Korean and Kiwi

Danny Lee did something wonderful today – he became the youngest golfer ever – that’s ever – to win the US Amateur Golf Tournament, beating the record of one Tiger Woods to do it.

And, importantly for New Zealander’s sense of national pride, Danny Lee is a Kiwi.

We know this because it’s in the headline of the DomPo article:

Kiwi golfer eyes date with Tiger

It’s in the introduction:

A world of opportunity has just opened up for New Zealand golfer Danny Lee, whose burgeoning career hit unprecedented heights today.

It’s in the text:

As for Lee, becoming the first New Zealander and just the ninth foreign-born player to hold aloft the Havemeyer Trophy, American amateur golf’s most coveted prize, brings with it tangible, major rewards.


The New Zealander kept pushing, extending his lead to six holes leaving the 20th, before Kittleson, of Scottsdale, Arizona, reduced the difference to two after 26.

We really, really know Danny Lee is a Kiwi.  Which is interesting, because he was born in South Korea, migrated here nine years ago, and only became a New Zealand citizen in 2006, according to Asia NZ Foundation.

My point is not that Danny Lee is not a Kiwi – he grew up here, he has citizenship, and he clearly identifies with New Zealand.  But if Danny Lee had been a criminal instead of a champion, would a newspaper article about him describe him as a New Zealander repeatedly, leaving until nearly the end the fact he is Korean-born?

And if not, why not?

In fact, Danny Lee is a Korean New Zealander.  Korean and Kiwi.  There’s a lot of them about, and we just might have to get used to living between the edges – the world is a lot less ‘either/or’, and a lot more ‘and’ these days.  Thankfully.

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