Kiwi Bloke’s father, Turoa Kiniwe Royal, received a doctorate in literature recently at Massey University in New Zealand. The YouTube video showing the ceremony is in Maori, which is beautiful even if I don’t understand it. (The video might be slow to load.) The five men performing the haka in the audience at the ceremony are Kiwi Bloke’s brothers. I watched the Maori language channel a little every day while we were in New Zealand, so it was fun to see it again. Dr. Royal is a pioneer in advancing Maori language and education.
I met Kiwi Bloke online through my post about the hilarious musical duo “Flight of the Conchords”. Kiwi Bloke is an expert on all things Kiwi, and I’ve learned a lot about beautiful New Zealand from reading his blog. I fell in love with the country after my all-too-brief visit there in February.
Here are Kiwi Bloke’s posts about his father’s doctorate, beginning with the post announcing the honor. (We’re switching between spelling “honor” the Kiwi way and the North American way.) The last two links are articles about the award.
I’ve just discovered the Flight of the Conchords television show. I know, I know. What took me so long? Well, for one thing I’m too cheap to pay for HBO. Another is that I count on my children to tell me about what’s fun in the entertainment world. By the time they think to clue me in, the coolness of a show is already starting to wear off, so I hope that doesn’t happen to this duo that describes itself as “formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.” If so, I’m sorry, guys.
This past week, I’ve tried to make exercise more appealing by only allowing myself to watch the Flight of the Conchords show while on my exercycle or lifting weights. Instead I stop so often to hear and decipher what the guys are singing or saying that I barely break a sweat. Hey, exercising my laugh muscles is better than no exercise at all.
Flight of the Conchords Official Band Picture.
I can understand what drives Mel, the obsessive stalker/groupie, who is the band’s sole fan on the show. Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie are so endearingly odd and weirdly sweet, even their names fall just a bit short. No “r” in Jemaine or extra “t” in Bret. They’re laid-back and unflappable, genial and don’t take themselves too seriously, which seems to be a Kiwi trait. (I could be wrong. I was only there for eight days.)
My daughter gave me the first season to watch when I got home from New Zealand. She knew I’d love it, if only to hear the accents again. West rhyming with East, so that it sounds like “weest.” Eeg for egg and Leeft for left. The universal greeting of “Hey, guys” or just “guys”. We say that, too, but it’s just different.
There’s also the tongue-in-cheek rivalry with the much larger neighbor Australia. (Maybe it isn’t tongue-in-cheek. In New Zealand, I heard an Aussie and a Kiwi cordially discussing their rivalry (big brother and little brother) until the the Kiwi said, “At least my ancestors chose to come here.” The Aussie replied, “Being transported to Australia was the best thing that ever happened to my great-great-great grandfather. He did his time and then prospered.” They both smiled.)
It’s fun to watch clueless Murray, the band manager, who tries to manage the band surreptitiously from his office in the New Zealand consulate in New York City. My daughter and her boyfriend are music business graduates, so they particularly enjoy Murray, played by Rhys Darby. I asked, “Where have I seen Murray before?”
” ‘Yes Man’ with Jim Carrey.” Right, Rhys Darby plays Norman, a clueless bank manager in that movie.
I love Jemaine and Bret’s oddball and brilliant music. I can’t explain it. You’ll just have to watch!