Outside of sucking at cricket or moving to Australia, New Zealand’s favourite pastime is definitely getting on the news. Like an attention starved little sibling, New Zillinders are pretty adept at making poorly-planned and wacky attempts to gain more than their fair share of global attention or failing that, at least a brief mention in the “Weird World” column of any foreign newspaper. A snippet in the Herald Sun in Australia will earn you a phone call from the Prime Minister, while making page one of the New York Times should guarantee your mug appearing on a banknote of significant denomination at some point in the future.
The responsible thing to do of course is to not acknowledge this type of behaviour, but like lazy parents, sometimes it’s just easier to give in.
So here goes the inaugural instalment of News of Zealand.
Dominating New Zealand headlines in the past fortnight has been the men’s national soccer team deluded attempts to defeat Mexico in home-and-away fixtures and qualify for the World Cup for a second time in a row.
After miraculously making the 2010 edition and emerging “undefeated”, the country has in recent years pretended to care about soccer—temporarily ditching rugby as the national game at one point and even occasionally referring to the sport as Football.
The All Whites (a reference to the team’s uniform colour, calm down) had high hopes that their default strategy of parking the proverbial bus in front of the goal for 180 minutes while at some point slipping one past the keeper would net the side victory against a soccer-mad country of 110 million. However this was proved horribly wrong, as the fleet-footed Mexicans made light work of flogging the New Zealanders 5-1 in Mexico City and then 4-2 at home in Wellington a week later, crushing the dreams of soccer wankers across the nation.
A tell-tale sign that Summer has arrived, is when jandals (a.k.a. flip-flops/thongs/whatchamacallits) start popping up on slow news days; they’re usually accompanied by the foot police wagging their finger about the long-term damage caused by walking around in these terrible excuses for footwear.
As a middle-toe salute to podiatrists everywhere, a 48-year-old South Auckland man ran 160km around a mountain in home-made jandals. Andrew “The Jandal Man” Fifita-Lamb fashioned his unique footwear from the inner soles of gumboots and stockings after complaining running shoes gave him sore knees. Suffice to say, Crocs were definitely “never a consideration.”
Richmond Volunteer Fire Brigade proved they really couldn’t handle the jandal though, when they sent seventeen firefighters on a callout to deal with a solitary flaming flip-flop. Station chief Ralph Lonsdale said the jandal had been set on fire deliberately and was "burning furiously". “We're now waiting for the other jandal to catch fire, wherever it is."
In bird related news, wanted posters have been plastered across the upper North Island in pursuit of “The Angry Birds”, an aggressive gang of red-vented bulbuls native to Asia and reported to be stirring up shit with local fauna and wildlife. The hot-tempered little so-and-so’s, identifiable by their black heads and red arses, are known to destroy fruit and vegetable crops and attack native birds. A bounty originally set at $300 has since been upped to a whopping $1000 for any information leading to the capture of any patched member of bird gang.
"We've had more than 70 calls about possible sightings since we offered the $300 reward, a month ago, but are still working to capture one of these birds," said Department of Conservation spokeswoman/Deputy-Sheriff Liz Brooks.
Meanwhile, bird watchers across the country are celebrating the discovery of yet another native avian species, the imaginatively named “Dog-Bird”, initially spotted by Hamilton biomedical student Megan Whiteley on Opotiki beach. Whiteley observed that watching the four-legged feathered friend swoop down to pinch her fish ‘n’ chips was a cute sight. The regular dog-sized turd splattered on the windshield of her Subaru—not so much. The Ornithological Society of New Zealand released a statement announcing they are thrilled at the addition of a canine pegasus to New Zealand’s wildlife collection, noting that since the extinction of the Moa, the list of interesting native birds was overall “a but shut.”
STORY OF THE WEEK:
And finally, this week’s shittiest criminal award goes to the thief finally nabbed stealing industrial sized rolls of toilet paper from Gull service station in Matamata, Waikato. The single-ply heist involved pinching the loo rolls, worth in excess of $12, before telling staff they needed replacing. Matamata Police identified a 29-year-old local man as the culprit, after a paper trail led them directly to his shitter.
Follow Shane on Twitter: @doteyes
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