Monday, June 07, 2010

An absurd holiday

Today is Queen's Birthday. Every year, we have a public holiday to celebrate the birthday of a woman who most of us have never seen, almost none of us have ever met, who plays no real role in our lives, lives on the other side of the world and has set foot in the country only ten times in her entire lifetime. Except its not even her actual birthday - the present incumbent was born in April, not June.

Put like that, the absurdity of this holiday is apparent. The Queen is irrelevant, celebrating her "birthday" absurd. Its simply a historical hangover from the bad old days when the monarch was seen as a personification of the nation, when "l'etat, c'est moi" was something other than a sharp joke about the arrogance of politicians. The world has moved on from those days. New Zealand has moved on from those days. Down here, the state isn't the monarch - it is us.

Irrelevant. Absurd. Anti-democratic. Queen's Birthday is not a holiday modern New Zealand should be celebrating. It belongs in the dustbin of history, along with "the Treaty is a simple nullity" and sedition laws. Instead, we should be celebrating a holiday that means something to New Zealand, that reflects our values and culture. We should be celebrating Matariki, not the birthday of someone we do not know, do not care about, and who stands for values diametrically opposed to those of modern Aotearoa.