I love the Topp Twins!
I think the way they shine a light on the funnier stereotypes you can still meet around New Zealand, is very clever. And of course hilariously funny. They’ve earned the right to laugh at these characters because they’ve done the hard yards in the sale yards, back-road pubs, A&P shows and rural music festivals around Aotearoa for decades. They understand country folk, because they are country folk. And this has earned them the respect of their peers in both city and country.
Topp Dames. Dame Jools and Dame Lynda Topp.
So I was delighted to hear the news that Lynda and Jools Topp had been awarded Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) in this years’ Queen’s Birthday honours list for their ‘services to entertainment’.
I had the great pleasure of working up close with both of them while covering the New Zealand Rural Games. They worked hard that weekend and managed to stay in character even when the microphone and cameras were off! They were a delight to be around and it was great to see them give their time and conversations so openly to anyone who wanted to come up to them for ‘a bit of a yarn’. I think that’s what makes them so special and such a precious part of our collective Kiwi culture. They haven’t become isolated in an ivory tower, but continue to rub shoulders with all of us – because that’s who they are. And where they come from.
You can listen to an excellent audio piece from Radio New Zealand on their history and involvement with social movements for change. (NB This piece aired in April just before their awards this year.)
As kiwis we’re proud of our Dames so naturally their award garnered much praise in the press. Some of those articles are listed here for your reading pleasure and as bookmarks for me:
The Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa even has two knitted dolls of Camp Mother and Camp Leader in their collection. There’s a neat podcast here about them as part of their series “Ours: A podcast of twenty Te Papa objects“.
The Topp Twins’ own website is here.
There’s some excellent material here on the NZOnscreen website.