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NZ Quote of the Year finalists chosen
Friday 14 December 2012, 1:26PM
By Massey University

From Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker's fear for his safety while in Wellington to John Banks' memory blanks, it was another stellar year for the witty one-liner.

The 10 shortlisted finalists in Massey’s annual Quote of the Year competition will now be put to a public vote.

Some of the quotes were unintentionally funny: Finance Minister Bill English told us the amount New Zealand stood to gain from selling state assets was not Treasury's best guess, but "just a guess". Others were scripted to make us cringe: "Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, boom" went the adoring rugby fan in the Mastercard advert.

The politicians dominated the entries again this year – there were two relating to the John Banks-Dotcom saga, and Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett snuck in with a late but memorable entry with her "Zip it sweetie" instruction to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern in Parliament.

But comedians, broadcasters and a Mt Roskill Grammar pupil were also in the mix. On Campbell Live 17-year-old Joshua Iosefo gave an inspiring speech that asked Pasifika youth to move beyond such attitudes as: “Who needs to be able to quote Shakespeare if you can play rugby?”

The New Zealand Quote of the Year is run by Dr Heather Kavan, a speech-writing specialist at Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing.

She says the best quotes are often short and fun to say in different contexts. “Several of the quotes that have topped American lists in recent years are terse and punchy, like ‘Don't tase me, bro!’ and ‘I am not a witch.’”

Dr Kavan and her judging panel, which also included Massey’s Vice-Chancellor and former politician Steve Maharey, narrowed down several dozen entries nominated by Massey students and the general public to a top 10.

“We chose what we thought were the most memorable ones,” Dr Kavan says. “While delivery wasn’t critical, it inevitably influenced our decision. ‘Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, boom!’ wouldn’t be such a hit without actor Byron Coll saying it.

“The quote we debated most was John Banks’ ‘I don’t remember’. It’s not as colourful as his cabbage boat remark, but the context makes it memorable.” 

Now, it is your chance to vote on what stuck in your mind or tickled your fancy this year.

Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday December 20, with the winner announced on December 21.

The shortlisted finalists for the 2012 New Zealand Quote of the Year are:

  • I come to Wellington and I'm scared to be here.  (Bob Parker speaking to an emergency management conference in Wellington about the state of Wellington buildings.)
  • I did not come up the river on a cabbage boat.  (John Banks responding to media questions about Dotcom.)
  • I don't remember. (John Banks’ response when asked about his helicopter ride to Dotcom's mansion.)
  • I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess, it's just a guess.  (Bill English estimating the financial value of selling state assets.)
  • New Zealand’s got some great brains out there and most of them are kids.  (Luke Nola accepting the New Zealand Television Award for Best Children’s/Youth programme.)
  • Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, boom! (Actor Byron Coll as an overly familiar fan greeting Ma’a Nonu in the Mastercard All Blacks advertisement.)
  • Oh f...k!  I can’t afford that.  (Ewen Gilmour after his doctor told him he was going to live for another 40 years.)
  • Who needs to be able to quote Shakespeare if you can play rugby?  (17-year-old Joshua Iosefo on Campbell Live giving his Mt Roskill Grammar School speech.)
  • Your dish was a car crash but all of the occupants survived.  (Josh Emett judging on Masterchef New Zealand.)
  • Zip it, sweetie.  (Paula Bennett to Jacinda Ardern in Parliament.)


Watch the video of the finalists then click here to vote for the 2012 Quote of the Year. INDEX