Our home town of Dunedin, New Zealand grew rich and powerful on account of gold being discovered in the 1800’s. Miners arrived on tall sailingships in their thousands, in search of the “mother lode” of gold which would transform them from rags to riches. Dunedin quickly grew to become the most significant centre of commerce.
Gold, frozen meat and wool formed the foundation of a thriving export economy. On account of our isolation, the newly arrived settlers embarked upon all manner of enterprise. The settlers were skilled, hard working and driven to seek out a better way of life for themselves. In some ways this is one of the greatest enduring aspects about our peoples.
The journey, distance from civilization and tasks at hand must have spurned fierce independence and self reliance into the settlers. The task ahead must have been herculean indeed.
Whole industries were created from scratch in order to develop the land and build a society. This industrial and commercial infrastructure acted as a catalyst from which all manner of other commercial derivatives grew in sophistication and complexity. This story was repeated time and time again across all manner of industries, from railways to automotive and appliance manufacturing. The net result was that New Zealand today has a broad ranging economy and continues to enjoy a comparatively high standard of living.
The pioneering “can do” spirit is still alive and well today. NZ’ers have a strong streak of individuality which is rarely seen in more conformist societies. You can still reach out and develop your full potential here. If you have the ability, society does not place significant barriers in your way. Even if you are from a disadvantaged background, you can still enrol into university and study to become a scientist or engineer. So in spite of all that is said about the polarisation of our society into the haves and have not’s….anyone that has the ability and inclination will not be held back from achieving their goals. Long may it be so.
Otago University Registry Building