19 Nov 2017

The view from Peru

From Mediawatch, 9:07 am on 19 November 2017

The visiting fans of Peru impressed our media and had some sports pundits pondering why our fans are so staid by comparison. What did the media in Peru make of us in the week of the do-or-die World Cup football playoffs? Even the 'Dunedin Sound' got comprehensive coverage.

Carlos Gonzales (right) translating for Peru's coach Ricardo Gareca in a press conference seen by millions live in Peru.

Carlos Gonzales (right) translating for Peru's coach Ricardo Gareca in a press conference seen by millions live in Peru. Photo: screenshot / YouTube

2000 fans of Peru came to support their side in Wellington last weekend, and caught the media’s eye while they were here. At times, they out-sang and out-shouted 35,000 New Zealanders in their own stadium. 

"How did we miss this gene?" Radio Live's Andrew Gourdie asked sadly on his Sunday Sport show the following day - reflecting on that, and Tongan fans raucous enjoyment of their surprise League win over the Kiwis the same day.

"We are a dour bunch of supporters who clap politely. We are who were are," replied his co-host Jim Kayes, harking back to the 1990s when Jeff Wilson was criticised for celebrating All Black tries. 

Newshub published a handy backgrounder on Peru, explaining the difference between llamas and alpacas - and that cock-fighting is still legal in parts of the country. 

But what did Peruvians learn about us this past week?

A reporter broadcasting live on TV in Peru from Wellington made headlines back home when he was hassled by locals . . .

A reporter broadcasting live on TV in Peru from Wellington made headlines back home when he was hassled by locals . . . Photo: screenshot / YouTube

Peru's team and fans were accompanied by a 150-strong contingent from the media. 

One made headlines back in Peru when he was broadcasting live from the capital’s Cuba Street on game day and got hassled by two locals determined to get in on the act - and on the air. 

 . . . and the hosts back in Lima were not impressed.

. . . and the hosts back in Lima were not impressed. Photo: screenshot / YouTube

"What we are seeing are what happens with some immature New Zealanders come and complicate the work we do - and have been doing it for many hours," grumbled the reporter. 

Back in Peru, the studio-bound hosts were horrified to see their reporter hustled out into the street with the camera rolling - prompting news stories in Diario Correo about an unprovoked "attack" on the crew from Peru.

But fortunately for our global reputation, Peru’s football coach Ricardo Gareca did tell the world he and his players were well looked after in New Zealand.

Translating his words at an official pre-match press conference watched by millions live in Peru was Carlos Gonzales, a Peru-born Wellingtonian and football fan.

"Anything to do with football and the match was in the media and there were articles about about everything New Zealand produces and what to do in Wellington when the fans where here," he said.  

He even found a comprehensive write-up on the Dunedin Sound in Peruvian daily El Comercio. 

"At the same time that the country was preparing to play the qualifiers of Spain 82, New Zealand began to forge what would later be called the Dunedin sound," wrote Percy Chávez Alzamora, harking back to the World Cup in which Los Incas and the All Whites both appeared. 

"The first impression was how honest and clean it was and how there is no crime," Carlos Gonzales said of reports in Peru written about the home game in Wellington. 

He said one article in Peru's press insisted that a cellphone had been stolen for the first time ever in New Zealand during the visit of Peru's fans and one TV documentary crew made a point of filming honesty boxes offering fruit for sale in Hawke's Bay.

Unexpected item in the bagging area

Carlos Gonzales, a Peruvian Wellingtonian who translated for Peru's football team for their play-off against the All Whites.

Carlos Gonzales, a Peruvian Wellingtonian who translated for Peru's football team for their play-off against the All Whites. Photo: PHOTO / RNZ Mediawatch

Carlos Gozales told Mediawatch one Peruvian TV report focused on self-checkouts at supermarkets here. 

"They were impressed with how people don't cheat or put things in their pocket," he said.

A lot of people would have seen the "attack" on the Panamericana TV crew onthe  Buenos Dias Peru show, but "I don't think anything else bad happened when the fans where here," Carlos Gonzales said.  

El Comercio tracked down two other Peruvian Kiwis to ask how New Zealanders were coping with defeat last Thursday. 

Antonella Caro, who has been living in the city of Auckland for ten years, told the paper "this is a normal day because football is not the passion of New Zealanders."

"I give you an example: it's as if Peru qualified for the Cricket World Cup. What I saw in the newspaper is that the Kiwis are sad and annoyed because they say that the Peruvian fans did not respect them in Lima and that on the contrary here they were treated with kindness and respect," Antonella Caro is quoted as saying.