NZ beaches not named in the top 10

08 March 2013

New Zealand's absence from online travel guide Trip Advisor's list of the top 10 beaches in the world is absolutely outrageous to many Kiwis, University of Canterbury social science lecturer Lyndon Fraser said.

NZ beaches not named in the top 10 - Imported from Legacy News system

New Zealand’s absence from online travel guide Trip Advisor’s list of the top 10 beaches in the world is absolutely outrageous to many Kiwis, University of Canterbury social science lecturer Lyndon Fraser said.

The recent Trip Advisor list of the world’s best beaches included a beach in Australia and a beach in Wales.

Associate Professor Fraser, who has researched beaches, said the beach was such a vital part of what New Zealanders saw as the typical Kiwi summer: waves and sunshine, the barbeque, the sand between our toes, beach cricket.

"It plays a key role in advertising, here and abroad. Some even say that beaches are foundational to who are and how we think of ourselves as Kiwis. There is a long history to this. We have been beach-crossers from the beginning of human colonisation on these shores.

"I also think about how beaches have been highways for goldminers on the rugged West Coast of the South Island; and later about the tram lines that took our grandparents and great-grandparents out to Sumner or New Brighton for a day at the seaside. I also can’t help but recall the powerful image of the piano on the beach in Jane Campion’s famous film.

"So it goes deep for Kiwis. Many of our own childhood memories and family stories relate back to the beach. As historian Jock Philips has said, it’s seen as the essence of ‘being Kiwi’ and belonging here; so much so that access feels like our birthright, hence the depth of feeling over seabed and foreshore.

"Be it Waihi, Raglan, Gillespies, Kaitere, Piha, Whale Bay and so on the fact a Welsh beach has beaten us sparks a sense of outrage. We should be upset a Welsh beach is there ahead of us.’’

Professor Fraser said the vast majority of people who voted for the top 10 have never visited New Zealand. However, Australia deserved to be on the list as it had the best beaches in the world which was why so many Kiwis flock there to live and for holidays, he said.

The New Zealand weather was not always ideal for the beach. The surf is sometimes dangerous and unpredictable.

"We might sell ourselves as 100% Pure, but is it realistic to think that tourists will flock here for our beaches, even though we love them? We need a reality check on that one. The other stuff we have on offer is surely more important: our wonderful wine and food; clubs; music; outdoor festivals; the mountains and scenery.

"At least Christchurch is rated in another travel guide, Lonely Planet, as one of the top 10 cities in the world for 2013.’’

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