About where I live. New Zealanders are used to living alongside a lot of Polynesians with their delightfully high crime-rates and high rates of welfare dependency -- not to mention all those delightful Maori gangs
Is New Zealand columnist Daya Willis sure she really visited Brisbane? Last weekend she attacked the city, claiming it to be the "mono-cultural capital of Australia", a racists' paradise and cultural backwater, through her article in the country's biggest-selling weekend newspaper, The Weekend Herald. Perhaps her tour bypassed Brisbane's great melting pots for the six days she was in the River City.
West End's Boundary Street, New Farm's James Street, Brunswick Street Mall, the Asian influences of Sunnybank, Moorooka's Sudanese, our numerous markets and New Farm's Powerhouse.
"Brown people are still rare enough to attract sideways glances in suburban Queensland," she wrote. "Travellers should not opt for Brisbane if they're after a taste of indigenous culture. They should not, in fact, opt for Brisbane if they're after a taste of any culture besides white Australia, because they will be bitterly disappointed."
The director of inner-city theatre and events venue the Powerhouse, Andrew Ross, said: "She did not go shop where I shop, eat where I eat or walk down the same streets. "She certainly did not venture down to the Powerhouse, where New Zealand's greatest contemporary Polynesian band Te Vaka played recently."
Brisbane city councillor Tim Nicholls said: "I disagree substantially with what she has said. You don't have to go far to see great and diverse festivals. She obviously did not go very far or open her eyes very wide. "She has all the hallmarks of the chardonnay-sipping social elite, any one who spends any time in Brisbane knows of our culture diversity, it is reverse snobbery," he said.
Willis was apparently admitted to hospital for chronic dehydration on day three of her visit, so her "not nice" aspects of Brisbane may be tainted. They include oppressive summer heat; numerous brash inhabitants; bland, mall-style shopping; hand-sized spiders; lack of footpaths and a flavourless, one-dimensional cultural mix....
Brisbane Festival director Lyndon Terracini said: "I think she needs to get a life. Brisbane is an incredibly progressive, vibrant and adventurous city, and 200 people move here a day. When the festival comes out it will show we are one of the best cities in the world. "I have never heard that view from anyone. It is the most perverse, idiotic thing."
Not surprisingly, the article was entitled "White man's paradise". "Even the white people of Brisbane feel roundly similar: suburban, middle-class, conservative," she wrote. "Having done time in the mono-cultural capital of Australia, it does strike me that hanging out with people much like oneself for all the hours that God sends might get a bit limiting."
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