Crossing Points: UK-Australia-New Zealand-Pacific. Photo ©

British Council, adapted from the original.

November 2019

The latest Crossing Points collection reveals the common interests and shared concerns of the UK and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

The bilateral relationship between the UK and its international partners is vital. In an age when many worry that walls are going up all over the world – both the concrete-and-steel variety, and the mental kind – the cultural connections between us are increasingly valuable. 

The latest in the British Council’s Crossing Points series – essay collections looking at the cultural elements of our country’s bilateral relationships – was recently launched in the UK. 

It’s a relationship that runs much deeper than butter and barbeques

Crossing Points: UK-Australia/New Zealand/Pacific contains ten essays about some of the things that connect and separate us. It’s a relationship that runs much deeper than butter and barbeques. Recent British Council research (which only looked at G20 countries and so does not give figures for New Zealand and the Pacific island nations) demonstrated the strong mutual attraction between societies on opposite sides of the world: young Brits ranked Australia as the top most attractive G20 country, and young Australians felt similarly enthusiastic about the UK, ranking it second after Canada. 

Menna Rawlings reflects on her time as the UK’s High Commissioner to Australia in her essay ‘Sharp Power, Soft Power, Girl Power’. New Zealand Member of Parliament Louisa Wall focuses on her country’s human rights history. Stan Wolfgramm writes about his work to give Pacific people a voice – in a region that is increasingly the focus of global powers. Comedian Alice Fraser talks about how a similar sense of humour reveals a ‘bedrock sympathy’ between Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

‘My Irish ancestor came on one of the convict ships, and my Indigenous ancestors stood on the shore’

The story of exchanges between different nations and peoples are always complex, and they can create complex personal histories. That’s what makes them interesting. As Stan Grant, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Indigenous Affairs Analyst, puts it: ‘My Irish ancestor came on one of the convict ships, and my Indigenous ancestors stood on the shore’. 

Roy Bacon, Senior Crossing Points Editor and Speech Writer, British Council

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