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Direct-to-Consumer Advertising



New Zealand is the only other country besides the United States to allow Direct-to-Consumer advertising (DTC). The countries that ban this advertising are worried that it will cause more harm than good. In Janelle Appelquist’s presentation in our Comm 410 class, a domino effect was brought up. These DTC ads tend to increase the amount of people who are on prescription medicine. These medicines often cause side effects which require more medication to fix, and so on and so on. Other worries include Doctors being pressured to describe the brand-name medication over the cheaper, generic kind as well as the ads being misleading and false.

The FDA controls the ads in the United States and the ads in New Zealand are regulated by the Ministry of Health and the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code. These codes and agencies do their best to prevent misleading or false advertisements, but it does not stop the companies from “driving” the public to their brand.

Those who argue for DTC advertising say that the companies are not necessarily driving the public to a specific brand, but simply igniting a conversation between the patient and the doctor. If the patient sees an ad that may describe some of the patient’s symptoms, the patient will go in to the Doctor to talk about it. The Doctor can then determine if that medication is the right fit for the patient (hopefully the Doctor is competent!).

This article by Matthew Arnold is an interesting argument for the use of DTC advertising. The lecture from Janelle Appelquist included many negetive aspects of the advertising, so it is interesting to see the other side. Arnold says that these advertisements are very beneficial to the public because they make them aware of a problem they might not have known they had and make them visit the Doctor. His theory is that the public is less likely to go visit the Doctor if they believe everything is fine.

It will be interesting to see if any more countries decide to allow DTC advertising or if New Zealand or the United States decide to ban it.


Australian Customs

I was curious to see if there were any differences in Australian social customs and I happened upon the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship. They have a section entitled “Living in Australia” that very clearly outlines the Australian Social Customs for someone who is thinking about moving to Australia.

Obviously, these guidelines are meant for someone who is not used to Western culture and civilization. To someone in America, some of the things on the website seem obvious and sort of comical. I decided to share some of them here.

How do we great people?

“When meeting someone for the first time, it is usual to shake the person’s right hand with your right hand.”

“Many Australians look at the eyes of the people they are talking with… Do not stare at the person for a long time.”

What are the clothing customs?

australia bikini“Many Australians live close to the beach and the sea. On hot days, they may wear little clothing on the beach and surrounds. This does not mean that people who dress to go to the beach or swimming have low moral standards. It means that this is what we accept on and near beaches.”

What is considered polite behaviour?

“We also say, ‘Excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ if we burp or belch in public or a person’s home.”

“Most Australians blow their noses into a handkercheifs or tissues, not onto the footpath. This is also true for spitting.”


The website also explains some Australian slang as well as “How do I respond to an invitation?”

Personally, I think this site is comical because I am used to the culture and social customs of western society. It is interesting to realize that someone moving to Australia from and Asian or Polynesian country may not have the same social customs so this site would be extremely helpful to them.

I looked up to see if the US had a similar site, and I was surprised to find that there are a lot of sites that explain American social customs. I had never thought that it would be necessary to learn social customs from the internet. I had always thought when traveling I would learn from experience. This is a great way to learn, however, because it is less likely that you will offend someone if you study before visiting a different culture.


All quotes are from the following site:


— Katie Mixer


Best Dressed Possum

The schools in New Zealand have turned to something quirky to raise money.

Students at the Uruti School participated in a fundraiser where they dressed up dead possums in doll clothing. The event raised $8000 and the Principal of the school, Pauline Sutton, said it was one of the best turn outs they had ever had. The money raised was two times as much as they originally expected.

The article does not go into detail about how the money was actually raised. Maybe the possum dolls were sold? However the money was raised, the SPCA called the event “disappointing”. They said the fundraiser completely went against their mission of teaching children respect and empathy for animals. Dressing up dead possums doesn’t seem to to be very respectful of animals, but Pauline Sutton thinks differently. “Animals aren’t the only species that are dressed up after they die. We do it to humans, too.”

My concern with that statement is that humans are dressed in life as well as death. Animals go around naked all their life, so why put clothes on them after they die unless to make a mockery of it?

This event shows just how unique the culture is in rural parts of New Zealand. It is unlike the majority of the things you see in the United States. The Uruti School has only 14 students and their “Pig Hunt” fundraiser (as this is called) happens annually. Hunting is a large part of culture in that area, so the residents do not bat an eye at the Best Dressed Possum competition.

Do you agree with this event? Is it malicious or done in a good sense of fun?

Here are some pictures of the possums from Taranaki Daily News Online:

possum3 possum4 possum2 possum5 possumpic1


More Than Just a Didgeridoo

When most people think of the Aborigines of Australia, they probably think of boomerangs, didgeridoos, and maybe Ayers Rock. It’s difficult to describe the Aborigines all at once because their traditions and culture vary from region to region. The returning boomerang was only used in south-eastern Australia and the didgeridoo was used along the northern coast. Before the British started colonizing Australia in 1788, there were more than 400 tribes. The groups that lived in the arid interior of the continent were untouched by European influence until the 1940’s.

aboriginalsSome say the Aboriginal culture is one of the oldest surviving cultures because the people have kept up with many of their traditions without being influenced by the incoming European cultures. Up until the 1960’s, the majority of the Aborigines were still using the old methods of using sharpened stone to create necessary products. They have also maintained their religions, which vary from region to region but have the same basic structure. The landscape plays a very important part in Aboriginal religious beliefs and prominent landmarks either represent a deity or something the deity did during the Creation Period. This Creation Period is important to their beliefs because it is the foundation for everything. They also call it the Dreamtime and they believe that dreams are a way of seeing back into the Creation Period.

