Stephen Chan


It is the beginning of 1987 and, in the best of all possible worlds, in the most mythic of worlds, the sea gods are at work in Fremantle. Tangaroa, God of the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, has arranged it all with his Fremande counterpart. Because of the French infamy in sinking the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, let the New Zealanders defeat French Kiss in the semi-finals of the America's Cup; because of the American infamy — bullying New Zealand for refusing entrance to U.S. nuclear warships, for keeping Tangaroa's waters pure — let the young New Zealanders defeat Denis Conner and his Stars and Stripes in the finals. Of course, at it turned out, Conner overcame the Kiwi syndicate and the consortium of gods; but, even if this had not been so, the divine vengeance would have come to an everyday halt. After all, the Australians hold the Cup; after defeating the Americans, the New Zealanders would have faced the Australians. Who would the Fremantle harbour god have supported then? After all the surface soil of myth, there is finally the bedrock of parochialism. Still, this is just myth-making: maybe the Fremantle divinity would have allowed victory to the New Zealanders because they have treated the Maori people with the slightest particle of that respect the Australians have denied the Aborigines. This is the soft underbelly of myth, the hopeful part.



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