In the comic, The Big Bad Wolf, I tried to emulate the true, authentic, New Zealand.

I was 18 when I drew this. Through my University studies I touched on the notion of authenticity whilst writing about New Zealand in a couple of essays. In super short, there is no such thing as an authentic New Zealand, it is entirely made up. True authentic New Zealand is in posters, in beer advertisements, and on Mainland cheese ads. Then how could I have drawn this, if it was all fake?

I drew every image in The Big bad Wolf instinctively. I knew, somewhere, what the true New Zealand was. What it looked like. What it felt like.

The idea of perfect New Zealandness had been blasted into my brain ever since I was old enough to engage with media. The Big Bad Wolf is a sample specimen for what ideology can do to ones subconscious. It was all subconscious reflection of what I had been programmed to believe was the true New Zealand.

And here we have it, the perfect New Zealand bloke, and his perfect New Zealand bloke girlfriend. Conn works on his farm all day, and is a pugilist. He is ripped, hard bodied and says very little. Like Bambi’s father he fits naturally into his bush surrounding. Jackie is the same, except even more exact to the perfect New Zealand mould. It is somewhat unique that New Zealand women are also seen to be tough and hardened. Both characters are set up in such a longing way. They flirt with the possibility that if one looked deeply enough into the New Zealand countryside, they might actually find a Conn or Jackie.

But here’s the twist. The main inspirations for this comic were animal stories, which deal with fakeness. Brer Rabbit, Disney’s Bambi and Robin Hood. So perhaps I knew, in my 18 year old subconscious mind, that the true New Zealand was fake. It was the domain of legendary talking animals like The Great Prince of the Forest and his son. I had actually parodied it, taken it to too far an extreme, like having a boxing ring in a pub. And when all is said and done, it is only a comic. Authentic New Zealand remains where it will always be, in the drawings done by anxious New Zealanders confused as to what the fuck their national identity is.

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