Since the dawn of time (well, not really, but for quite a while) New Zealanders have found a way to recognise Waitangi Day in London. Someone, somewhere, decided a few years back that a London-based pub crawl around the Circle Line would be the most respectful method for expats to express their love for a wee island nation. Every year since, enthusiastic Kiwis have dressed up in costumes representing some aspect of the homeland before getting mightily pissed.
And somehow the London police not only tolerate this occasion – they look forward to it! As long as crawl-goers follow the unwritten rule of ‘don’t be a dick’ then the London police force allows us one day a year to drink cans of beer in public and wander merrily, dressed like lunatics. It’s worth noting at this point that Waitangi Day celebrations from within New Zealand are very different. I have never, ever gone on a Waitangi Day pub crawl in New Zealand and nor do I ever expect to. This is a London-only oddity.
This was my fourth year on the crawl and like other years, I dressed up and had a lot of fun. In my first year I was a member of the ‘Crazy Horses’ gang. Year two I wore a newspaper-covered boiler suit adorned with pictures of ‘Fush & Chups’. For the last two crawls my boyfriend and I have pooled our brainpower and creativity towards a hardcore-handmade-matching-costumes-approach: we were L&P cans for 2013 and Whittaker’s Peanut Slabs for 2014.
While the novelty of drinking a beer in public has has worn off over the years, the best part of the crawl is chatting to other insane Kiwis. A good costume is guaranteed to get ‘mad props’. We were the only Peanut Slabs I saw on the crawl so were pretty popular for photo-ops. The only downside was that we were also magnets for obnoxious drunk people. I don’t know what it is about wearing a giant cardboard box but I may as well have worn a sign saying ‘punch me really hard’ because that’s exactly what kept happening…Needless to say I started to get pretty annoyed and started telling people in a patronising fashion: “If you punch me I will not be nice to you OR pose for a photo with you, because you were rude. Yes I am serious. Go away.”
Rant over. For the most part people were fun and friendly.
So, I reckon we single-handedly boosted online orders of Whittaker’s chocolate this weekend…wonder what that’s worth to a hungry homesick Kiwi? 😉