Celebrate Canada Day with a Hawaiian shirt ... Poor New Zealand!
Oh, sure, celebrate Canada's birthday on July 1.
The puffy shirt from Seinfeld? Nope, July 1st marks the 75th birthday of the Aloha Shirt, otherwise known as the Hawaiian Shirt, otherwise known as that one article of clothing no self-respecting Jimmy Buffett fan would be caught NOT wearing to a concert.
Here's the back story. Apparently the Hawaiians many years back were looking for something more casual that folks in the islands could wear and look nice and stay cool in the semi-tropical heat. There were plenty of nice Philippine-styled shirts or Japanese or south Pacific prints, but it wasn't until 1946 that the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce appropriated US$1,000 to study suitable designs for clothing businessmen could more comfortably wear in Hawai‘i’s tropical climate.
They passed a resolution that allowed open-necked sports shirts in the hottest months of the year, but banned the aloha shirt because of the loud patterns. The next year, during the annual Aloha Week celebration, they decided to allow colourful aloha shirts for an entire week, thus creating the thin edge of the proverbial wedge.
The rest is history. Not always pretty, but history. We've all seen some pretty garish shirts with cockatoos and crazy fish and airplanes and hula girls (always a favourite!) and palm trees and all that. I've had a couple wild ones over the years but generally now stick to black or the occasional one with hibiscus flowers, which I just love; especially blue shirts with the white hibiscus. I have many t-shirts with that pattern, as well as a few Maui Jim t-shirts.
When summer comes, I just can't resist. So, now, I've got even more to celebrate with. So here's a toast to the Aloha shirt, with a photo taken at a somewhat unlikely (as in dry and far removed from any ocean and not a Beach Boy in sight) spot.
NEW ZEALAND WOES
Those aftershocks in Christchurch haven't done New Zealand tourism any favours. Tourist businesses are apparently still suffering, and now they've had to deal with ash from a volcano all the way over in Chile. Not to mention a warm spell that has hurt their winter tourism market.
A report on travelmole.com said For the first 12 days of June, domestic passengers arriving at Christchurch International Airport had dropped 16,000 from last year to 125,000. International passengers were 6000 down from the same period last year, to 35,000.
I didn't make it to Christchurch, but here's a shot I took at Whare Kea Lodge near Wanaka (not far Queenstown, on the South Island). Let's hope for better times ahead for an absolutely marvellous country.