Speaking of Death

Dear New Zealand,

I keep hearing you say this little phrase, and it bothers me. It could be anything from a meal at the local restaurant to a new-model car, a cute puppy at the pet store or a new flavor of chocolate.

'It's to die for!'


We've got a number of throw-away sayings as a nation, and this one has certainly managed to hold its traction. Our grandmothers said it, our parents echoed it too, and now it's rolling off the tongues of our kids.

And of course, we don't mean anything by it, except that the thing is awesome, and it's worth whatever it takes to get it, or experience it or taste it. But, 'to die for?' 

Our nation is staggering under an unprecedented weight of death - road trauma, suicide, heart attacks, cancer, not to mention domestic violence all too often leaving us scraping the edge of death. If our people haven't seen untimely death first hand, chances are they've been close enough to fall under its long shadow.

There's no doubt words carry weight, and if these words, spoken across our nation day after day are shaping outcomes here in our country, isn't it time we looked at changing the whole thing up a bit, maybe putting them to rest? 

No, a meat pie is not to die for. A bottle of wine is not to die for, however many awards it's won. Nothing's really to die for - not a new brand of makeup, or a boat - even your mama's fresh whitebait fritters are not worth dying over.

They might be worth every cent, or worth the two-hour drive, or they might beat the kai anywhere else in the world hands down, but please, people, none of it is to die for.

So I'm asking you, New Zealand, can we just hold death a little bit sacred, and life a bit precious, and decide once and for all that we've got enough death to deal with in this beautiful land without it coming our mouths glibly, here, there and everywhere?

Can we become the generation who talk of the stuff worth living for? Who know when something makes them feel alive and come alive and want to live - and to talk about how it's all worth living for?


Mama's cooking

That playful bundle of fur

The way that car feels when you hit the open road

The job offer you didn't see coming?

'nuff said. 

I just think there's a whole lot of stuff to live for. That's all.