The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Money Over Morals …
December 2, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Apathy, Culture, Death, New Zealand, Youth

A couple of days ago, a New Zealand research company – one used by a huge array of big business here – gave a speech to a broad marketing audience and said the concept of ‘tall poppy’ was dead.

They had the audacity to say this the day after Jake Millar committed suicide. The arrogance to say this when they reside in a country that continues to have one of the worst – if not the worst – youth suicide rates per capita on earth.

There are many reasons that contribute to the terrible suicide rate, but ‘tall poppy’ is, without doubt, one of them.

A significant one of them.

The biggest open – yet oppressed – secret in the country.

So to that company, I want to say this.

You are not just complicit to the problem, you are playing an active role in it.

By making statements like that, you’re placing all the blame on the people who felt they had no other choice. You’re telling parents their kids situation & context didn’t exist. You’re telling NZ, they can continue to look the other way. You’re telling the friends, family and colleagues of 26 year old Jake Millar, pictured at the top of this post, that the media who revelled in getting the nation to celebrate his business failure – and then attached all manner of additional negative personal narratives to his name = are blameless.

Do you realise what you’ve done?

Do you understand the implications of your actions?

You’ve just told the nation they can carry on as they are. That their perpetual and persistent judgement and abuse is simply ‘banter’.

How fucking malicious of you.

Be grateful I’m not calling out your name because what you did is shameless.

But let me reassure you, we will be chatting and I’ll be reminding you of your responsibility to the truth, not to making money from reinforcing a cultural narrative of denial.



When You Destroy Their Hope, You Destroy Their Will To Keep Trying …
November 30, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Apathy, Colenso, Culture, Death, New Zealand, Youth

A 26 year old Kiwi killed himself yesterday.

That’s him in the photo at the top of this post.

His name is Jake Millar.

Of course the press refer to Jake’s death by saying ‘he died’ … due to some twisted logic about not wanting to encourage more people to die by suicide when that strategy has obviously failed given NZ continues to have one of the highest death by suicide rates for youth per capita in the world.

And what was the probable cause of Jake’s terribly sad decision?

The joyous pile-on the press did on him for having his second business fail.

They accused him of terrible things.

Theft. Arrogance. Exploitation. Purposefully ignoring – or devaluing – the amazing success this young man had achieved prior to this situation.

Hell, he felt he had to move to Kenya to be able to get away from the judgement and sniggers.

And even that wasn’t far enough away for him.

NZ is in danger of robbing kids of their right to try. To fail. To explore. To dream.

The ramifications on the future of NZ for acting this way is huge. But not as much as it is on the youth of the country.

For a nation that loves to talk about being ‘pioneers’, we are openly and actively oppressing that spirit under the guise of ‘staying humble’. It is nothing of the sort. It’s control and fear.

New Zealand is a brilliant, amazing, beautiful country.

I feel truly honoured and grateful to be able to live here with my family.

But this continual situation, is nothing short of a national disgrace.

In March, Colenso bring out a book about the lack of hope youth feel living here, following interviews with kids all across NZ.

It’s utterly terrifying … scarier than pretty much all the places I’ve lived before and done this work before.

But what makes it even worse is it won’t come to a surprise to anyone.

Not really. Not if they’re honest, rather than being culturally complicit.

I’ve been in this country 8 months and it has been as clear as day to me.

A lot of people don’t like me saying that. They think I should shut up and be grateful to be here. In fact I’ve faced a bunch of abuse for talking about it.

Yep … rather than be angry at this terrible, on-going reality, some have chosen to be angry at me for talking about a situation everyone knows but few talk about. Especially in public.

I’ve been told I should keep quiet. That I don’t know enough about the situation. That I am unaware of all the things contributing to the situation or the ways the country is trying to change the situation.

And they’re right, I don’t know enough.

I’m trying to learn as fast as I can, but I don’t know enough.

But I tell you what I do know …

This country has a terrible youth suicide rate.
This country has a terrible Maori suicide rate.
This country has a terrible farmer suicide rate.

And for all the solutions in place, they are either not enough or not working well enough.

I’m not speaking out because I want to cause offence.
I’m not speaking out because I think it makes me look smart.
I’m speaking out because I am thankful to this country for the generosity it has shown me and my family and I want to repay that gift by actively trying to help address a situation that cannot continue to be overlooked or brushed under the carpet as some sort of inconvenience.

Thankfully there are a great many people in this country who are speaking up. Who are doing things to try and ensure no kid will feel they have no other choice they can make. Who listen rather than judge.

But we need more.

We need the government to deal with the situation, not be political about the situation..We need the media to write about the situation, not be complicit to hiding it – or worse, igniting it. And we need companies in NZ to stop demanding conformity and encouraging individuality.

That’s not going to solve the issue, but it will likely help it. Because the youth are amazing when they’re backed, encouraged and supported.

Yes they will make mistakes – like we all make mistakes – but they’re not trying to destroy anything or hurt anyone so why the hell are we doing exactly that to them?

It may not be intentional.
It may not always be overt.
But it’s happening. Jake Millar is living proof of that..

There will be a lot of people talking and writing about the tragic loss of Virgil Abloh.

Please don’t let that drown out the name and loss of Jake Millar.

You can read more about him here and I offer nothing but my deepest condolences to Jake’s family, friends and colleagues – past and present.



You Can’t Stop Sport …
September 20, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Culture, Sport, Talent, Youth

This is a real t-shirt from the 80’s.

Not sure who would commission such a thing, but I can imagine skateboarders loved wearing it as they were breaking the law.

But now, in 2021, we can categorically say the people behind it are wrong.

Because as we saw, skateboarding IS an Olympic sport and it was brilliant to see.

To witness someone win an Olympic medal before they are even a teenager was incredible.

Not just for what they achieved, but how they will have connected to a generation of youth who will not only now see sport in a new light … but will also be able to see the potential of what they can achieve.

We need more of that.

Because in a World where everyone acts like they’ve achieved success, skateboarding doesn’t let you get away with it.

Sure you can buy the clothes.

Sure you can hang out in the right places.

But when you get on that board, it makes you work for everything you get.

No shortcuts. No favours. Just commitment, practice and effort.

Which makes every success worth celebrating.

Which is what we should all be celebrating.

Which may explain why the Olympics was still special, when in some ways, it should have passed us by without so much as a whisper.

Here’s to more sport being legitimised by incredibly talented young athletes who some people have wanted to keep in the shadows.