New Zealand Amber Davenport

Amber Davenport

Sometimes if we imagine the perfect country, it’s often New Zealand. The climate is mild and it’s quite exotic (but you don’t have to worry about deadly spiders and snakes like Australia!) The people are laidback and relaxed, the food is tasty and people and politics seem just nicer.

Of course we have a lot in common with New Zealanders, but they do tend to do things a lot different to here. They have far more progressive politics, with lots of Green MPs and eco-friendly politicians of every ilk. They look after their planet and also have more tolerance for other faiths. After the tragic massacre a few years back, the then-Prime Minister famously comforted the victims’ families. During COVID, she was praised for her strict yet compassionate approach. The death rate was much lower, and she personally telephoned the family of each person who died.

A lovely story about that tragic day. When the Muslim community returned to pray, they were understandably frightened. And when they turned up, they could not believe what they saw. The local ‘burly men’ (often covered in tattoos) had turned up to protect them, by waiting outside the mosque. The Muslim community invited them in, and they refused saying they would not interrupt their prayer, but they were part of the same community. Could you imagine the newspapers reporting on that here? They would more likely whip up hatred against faiths.

a few plant-based New Zealand recipes to try!

Because New Zealand is kind of a land where other people landed, there is not much ‘national food’. Although beer and lamb are popular, there is a high percentage of vegans. Lamingtons and Anzac biscuits are two popular desserts, as are desserts made with kiwi fruit. Overall the cuisine is pretty similar to most European countries. New Zealand also has a thriving wine industry.

Vegan Anzac Biscuits (Rainbow Nourishments) are made with oats and coconut. You just need everyday kitchen ingredients to make these soft chewy caramel treats.

Easy Vegan Lamingtons (Rainbow Nourishments) is a recipe for a popular snack both in Australia and New Zealand. They are made by covering a vanilla sponge cake in dried coconut and chocolate, and filling with jam or vegan cream.

Vegan Pavlova (Addicted to Dates) may be Russian, but it’s one of New Zealand’s most popular desserts. The soft marshmallow centre is topped with strawberries and non-dairy cream, made with aquafaba (vegan meringue) and no eggs.

New Zealand’s animal welfare party

friends Chantal Kaufmann

Chantal Kaufmann

New Zealand has joined many other countries, in launching its own animal welfare party. Animal Justice Party has been launched to help create a more compassionate and just society for all animals, through promoting ethical treatment and better legal protection of all species.

From campaigning for humane research to banning animals being exploited for entertainment, the party also wants the government to create a Commissioner for animals, a simple initiative that could do huge amounts of good. This law is also supported by organisations across New Zealand who work on the frontline of animal welfare, and are sometimes powerless to act, due to inadequacies in the law, in a country known for its higher animal welfare standards than most other countries. An independent Commissioner for Animals would be able to propose legislative changes and enforcement, where basic requirements were being ignored or compromised.

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