an interesting thing happened while we were watching the finals of the rugby world cup on marsden wharf earlier this year. this was the third wharf set up with large screens, but there was still a massive crowd, and this about an hour before the game started. we thought we were lucky to get to the front…till we realised that the crowd was mostly drunk teens whooping it up, in the mistaken notion that we were remotely interested in how they had painted their chests to look like the all blacks jerseys. i tried a few times to get them to sit bloody down, and was beginning to lose my patience. then the anthems (of france and aotearoa nz) came on.
now my experience of hearing the national anthem sung in public is that you can hardly hear people sing the māori part of the anthem, while the english bit is bellowed out, usually loud enough to raise the dead. i was very touched, and rather surprised, to hear no audible difference in the volume of the crowd’s singing the english and māori parts! the kids obviously knew the entire anthem well, and were glad to sing it out loud!
the point? as i watch the battle auckland council and businesses wage against street art, i sometimes despair. there is a marked preference for fascist gray over the swirls and swoops of the muticolour pacific. then i remember the rugby finals and the kids singing, and realise that change WILL come. change will come as long as a) the kids learn a better way, and b) we old bastards die.