The culture of the Aborigines is important to Australia because it represents the foundation of their country. Their flag is one of the

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Official Flags of Australia. They are proud of their culture and they want the world to be aware of it, but they want to try to keep as much of their ceremony and ritual as secret as possible to preserve their tradition.

20% of the land in Australia belongs to the Aborigines. How would things be different in America if 20% of the land belonged to the Native Americans? Do you think Australia did a better job at preserving the culture of the Aborigines than America did at preserving the culture of the Native Americans? Should the Aborigines be left to their own devices or should they be more integrated into modern life in order to make their lives “easier”?

–Katie Mixer


Embarrassing Rugby Score

Rugby is a full-contact sport that originated at the Rugby School in Rugby, England. It is a very important sport in both New Zealand and Australia and has become a part of both countries’ cultural identity. In Australia, there are both Rugby Union teams (15 players) and Sevens teams (7 players per team). Women’s Rugby is just as popular as Men’s and all ages are encouraged to play. 5 teams from Australia compete in Super Rugby, which is a tournament played by teams from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The Parramatta Eels react to their crushing loss against the Sydney Roosters

The Parramatta Eels react to their crushing loss against the Sydney Roosters

The National Rugby League in Australia is a professional league that consists of sixteen teams, fifteen from eastern Australia and one from New Zealand. A recent game played in the NRL resulted in one of the most embarrassing scores in the league in 66 years. The Sydney Roosters scored nine tries against the Parramatta Eels that resulted in a score of 50-0. says the major score difference was due to a mixture of excellence from the Roosters and lack of it from the Eels.

Sports are an important part of any culture. It serves as a way for people to bond over their shared teams and it also instills a sense of national pride. In international competitions, the best and worst of each country is portrayed by their fans and players. Sports offer up friendly competition between nations, regions, and cities, but it also allows friendships to form because they all have the one sport in common.

Are sports an important part of American culture? Does it shape us as a society? Would a devastating loss like this effect an American fanbase? Do you think sports are an important part of culture?

–Katie Mixer



New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage

Photo Credit: CNN International News

Photo Credit: CNN International News

Today (April 17, 2013), New Zealand became the 13th country to legalize same-sex marriage. The vote in parliament was 77 to 44 to amend the Marriage Act that was put in place in 1955. The next step in the process is for the governor-general to give royal consent to the amendment, but according to CNN News this is generally a given. This makes New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize gay marriage. In 2005, New Zealand passed a law that allowed civil unions but it wasn’t until now that same-sex couples could be joined in actual marriage. The law will not come into effect until about four months, but both gay and straight citizens have started to celebrate today in New Zealand.

It is heartening for the citizens of New Zealand to see their country take such a big step forward. The MP (member of parliament) of the Labor Party who sponsored this bill, Louisa Wall, is openly gay. She said that she was “very proud to be a member of a Parliament that has voted overwhelmingly to give New Zealanders, regardless of their sex,  sexual orientation or gender, the right to marry.” The people who were lucky enough to be observing the vote in the public gallery burst out singing the New Zealand national anthem (in the Maori language) as soon as the bill was passed.

Those who were opposed to the legislation were the Roman Catholic Church and other social, religious and political groups who believe that the bill would go against the idea of family. The bill states that any member of the clergy may refuse to officiate a same-sex marriage if it goes against their beliefs.

Australia had similar legislation up for discussion last year but they chose not to pass it. Groups that support same-sex marriage in Australia see the passing of the bill in New Zealand as an embarrassment because their country could have done the same thing, but didn’t.

Was it right for New Zealand to pass this bill? Could this happen in the United States? There are now 13 countries that have passed legislation that allow same-sex marriage. Do you think this number will start to grow quickly as other countries pass similar legislation or do you think the number will stay this low?





–Katie Mixer

Tangata Whenua

maorimanTangata whenua means people of the land in the Maori language (known simply as Maori or Te Reo Maori).

The Maori people are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand and came to the large archipelago in the 13th century by canoe. They have since settled on all three islands that make up New Zealand and their culture has continued to thrive  as Europeans and eventually the rest of the world has discovered the country.

Now, all races and ethnicities are represented in New Zealand and the Maori people make up only 15% of the population. This is actually a strikingly small percentage seeing as how big of an impact their culture has on the country. There are two national languages in New Zealand, English and Maori. Each language is taught in the school system and it is up to the individual to decide what language they would like to learn in. New Zealand also has a Maori Language Week that celebrates the indigenous language of the country as well as the 150,000 members of the population who can speak it.

The importance of the Maori culture was illustrated when the British Crown and the Maori signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The nzarmstreaty was then changed and adjusted to make it relevant in modern society. A government statement in 1989 solidified these changes. The main goals of the treaty are to ensure that The Crown (the New Zealand government) has freedom to govern but must actively protect Maori interests. The treaty outlines that The Crown has a duty to consult with the Maori and that the needs of both the Maori and the wider community must be met (which most likely requires compromise). The most important part of the treaty is that the Maori maintain control over all of their taonga or treasured things. This includes land as well as intangible cultural assets.

The government of New Zealand recognizes the importance of the Maori culture, although there is always going to be some tension that exists between the two entities. The Maori people feel as though some of the government’s actions disrespect their culture and that the media is unbalanced. There is a Maori Media Network that is devoted to the Maori audience, however most people believe that this is not enough.


Te Ara Encyclopedia –
New Zealand Tourism website –
“Media And Maori: Competing Priorities” –


–Katie Mixer