No Gangnam stylist but quiz champ Mike still big hit in Korea

FORMER Gisborne man Michael Smith was shocked to win the top prize in a global quiz show in Korea last week.

The 33-year-old Wellington-based energy analyst beat competitors from 29 other countries to win first place in the Quiz on Korea competition.

Dr Smith, son of Gisborne couple Rod and Judy Smith, won the right in July to represent New Zealand at the grand final in Seoul.

During the final, Dr Smith narrowly missed out on the first and second sudden-death rounds before winning the third to join South African and Paraguayan representatives in the final round.

After a tense battle, Dr Smith secured the win by correctly naming the neo-Confuscian scholar depicted on the Korean 1000 won note.

“I had never even been to Korea before, so it’s really unbelievable,” he told The Gisborne Herald. “A lot of the other contestants could speak fluent Korean so I didn’t think I had much of a chance.

“But I had prepared well — studying Korean history and culture rather than Korean pop songs,” he said.

Contestants from the 30 participating countries were flown to Korea for the final aired at prime time on KBS television during Korea’s biggest holiday, Chuseok (Thanksgiving Day).

Contestants were asked to wear their country’s traditional costume. Dr Smith wore the 2011 Rugby World Cup All Blacks jersey, and was asked to perform an impromptu haka after winning.

First prize was a Hyundai SUV but Dr Smith took the cash equivalent.

Organised by the Korean government, the event was designed to promote Korean culture overseas, making the most of the “Korean Wave” triggered by PSY’s 2012 mega-hit Gangnam Style.

Before returning home, Dr Smith enjoyed his new-found celebrity status on the streets of Korea, stopping for photos and signing autographs for fans across the country.

The Korean community in New Zealand is also especially proud a Kiwi won.

“It was big and wonderful news to our community and to the Korean people in Wellington,” said Korean community leader Cecilia Kim.

Which political party has the best housing policy?

Please read summarised policies below.

NZ First
Maori Party
United Future
Please comment:

Home affordability

National HomeStart grants of up to $20,000 for couples to add to KiwiSaver savings used for a deposit on a new home. Special Housing Areas to fast track consenting process. Legislation to curb development contributions levied by councils on developments. Inquiry into building products supplier practices. RMA reform. Labour The KiwiBuild government-run $1.5 billion scheme to build 100,000 affordable new homes mostly in Auckland and Christchurch initially.A capital gains tax and controls on foreign investment in residential real estate to curb speculation. Force local authorities to ensure the release of new land for building with a national policy statement under theRMA. Greens A rent-to-buy scheme for families with children. Limits on house ownership by foreign non-residents. A capital gains tax excluding the family home and support for Labour’s KiwiBuild. NZ First Establish a new state agency to buy and sell land for residential developments. A 2% interest rate for five years for buyers of those sections but with houses built using normal bank finance. Restrict home ownership to "New Zealanders"only. Maori Party Kainga Whenua loan scheme providing 100% loans up to $200,000 to build, maintain and repair homes onmultipleownedMaori land. Available only to those people who have no other access to finance to build, relocate to or buy on their multiple-ownedMaori land. Internet-Mana Low-interest, no-deposit Maori Home Ownership Scheme for Maori first home buyers. Kiwibank Home Ownership Scheme with low-interest loans for specified low-and middle income individuals and families. Build 10,000 new state homes per year for rent and rent-to-own. Act Remove regulatory constraints on the supply of land for building by scrappingtheRMA.Amend the Bill of Rights to protect the right to own and use property as the owner sees fit to get rid of planning restrictions. United Future Allow families to capitalise their Working For Families entitlements for a year as a lump sum to help purchase their first home.Work in partnership with iwi to develop former Crown land for housing. Conservatives Tell owners of large "land banked" holdings to build homes within five years or face the government intervention. Allow higher-density housing.