1980: The Independent State of Aramoana
December 24, 2018
23 December, 1980: Independent State of Aramoana formed.
Short version: Local village refuses to be legislated out of existence by a Think Big smelter. Wins. The end.
Longer version: This little settlement at north head of Otago Harbour has long been attractive to visitors thanks to its nice beach.
It was the reign of Muldoon’s National 3.0, his second term. The economy was in big trouble because of trade imbalance and the Oil Shock. In this year, 1980, Muldoon and his men came up with a new name for an old plan: Think Big. This would involve State economic intervention in large scale industrial projects such as dams. New Zealand had already had inflicted upon it such nonsenses as Carless Days and the Distracto Train. One Think Big would be a major aluminium smelter to bring in some bucks for New Zealand Inc. and National 3.0. Where? You guessed it, Aramoana.
Now, if this happened today in our current phase of culture most Kiwi towns would crumble for sure. If the town were in a Victimhood Culture phase they would Hollywood and moan and advertise their offence and the injustice of it all until they got their way. If the town were further along the prognosis then it would be in full on Slave Culture and simply do as it were told. There might be some passive aggressive blow back to attempt to get needs met, perhaps a bit of vandalism, bit of drug crime, but it would be quite ineffective.
Aramoana village was at different part of the Kiwi culture cycle and added to that, evidently, had a strong community and individuals imbued with active purpose. Their Means of Production was to identify their own problems and form their own hands-on solutions. Government would have to get out of the way and/or try to take the credit, because people were still determined to live their own lives. For example, in 1980, Neighbourhood Watch was instituted and spread across the nation. To blazes with waiting for Police, Government, to shepherd us. We would do it ourselves. Hundreds of signs like the one pictured here are still out there on power and lamp posts fading away, remains of our previous Culture.
Back in the 1970s New Zealand’s culture was in a more muscular arc. We were healthy, physical, politically incorrect. We had challenging children’s playgrounds and adventurous recreation. We still had exotic animals and exhibitions and we had scenic flights to the frozen continent: Antarctica.- Previous post re Erebus in 1979 which marked the ending of such national sentiments. But Aramoana had been called out as early as 1974 to respond to what would later be called Think Big.
Thus the inspiring response from these Kiwis, their Means of Production to get their needs met, was active rather than passive. They didn’t go play some Lotto or get tattoos or get drunk or allow cricket or even Christmas to distract them. Nor did they expend their energy in a useless tantrum like some 2018 Frenchman rioting.
Like The Republic of Hawera, (1879,) the Independent State of Aramoana (1980) emphasised decisive leadership and a will to act independently of The State. Aramoana established a border post, coat of arms, an embassy of ambassadors, their own passports and citizenship certificates! Their own postage stamps, post marks, and post cards. According to Wikipedia, they marshalled psychologists and artists and performers to their cause. The national publicity toward this clear sign of resistance caused The State to back down.
By the end of 1981 the Big Think was out of Thinks. Muldoon’s lot could not make the deal work. Aramoana’s work done, it quietly and peacefully reunified with New Zealand.
Ref. Save Aramoana Campaign, wikivisually.com
Image ref. Te Ara