Covering Gandalf and Bear Grylls in Cheese

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Hello, everyone – I’m in Dunedin at the moment!

The last time I was here was nearly ten years ago when I was a kid, and we only stayed for a day or two before continuing on to the next stop in our New Zealand campervan rental, so it’s like I’m visiting it for the first time now and it’s awesome.

Awesome – there’s a well-used kiwi word that’s rubbed off on me. At least I’m not saying things like “sweet as”. I mean sweet as what, for goodness’ sake?

Anyway, I’m not going to write a comprehensive ‘what to do in Dunedin’ article until after I get back to Auckland. What I’m going to talk about this week is the Air New Zealand safety video. (My boyfriend and I didn’t end up hiring a campervan in Auckland and driving down like we wanted, as we were constrained by both time and money. Ah well. Flying to Dunedin was pleasant enough and took little over an hour and a half.)

I’m probably a tad late on the bandwagon talking about the Air New Zealand safety videos. They’ve been up on YouTube for eons. The most famous one was the one they made to promote the first Hobbit film: An Unexpected Briefing. You should have a watch if you haven’t seen it.

Yes, it’s incredibly cheesy. But that’s part of its charm. And, let’s face it, who would bother to watch the safety video all that carefully anymore if there wasn’t some novelty to it? I think it’s genius.

The success of the Hobbit safety video led to them using the same ‘cover popular figures with cheese’ principle for their next video, the one that my boyfriend and I got: The Bear Essentials of Safety with none other than Bear Grylls. Again, watch it.

It’s not as good as the Lord of the Rings one. Bear Grylls seems a bit too attached to that massive fish he’s using to represent hand luggage.

There have been other safety videos including Fit to Fly with Richard Simmons (!) and one featuring the All Blacks. Because this is New Zealand. Everything has to feature the All Blacks.

I can imagine if you were a frequent flyer with Air New Zealand, these videos would become incredibly annoying, but for the rest of us they’re a definite breath of fresh air.

Air New Zealand is one of the best airlines in the world and they have a pretty good sense of humour. They’ll be my first choice whenever I need to fly again, (which might be next year – an OE* in Europe!)

*Overseas Experience, a New Zealand term for an extended overseas working holiday, usually taken soon after uni graduation. Yes, New Zealand is amazing and I want to have a family here and grow old, but for young people who’ve been trapped here since childhood, it’s so very small and isolated, and most people my age have a manic desire to GTFO. If I – when I do go, I know I’ll be back.

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3 thoughts on “Covering Gandalf and Bear Grylls in Cheese

  1. Carol says:

    It is a beautiful country, but I miss the history of Europe. A history that you can feel, see, touch, and probably smell, (in the case of York.) I miss the wonderful Tudor castles and houses. Hope you keep on writing this blog when you are back. PS, loved the poem.

  2. Jaden says:

    Thanks for posting! Looking forward to read more about Dunedin!

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