22 November 2020

There’s a thing going on…have you noticed it?

It looks like this: the whole world is changing faster than possibly any time before in human history (which of course is not very long – but relevant to us).

Some of us humans are conscious of the changes and adapting as best we can. Others – not so much. The impact is a divide that I see widening rapidly, causing discomfort for many involved in both camps.

I’ve heard of a similar phenomenon when people come back from rehab, or an OE, or a long stint at say Outward Bound. They have changed personally, but their old world hasn’t. Their world view is altered, and things look mighty different.

I see this happening in so many areas of society and I experience it more and more as the year draws to a close. It’s not about politics. It’s about being up to date. It’s about being willing to grow into a new age of inclusion. It’s about understanding that we have a Treaty with our indigenous people to honour. It’s about understanding that we are still destroying forests at an alarming rate. It’s about creating a better world…and that time is against us.

Unrecognised privilege is a monster blind-spot for many of us, myself included. I’m working on it but still blunder blindly into stuff I can’t see from time to time.

I have just finished reading the book White Fragility, after I found out one of our Collective Intelligence teams was studying it as a focus for their recent meeting. Ooh… it’s a bit uncomfortable. Why do we whities find it so hard to talk about racism?

The current All Black team is full of Māori and Pasifika players, and yet the white professional commentators still can’t pronounce their names correctly. Can you imagine your beloved offspring in the AB’s or Black Ferns and the voice of the game can’t be bothered to learn their name/s?

Recently I asked for some CVs for a board position to go on a website. The women of colour were onto it with professional photos and format. The white woman was okay. The white fella didn’t even have one and took a selfie as a photo. Why? The white fella had always been invited to the board table, and the women of colour not. So, the women have to be better prepared just to get through the door.

I’m looking forward to seeing the impact that Kamala Harris has as Vice President in the USA. I can’t even imagine how hard that woman has had to work to get where she is today.

Recently I had the unexpected pleasure/shock of coming face to face with a conspiracy theorist in the flesh. I have viewed them on social media, but never expected to sit down at a table with one. This bloke believed the United Nations wanted to take over the world and disband all families. F**k me gently. It took a bit of adjusting to how to tackle that conversation. It didn’t go well, and he got up and left the table when I started probing where this information actually came from.

Anyway, back to rugby. Today as I wrote this, Keith Quinn, a respected journo and rugby legend posted on Twitter this:

Keith Quinn Tweet 1

Seriously Keith… (he did issue some follow up comment):

Keith Quinn Tweet 2

And so too did many others.

Crying is a wonderful expression of emotion, in many capacities. I would love to see more people show their true emotions in this country.

We are expecting a wave of ex-pat Covid refugees coming back to Aotearoa in the next few years. It’s already started and speaking to those in the first wave, they are surprised just how laid back we are, and just not interested in some of the inspirational things going on overseas. They are hearing stuff like, “Can you dumb down the conversation please?” when being asked to present at events and the like here. Seriously – it’s happening. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to embrace talented, returning whānau and learn from them, not dumb them down. It’s a great chance for us to step up.

Then there’s this stuff called palm oil. We import the by-product PKE (Palm Kernel Expeller) into New Zealand to feed to dairy cows. It’s a by-product, so not harmful – right? Bullshit. It’s supporting an unsustainable industry which is burning Asia’s remaining rainforests to plant mono-crops of palm trees. Lack of biodiversity for the planet is a major issue, and turning a blind eye is not the solution. It affects not only the climate but also the habitat of millions of animals.

And finally (I mean I could go on all bl**dy day on this topic), we all need to be conscious of our actions and the actions of others.

Little things compound. I challenge you to think about where this world is heading and whether you are on-board and relevant – or not.

It’s about our own choices. And they’re important ones for shaping the world that lies ahead.

Ian Harvey (Harv)


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