Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora koutou katoa.
Yes, it is that time of year again; when we take stock, look back on our efforts, give thanks for our blessings, and look forward to new challenges.
Taking stock of 2016 will be difficult for many I know, especially for those of my generation. We started the year losing David Bowie and thought 2016 could get no worse. But, when Leonard Cohen passed last month, the hurt just seemed to magnify. For all kiwis though, the visible and invisible destruction to Kaikoura and surrounds will ensure 2016 leaves a lasting mark on us all.
On the professional side, a positive economic story is supported by metrics showing remarkable GDP growth and ballooning government surpluses. But, I can’t escape the sense of unease that remains with many in the population. When year 12 geography students email me for help with their ‘Child Poverty in New Zealand’ research topic, I fear we have normalised a concept that earlier in my lifetime was foreign to these shores. Add the backdrop of sickening domestic violence statistics and disheartening homelessness reports, and it is clear to me that the economic metrics we are using are just not telling us the full story.
But I continue to be forever heartened and uplifted by the unending efforts of the many organisations, enterprises and individuals – some of whom we have had the privilege to work with.
And as I reflect on our collective achievements through the year, we remain in the debt of mine, yours, and our forebears and tīpuna. To all those who have gone before us, I recognise the legacy you have passed on. They provide us with the support and resilience to work to protect and enhance the assets we hold in trust for those who will follow.
As in the past, instead of delivering cards and gifts to clients, BERL chooses to recognise the ongoing efforts of community organisations that strive to make life just that little bit better for others. In particular, we have made a contribution to the Wellington City Mission Foodbank and thank their workers for their resolute and determined efforts.
On behalf of the BERL team, warm Season’s Greetings to all our clients, friends, family, colleagues, and associates. An especially warm mihi to the people of Kaikoura and surrounds, as we pray for your rapid road to recovery.
We wish all well for the New Year and hope you have the opportunity for some thoughtful reflection and inspiring kōrero, surrounded by loving whānau and family, trusted friends, hearty kai, and refreshing drink. And, of course, a good book (even if it is electronic).
Travel safe and look after each other.
Ka kite anō,
Dr Ganesh Nana