NZ’s top quotes of 2015

Here we go again. Massey University is running a poll on the NZ Quote of the Year and the list of finalists is … well …

its raining men

Or as Holly Walker put it on Twitter:

At this point, if you are a gentleman tempted to jump straight to the comments section to explain that “the first quote was said by a woman!”, even though she herself was quoting a man, I invite you to consider whether that’s really the best contribution you can make to this conversation. And:

parks and rec go to the corner

It just seems a bit far-fetched that in 2015, there wasn’t a single good, inspirational, eloquent, zeitgeisty quote from a woman in New Zealand considered worthy of sitting alongside a reality TV star talking about someone else’s fart or Mike Hutcheson’s hilarious originality in comparing a selection of terrible flag designs to people with dwarfism.

It’s okay. I found some, with a little help from my Twitter friends.

Anyone who caught my top 5 politicians of the year post will not be surprised to find this at the top of my list:

“As the victim of sexual violence …”

As said by Metiria Turei, repeated and/or supported by Jan Logie, Poto Williams, Catherine Delahunty, Nanaia Mahuta, Marama Davidson, Clare Curran, and Megan Woods, objecting to the Prime Minister saying the Opposition were “supporting the rapists” – only to be told, effectively, to sit down, shut up and stop making such a fuss by the Worst Speaker Ever, David Carter.

The women of New Zealand are not inclined to sit down, shut up, and stop making a fuss.

It feels like a defining moment, when so many women, elected representatives, defy the old boys’ club’s rules to make the voices of survivors of sexual and family violence heard in our Parliament.

Also nominated by @mokai77.

It’s somewhat ironic that David Carter and John Key worked so hard to defend the abhorrent use of sexual violence for political gain, given this decisive statement from their government’s Minister of Police, Anne Tolley:

“These girls deserved better.”

Commenting on the systemic, absurd failures of the New Zealand Police in their investigation of the Roastbusters case.

Jessie Hume, a campaigner who organised a petition of over 100,000 signatures calling for a proper investigation, asked:

“How is it possible that these girls were failed by everyone responsible for their safety?”

It’s kind of a defining question for New Zealand and how we treat survivors of sexual violence.

Nominated by @PositiveStinker.

Another side of the sexual violence issue arose when it was announced Chris Brown was planning a tour of NZ. This caused understandable concern – but it was a bit of a double-edged sword.

“All this makes it seem like the people in charge of our country’s borders are taking a real stand against the well-known perpetrators of domestic violence. In reality, it seems they’re only taking a stand against the black ones.”

That was Kanoa Lloyd, writing for Newsworthy.

Louise Nicholas is a tireless campaigner for the cause of sexual violence survivors, and she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit this year. She said:

“On 30th January 2004, the promise I made to everyone out there was that what happened to me will never happen to anyone else, and I will fight until my last breath. And to be recognised today is crazy. It is crazy, beautiful.”

Nominated by @FitKiwi.

And there are so many ways women fight for the exact same thing. After Tony Veitch got headlines for being a repugnant human being once again, Emily said:

“I hope, that one day I see my sons as young men – absolutely rejecting the culture that continues to run unabated around them. This culture that glorifies men who deserve no glory. This culture that provides redemption to men who have shown no remorse.”

Nominated by @johubris.

The personal is political, and Helen Kelly has spoken of her personal struggles with illness and a law change which could make a real difference for people like her – medicinal marijuana.

“I’m not promoting it as a curative, but as a pain relief it’s incredibly effective for me and it doesn’t make me feel sick, which morphine does.”

Shout-out to @philipsophy.

Women don’t just talk about “women’s issues”. We can also make powerful statements about international trade deals.

“If governments want to play by secret squirrel rules they can hardly accuse those who raise alarms based on best available information of scaremongering.”

Dr Jane Kelsey in the NZ Herald.

We can talk about our national identity.

“Our country has been built on love and pain and we have to be honest about both.”

Metiria Turei in the NZ Herald’s 12 Questions.

Nominated by @AndreAlessi.

We hold government to account by being some of the best political journalists in the country.

“Well, I do have the figures …”

Lisa Owen, skewering now-ex Minister of Corrections Sam Lotu-Iiga over Serco.

Nominated by @mrduttonpeabody, who also nominated the entire interview.

We are people who stand with our co-workers against bully employers. Bernie Ratu, one of the people locked out by her employer, Talley’s AFFCO, in Rangiuru and other sites across the country has become one of the many faces of the Jobs That Count campaign – fighting for basic good terms and conditions at work. But:

“We don’t sign these new contracts and they won’t offer us a job.”

This is what employment relations looks like in 2015 in New Zealand.

But why separate out “women’s issues” from “real politics” at all?

“Economic equality is not so far away from gender equality. Equity is not so far away from pay equity. The living wage – living with dignity – is not so far away from dying with dignity.”

Maryan Street, as quoted by me, at this year’s Labour Party annual conference.

No woman is an island, and no woman is just a woman.

We are artists.

We are jockeys (and also sometimes Australians, but given how much NZ slows down for the Melbourne Cup I’ll allow it.)

“… a lot of the owners wanted to kick me off. Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t good enough.”

Nominated by @hamishmack.

And not all of us are called Mary.

(Tragically I could not find a link to the interview – if anyone has superior Google capabilities, let me know!)

There were many many more nominations, but I’m just one awesome blogger doing this in my spare time. Thank you to everyone who made a suggestion – and let’s hope that next year the women of New Zealand get a bit more of the recognition they seriously deserve.

If you have any more suggestions, leave them in the comments!

mad men applause

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