Otautahi – New Zealand is wrestling India for the first ever world cricket test championship title final at Southampton in England from tomorrow night. But how important is this game to Aotearoa?
The outstanding Black Caps have never been considered a marquee side such as Australia, England, India, South Africa and, at times, the West Indies.
But if they were to pull off the unimaginable, it may not be a bad thing for Aotearoa. Countries around the world may connect the dots between cricket and important issues that New Zealand stands for.
Firstly, it would mean our status would rise in the world test cricket arena. Instead of playing a couple of games against the heavyweights of world cricket, we may get more three test series, rather than just one or two games at a time.
And forgetting cricket, what else is NZ good at, other than rugby and sport? What about our approach to climate change, sustainability, education, health, cost of housing and quality of life? Or is that not cricket?
If New Zealand can tick some of those boxes in a new world, that could be more valuable than a one-off cricket game.
Former University of Canterbury vice chancellor Dr Rod Carr, runner of 23 marathons says New Zealand has a lot going for it.
“We are known for high trust, ease of doing business, fair mindedness , adventure, and quick to adapt things from overseas to make them work in New Zealand,” he says.
“We are not as good at tolerance as we believe we are or should be, but we may be better than many countries. We are not as clean and green as we believe we are and as others believe us to be, but we want to do better.
“We still believe effort is rewarded and should be rewarded and rewards should not go to those who provide no effort. We believe life should be fair but know it is not
“We like sports because the rules are clear, the goals obvious, winning is on merit and effort is likely to be rewarded. We don’t like cheats.”
According to Yale University, New Zealand is #1 in the world at marine protected areas but 27th in biodiversity and habitat. We are ninth ranked in environmental health and 26th in water and sanitation, seventh in air quality, 93rd in fish stock status and 68th in tree cover loss.
The Earth.Org puts New Zealand at 25th in the global sustainability index which considers the pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans and biodiversity. New Zealand ranked 105th in policy, 17th in pollution, 37th in climate change, 43rd in oceans, 92nd in biodiversity and 27th in energy.
The government declared the second-ever zero carbon act in late 2019, but it is currently on course to miss its 2030 targets. There are no policies against high emission projects and New Zealand is purchasing international units to allow itself emissions until 2050.
The 2017 Global Peace Index, which compares 162 countries for the risk of personal violence, rates New Zealand as the world’s second safest country just after Iceland.
In a world of a global health crisis, a cricket test is great, but hopefully New Zealand can pull its socks up in other areas.
New Zealand has the highest rate of teen suicide in the OECD, and it leads the developed world with respect to domestic violence. One in four of our kids live in poverty. We have the second highest rate of bullying in schools, businessman Sir Ray Avery Says.
The Black Caps and other top NZ sport stars could take a leaf out of global soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s books. Ronaldo moved two bottles of Coke aside in a press conference yesterday and told people to drink water instead. Coca Cola’s market value immediately dropped $4 billion.