The Spring Bok-Choi Riots of 1981
November 27, 2014 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Following a question posted on social media forum Reddit asking if gardening in New Zealand was illegal, a satirical thread on the topic has gone viral. "My brother was killed in the Moutua Gardens protest. My uncle lost an arm in the 1981 Spring Bok-choi Riots. My sisters were arrested and thrown into prison, without trial, by a police-led mob after they were discovered re-potting gardenias. Every day I live in fear, alienated by my community for having relatives marked by the Green Thumb. I envy the dead."
posted by Sebmojo (21 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Kinda weird not to link to the thread in question when the post is about it, so I have done so.
posted by Justinian at 6:58 PM on November 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

But... the thread never did get around to answering the question: Is it illegal to garden in New Zealand?

Fun fact: When I was very young I had assumed that New Zealand was where all the Zs lived, and that the island was full of them.
posted by surazal at 7:17 PM on November 27, 2014 [15 favorites]

It's common practice, especially among the elderly to build a shed over their garden making it invisible from the road. These covered gardens are passed down the generations (assuming they remain undetected by the Police flying-squads) and have in some cases resulted in the remarkable evolution of vegetables. For example, Broccoli turns totally white, and begins to taste like banana after many many years being grown and seeded from the proceeding parent plant in an environment that receives no sunlight whatsoever. Cauliflower however, turns bright purple and somewhat surprisingly begins to taste like beef.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:25 PM on November 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Forget it, Jake. It's Reddit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Loved it.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:50 PM on November 27, 2014

It's like reading the Thursday Next world version of New Zealand.
posted by angeline at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I saw a young couple sharing an orange openly in the street the other day, juice running down their faces and hands. I just felt so sorry for them.

This is hilarious, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 8:00 PM on November 27, 2014

Oh this is wonderful. New Zealanders have such a great sense of humour.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:16 PM on November 27, 2014

Justinian: "Kinda weird not to link to the thread in question when the post is about it, so I have done so."

Justinian, Sebmojo posted this to Metafilter with a link to the Reddit thread yesterday, and it got deleted for linking to a raw reddit thread, so I think he was erring on the side of caution this time, in case the issue was "linking to Reddit threads = deletion" as opposed to "only linking to Reddit threads = deletion"
posted by Bugbread at 9:41 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

assuming they remain undetected by the Police flying-squads

You jest, but that's the only way to explain those "Speed Enforced By Airplane" signs on speed limits.
posted by maryr at 9:59 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

At the risk of over-explaining a magnificent joke - the controversy over the real Springbok 1981 tour was a big deal in NZ and Sth Africa.
posted by hawthorne at 10:50 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The whole thread works on that logic, hawthorne. The Moutua Gardens protest, Uruwera raids, and the 1951 waterfront dispute—all actual events—are repurposed and mashed up to produce this surreal alternate history. Having said that though, it's all true.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:06 AM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

It pays to be a New Zealander to get some of the subtleties - for example, a few years ago a nationwide chain of "indoor plant growing equipment" shops, after operating quite successfully for several years, were suddenly raided, closed down, and arrests made. So yeah growing stuff is illegal, it just depends on the stuff.
posted by arzakh at 3:45 AM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd really like to hear the origins of this. Assuming it was a serious question, how did his friend convince him of this?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:17 AM on November 28, 2014

There is an ongoing and often-raised conversation in the NZ subreddit about our lethal megafauna. Without reading the sidebar (which links to myriad previous comments full of advice for tourists), some innocent will post something like, "New Zealand is so beautiful, I want to go there! What should I know?" Cue long passionate threads about moas, NZ's native giant flightless bird which will attack anything smaller than it, and the Haast Eagle, one of the largest eagles known to man, which swoops down and carries away sheep and sometimes people. Many an auntie or distant cousin has disappeared while tramping in the bush, never to be seen again.

Both of these birds are real. However it's much more fun when you don't tell people they're extinct.

When I lived in California, someone once asked me if we use "real money" in New Zealand. I really hope that guy still believes we barter in shells of varying size, like I told him.
posted by tracicle at 6:00 AM on November 28, 2014 [21 favorites]

An additional part of the humour is that NZ actually does have some of the most stringent policies on the import of plants in the world so there is an actual kernel of frustrated gardener truth at the bottom of the joke.
posted by srboisvert at 7:27 AM on November 28, 2014

I don't get the Holyoake Incident in 1967. Quick Googling suggests 1967 was the end of the 6 O'Clock Swill, but I'm not sure how that matches the Reddit thread. Or were the comments in the thread just random?

Also: references to Pea/Product dealers: "P" = Pure = Pure Methamphetamine, high-strength meth that was going around for a while. Walter White basically.

Much love for Waikikamukau and the Sensible Soiling Trust, too....

And I think we could all stand to adopt "I wish nothing but kumara for you. May life be one big sweet potato from here on out" as a blessing of sorts.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

...but think of the children sheep!
posted by sammyo at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2014

Ill considered fuit snack...
posted by Oyéah at 7:55 PM on November 28, 2014

I don't get the Holyoake Incident in 1967.

Keith Holyoake was Prime Minister of NZ in the 1960s. That's pretty much it.
posted by tracicle at 10:56 AM on November 29, 2014

A bit too thin for it's own post, but another fine Kiwi comments section regarding the sale of a dodgy Hilux turck. (via Cal Wilson)
posted by hawthorne at 7:21 PM on December 16, 2014

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