Postcard from Wellington: Kiwis kicked Covid into touch

Charlotte Graham-McLay on the pride New Zealanders feel in their fight to combat the pandemic

The World Today
3 minute READ

Charlotte Graham-McLay

Freelance journalist

An old joke goes that tourists travelling for the first time in New Zealand will have barely entered the airport arrivals hall before anxious locals begin asking what they think of the country. 

In a remote island nation whose population passed five million people in 2020, New Zealanders are both obsessed with how the world views their country and irascible when they feel that view is inaccurate or dismissive. 

Many of its most joyfully celebrated moments have come when New Zealand is perceived as punching above its weight. Few episodes better typify this than the country’s response to COVID-19 which saw one of strictest and earliest lockdowns result in one of the world’s lowest death tolls.

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