Skip to Content
For the second year in a row the Massey University Quote of the Year competition has been taken out by a Member of Parliament. Maurice Williamson’s now-famous ‘gay rainbow’ speech beat out the competition with an impressive 38 per cent of the vote.
Dr Heather Kavan, a speech-writing specialist at Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, says the quote’s win was expected.
“This speech had global impact – it has almost one and a half million views on YouTube and famous people including Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres liked it, but what makes the quote so appealing is its irreverence,” she says.
“Several people commented on international social media that, in the countries they came from, no politician would have the courage to make fun of a priest in a televised parliamentary speech.”
Mr Williamson’s colourful support for the bill clearly struck a chord with New Zealanders as seven different lines from the speech were nominated.
“They were all great quotes and it was difficult to choose between them,” Dr Kavan says. “In the end we chose the gay rainbow quote because the speech became known as the gay rainbow speech.”
The competition runner-up, with 16 per cent of the vote, also related to one of the key political issues of 2013 – just what information are government agencies collecting about us? The quote, “The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you” is also the first time a non-attributed quote has made the shortlist.
“Several anonymous quotes from social media were nominated this year, including this one, which reflects the growing use of social media,” Dr Kavan says. “But this quote stood out because it was funny and most people can relate to having a frustrating experience with a government department.”
Dr Kavan says this year’s voting reflected the importance of issues, but also that Kiwis enjoy a bit of a laugh.
“While the top three quotes are political, I think a lot of people also voted for the quote they thought was the funniest, rather than for political reasons. The issues are important – especially to those deeply affected – but so is the wit.”
At the beginning of December Dr Kavan and her judging panel narrowed down several dozen entries nominated by Massey students and the general public to a top 10. The shortlist was then put to a public vote to find the winner.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s three-word put-down “Zip it, sweetie” to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern was last year’s Quote of the Year, and the inaugural winner was "I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head” from the New Zealand Transport Authority’s ‘Legend’ campaign.
Top 10 quotes of 2013, in order of number of votes:
1. One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate – Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson in his speech to Parliament supporting the gay marriage law.
2. The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you – Unknown origin but repeated on social media.
=3. What didn’t he know and when didn’t he know it? – Winston Peters querying John Key’s knowledge of the Parliamentary Service’s actions.
=3. I'm not a spreadsheet with hair – Auckland singer/songwriter Lorde.
5. Why are you going red, Prime Minister? – Kim Dotcom at the Parliamentary enquiry into the GCSB spying on New Zealand residents.
I'm not, why are you sweating? – Key's reply to Kim Dotcom.
6. Male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel – Man Booker prize winning novelist, New Zealand's Eleanor Catton.
7. If there was a dickhead that night, it was me – MP Aaron Gilmore reflecting on how he got intoxicated and called a waiter a 'Dickhead' at the Heritage Hotel in Hamner Springs.
=8. In New Zealand nobody takes you seriously unless you can make them yawn – author James McNeish at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.
=8. That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer – Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go campaign website.
10. He’s an extraordinarily lucky cat – Massey University veterinary surgeon Dr Jonathan Bray after removing a crossbow bolt from the head of Wainuiomata cat Moomoo.
2015 Quote of the Year finalists announced
Nominations open for Quote of the Year 2015
Whale Oil blogger takes out Quote of the Year
Vote for the 2014 Quote of the Year
The search is on for the 2014 Quote of the Year
Winners of Pro-Chancellor’s Prizes announced
NZ Quote of the Year finalists chosen
'Zip it, sweetie' voted best quote of 2012
NZ Quote of the Year finalists chosen
'Legend' anti drink-drive line is quote of the year
Created: 19/12/2013 | Last updated: 20/12/2013
Page authorised by Assistant Vice-Chancellor External Relations
Watch stunning aerial footage of Massey University's Manawatū campus.