Sweetness & Light

They Nicest Country They Couldn’t Wait to Leave

It is extremely difficult to dislike New Zealanders. And, on occasion, it is extremely difficult to understand them. I was enjoying a café breakfast in the South Island town of Picton a few years ago when a local stopped by. He peered about, noticed no staff present, then turned to me and another foreign tourist—we were the only people in the place—and said: “Bulundurun.” No tonal inflection hinted at the nature of this statement. Was it a question? An observation? A warning, perhaps? Or even some form of threat? We stared dumbstruck at the fellow for a few seconds, then…

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