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Chris Hipkins' Covid-19 update from 'The Shire' spurs social media humour and memes

Even in the darkest of times, people on social media know how to have a laugh. Today's memes revolved around none other than Chris Hipkins.

Even in the darkest of times, people on social media know how to have a laugh and create a loveable meme.

Thursday's memes revolved around none other than Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

Minister Chris Hipkins strolls down a park path before greeting media on Thursday. People online took great delight in his entrance from the bush.

Screenshot

Minister Chris Hipkins strolls down a park path before greeting media on Thursday. People online took great delight in his entrance from the bush.

Hipkins took time out of his summer holiday to front a Covid-19 news conference to discuss the border-related Omicron case, a DJ from the UK, who went out in the Auckland community.

Despite the seriousness of the subject, the Kiwiana elements of the media stand-up amused many online and resulted in some lighthearted jest.

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Gone were the polished floors and the podium at Parliament. Instead, Hipkins appeared live across New Zealand TV screens and devices from a local park in the greater Wellington area. In the background, birds were chirping, adults were laughing and children could be heard playing on the playground nearby.

The conference was due to start at 11am, but it was delayed slightly, with Hipkins’ mother apologising to media for her son’s tardiness. The reason for the delay? Hipkins had to rush home to pick up a suit especially for the occasion.

One journalist wrote online that rather than a horde of political minders at today's Covid presser, Hipkin’s mum came and apologised for her son running late.

She didn't need to, but mums will be mums, the post said.

After about 10 minutes, the minister finally appeared at the top of a nearby hill. Camera crews zeroed in and filmed him gracefully strolling his way down a path as the grass, flowers and trees blew in the breeze.

It was the intro New Zealanders didn’t know they needed, and caused great delight online. Memes, gifs and lighthearted quips quickly popped up on Kiwi newsfeeds, with one journalist saying it appeared Hipkins was speaking from “The Shire”.

The most humorous posts were perhaps the videos of Hipkins strolling down the path towards camera crews, with music from The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park and the Parks and Recreation theme song put behind the clip.

“Covid works fast, but the internet works faster! Chris Hipkins walking out of the bush to the Shire music is what I needed today,” one person said on Twitter.

It’s not the first time Hipkins has been the subject of some lighthearted memes. Earlier in the year, a slip of the tongue and accidental encouragement for New Zealanders to go outside to “spread their legs”, ignited social media, and even led to a song, as well as merchandise, from cups to bags and posters, being made with the quote on it.

Minister Hipkins drinks from a cup with his famous gaffe quote on it.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Minister Hipkins drinks from a cup with his famous gaffe quote on it.

Hipkins making light of his infamous gaffe, and was pictured drinking out of a printed coffee cup with the quote on it at a later news conference.

This month Hipkins’ gaffe saw him win the New Zealand Quote of the Year competition, edging out a toddler’s profane response to seeing a goat.

Spread Their Legs, a song by Karamu and Rei, featuring Chris Hipkins, is now on Spotify.

Supplied

Spread Their Legs, a song by Karamu and Rei, featuring Chris Hipkins, is now on Spotify.

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