Returning to New Zealand in 1926 following his only visit to ‘the old Country’, New Zealand journalist Alan Mulgan recorded his impressions of England in Home: A New Zealander's Adventure. His first sight of land was ‘a glimpse of heaven’. In London, Mulgan immersed himself in the city. From there he roamed widely, being particularly taken with ‘the extent and loveliness’ of the Home Counties, and entranced by the hedged fields and neat villages. The ‘far stretching gracefulness’ of Devon and Cornwall was not far behind, though he was less elated by the industrial Midlands and the harder, rougher North. He nevertheless acknowledged that they were a vital part of ‘Home’. Wherever he went, expressing delight in the seemingly familiar, he responded to queries as to his actual place of birth with the intelligence that New Zealanders ‘always speak of England as Home’.
Ironically, Alan Mulgan's origins, on his father's side, were not in England but in Ireland. Looking back on his life three decades later, Mulgan sought to explain, but certainly not deny, his Anglophilia. While the Ulster counties may have held strong ties for his parents and grandparents, for subsequent generations English cultural influences had been omnipresent. The books read were English, English scenes hung on the walls and the news of the day came from the Graphic and the Illustrated London News. Indeed, London was much more vivid, more recognizable, than any New Zealand town save Auckland, in which Mulgan had grown up. Yet in 1958, nearing his eightieth year, he concluded that New Zealanders were not simply transplanted English. In addition to establishing their own distinct identity, they had become part of an international family, the British; at their core these twin identities retained Englishness, English traditions and English values.