Good News from Tamaki Makaurau
From the land of the stay up all night, study hard, party hard, stress a lot, live a lot,(eat a lot!!) student I’m back. And pleased to be reporting Auckland was stunning over the long weekend [last weekend, which was Labour Weekend here in New Zealand - Ed.].
It’s been a real beauty, sun everywhere, back yard barbeques calling, and people lazing in the luxury of an extra day off work. Well personally, it wasn’t an extra day off work, but an extra day before I started my new job as a fresh young graduate.
Last week I completed my bachelor of communications. Which is really exciting as it means I will have more time to bring you the good news from around Tamaki Makaurau, now that I am not spending every waking hour in some way stressing about the next assignment due in. There is anticipation in the air!
Along with the excitement I feel about starting my new job and being qualified, I also am feeling hugely enthused by an awesome project I stumbled across not long ago. Recently, there’s been a lot in our papers and across the word discussing the role of diversity in our day to day lives.
The Paul Henry saga has brought to the surface the need to rethink our attitudes towards race relations in New Zealand – something which is particularly relevant to Auckland – a cultural melting pot. I will touch more on this in a bit. However, while all of this has been going on, bubbling away in the background has been another important issue.
The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ bill has just been overthrown in America. Effectively this means if you are gay you can now serve openly in the US forces. An apparent privilege which hasn’t been afforded to the GLBT community of the States up until this point. In New Zealand, this right to serve despite your sexual orientation is a given and rightly so.
So spurred on by this movement and a spike in suicides among gay teenagers in the States, the ‘It get’s better project’ has formed over the past few weeks. The project is a collaboration of youtube videos where people can freely tell their stories about diversity of sexuality. It is an inspiring and influential project that really is very touching, important, and sends a strong and positive message of hope.
I would like to tell you my story. Firstly, as corny as it sounds, I would like to pay homage to Auckland. Inspired in part by the ‘it get’s better project, I have just finished my final university assignment researching and writing a 2000 word article about New Zealander’s attitudes towards the GLBT community. The one thing which has really stood out to me during the process of writing this story is just how accepting Auckland is as a place to live and be.
People can say what they like about New Zealand’s largest city but JAFA’s aren’t really that bad. Across the board it is clear – Auckland is a city which doesn’t care about what sexuality you identify as. There is a place for everyone here and that’s one thing I really respect about the city of sails.
I have made a youtube video to contribute to the project, and you can check out my story here. To me, this project is an example of the good in people, and it really is inspiring and humbling to see people across the world contribute to something which is going to help so many others. I urge you to check out the project www.itgetsbetter.org and just take a moment to think about what kind of country you want New Zealand to be.
Hopefully, once my article is modified and through the university system I will be able to provide you with a more comprehensive and entertaining account of the subject. On that note – stay tuned to Happyzine as I will now be providing you regular updates of awesome things happening in Auckland as well as hopefully a few articles I have coming up, including one on a group of youth who are taking on the world and our politicians, one fern frond at a time.
And speaking of Auckland, there are always great things going on in this city, but in particular I would like to draw your attention to a few specific events; the Manukau Festival of Arts which is currently going on. If you are in the neighbourhood or can get out to South Auckland then I highly suggest check out the amazing talent coming out of this area www.mfa.org.nz
Also, if you are wanting to get out in the fresh air and enjoy this beautiful weather, the Auckland marathon is on this weekend. It is too late to join up, but there’s nothing like the feeling of support and a good crowd to cheer you on, if you are particapating. Also, 11 people have enlisted to run the marathon in support of Oxfam and its initiatives such as the ‘race for peace’, which supports locals of Papua New Guinea and many other awesome projects. If you would like to find out more, or donate to these athletes, go to this site.
Finally -going back to the Paul Henry saga. For the Indian-New Zealand community there has never been a more crucial time to reinforce just what it means to be of Indian decent, living in Aotearoa. So it is a perfect coincidence that this week sees the annual Diwali Festival of Lights come in to full swing.
If you are in the CBD this weekend, do check out the festivities taking place at Aotea Square for Diwali. If you don’t know much about Indian culture, go and see what makes the celebrations so important, and learn what it means to be a kiwi, but with your history belonging another corner of the world. It is important for us all to recognise the different waka and reasons which have brought all people to New Zealand.
Diwali is a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and never has there been a more important time to acknowledge this in all aspects of diversity. No matter your skin colour, culture or sexual orientation, at the end of the day we are all people and it is our combined efforts which make this nation what it is.
He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
Ask me, what is the greatest thing? The people, the people, the people.
Tags: local good news