1950s and 1960s, New Zealand entered a period of uncertainty during the 1970s. External factors, such as the oil price shocks, negatively affected our terms of trade. Britain, who had hitherto been the main market for our exports, entered the European Economic Community, and by 1975 was only taking one-fifth of our total exports. In subsequent decades New Zealand has actively diversified its markets
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7 (looking particularly to Asia) and has sought to expand beyond the role of commodity agricultural exporter into a range of service and technological industries. On the foreign policy front, New Zealand has been more prepared to take an individual stand on issues rather than uncritically adopt the views of Britain or America. A high-profile example was our nuclear-free policy, which led to banning nuclear warships from our ports. We have increasingly seen our sphere of influence as lying in the South West Pacific, and this has led to new themes for our cultural identity. The European linkage is weaker, and a renaissance in Maori culture and traditions coupled with an increasing acceptance of our geographic location, has led to greater acceptance of New Zealand as a “self-confident, multicultural Pacific nation” (Lealand, 1988). Kevin Roberts, New Zealand born CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi plc, uses the image of ‘the edge’ - New Zealand on the edge of the world, one of “the most physically remote countries on the planet with few economies of scale, nothing except our land, our brains and our innate competitiveness… one of the great experimental cultures. We try things first. Whether it’s
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