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Celebrity mentions New Zealand

Popular American celebrity David Letterman has caused excitement and celebration in New Zealand today after he briefly acknowledged the country’s existence.

Popular American celebrity David Letterman has caused excitement and celebration in New Zealand after he briefly acknowledged the country’s existence.

In what has been described as a pretty big deal with enormous ramifications, a popular American celebrity has mentioned New Zealand on their internationally broadcast television show.

Well known U.S. talk show host David Letterman made the off-hand mention of New Zealand yesterday while discussing gay marriage with his musical sidekick Paul Shaffer on The Late Show with David Letterman.

“Well all kinds of countries have gay marriage now, don’t they Dave?” said Shaffer.

“Yep,” replied Letterman. “We’ve just had France, and uhh… New Zealand.”

It was that exchange – which lasted for around 11 seconds – that has been the focus of excitement and celebration around the country today, as well as intense discussion on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

As of this afternoon, the hashtag “newzealandonletterman” was trending locally on Twitter, driven by exuberant tweets such as “OMG! LETTERMAN JUST SAID NEW ZEALAND” and “THAT”S WEHRE I LVIE.”

Chair of the New Zealand Tourism Board Kerry Prendergast said that the enthusiasm was well justified, as the mention would be an enormous boon to the nation’s tourism industry.

“It’s really good to see when a celebrity knows that we’re a country,” said Prendergast, “because then, hopefully, they’ll teach their fans that we’re a country too. That’s always good for us.”

But not all were pleased by Letterman’s shout-out. Conservative Party leader Colin Craig acknowledged the significance of the mention, but said that the context was disappointing and reflected poorly on New Zealand.

“I did not say this,” said Craig. “I have never said this, nor do I ever wish to be quoted as having said it.”

TV One announced this afternoon that it would be suspending its regular television schedule to offer rolling coverage of Letterman’s off-hand reference, while TV3 is currently in the process of assessing whether or not it will do the same.

James Duncan, a 24 year old New Zealander traveling in New York, just happened to be in the Letterman audience when New Zealand was said.

“I was, I must’ve been, maybe six rows back from Letterman when he said it,” he said. “It was just amazing to be there, witnessing history like that.”

Duncan added that it was almost as exciting as the time Barack Obama mentioned New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquakes.