A letter when for when our hearts begin to mend.

Dear New Zealand,

I know we’re still gasping and reeling and hugging each other right now. The heart of our nation is love, and I for one, couldn’t be prouder of us all. When we get wounded, we bleed love. . .

And, we stand against the violence.

‘It’s not who we are,’ she said, and I agree.

But can we just put it out there and own the fact that:

We gave violence a foothold.

We did.

Our kids got into their violent gaming and now they can’t get enough of it, and us adults somewhere along the line got an incredible taste for horror, and gang violence and domestic violence have all weaved their way into our nation . . .

And none of us wanted it or created it, but still, we gave violence a foothold. We did.

Like a thief, it’s found a way in—into our homes, our communities, our language—our hearts, even—and before long, it’s just there, in all its various forms, looking less like an impostor and more like who we are.

But it’s not who we are; when violence ran rampant and the beautiful souls were gunned down in the midst of their prayers, we rose as one and we denounced it, firmly, unequivocally. Violence has no place in our land.

But it’s one thing to denounce violence, and a whole other thing to renounce it. One thing to watch carnage take place before our eyes and rightly distance ourselves from it, because it absolutely is not who we are. And yet . . .

What if we went one step further?

What if we renounced it too? What if we, in one act of incredible resolve, united to recognize, renounce and reject violence in all it’s insidious forms?

What if we refuse to give violence a foothold at all - not in our private lives, not in our homes, not in our land.

Then we can be who we truly are: New Zealand, a nation known for our love.

Speaking of Death

Dear New Zealand,

I keep hearing you say this little phrase, and it bothers me. It could be anything from a meal at the local restaurant to a new-model car, a cute puppy at the pet store or a new flavor of chocolate.

'It's to die for!'


We've got a number of throw-away sayings as a nation, and this one has certainly managed to hold its traction. Our grandmothers said it, our parents echoed it too, and now it's rolling off the tongues of our kids.

And of course, we don't mean anything by it, except that the thing is awesome, and it's worth whatever it takes to get it, or experience it or taste it. But, 'to die for?' 

Our nation is staggering under an unprecedented weight of death - road trauma, suicide, heart attacks, cancer, not to mention domestic violence all too often leaving us scraping the edge of death. If our people haven't seen untimely death first hand, chances are they've been close enough to fall under its long shadow.

There's no doubt words carry weight, and if these words, spoken across our nation day after day are shaping outcomes here in our country, isn't it time we looked at changing the whole thing up a bit, maybe putting them to rest? 

No, a meat pie is not to die for. A bottle of wine is not to die for, however many awards it's won. Nothing's really to die for - not a new brand of makeup, or a boat - even your mama's fresh whitebait fritters are not worth dying over.

They might be worth every cent, or worth the two-hour drive, or they might beat the kai anywhere else in the world hands down, but please, people, none of it is to die for.

So I'm asking you, New Zealand, can we just hold death a little bit sacred, and life a bit precious, and decide once and for all that we've got enough death to deal with in this beautiful land without it coming our mouths glibly, here, there and everywhere?

Can we become the generation who talk of the stuff worth living for? Who know when something makes them feel alive and come alive and want to live - and to talk about how it's all worth living for?


Mama's cooking

That playful bundle of fur

The way that car feels when you hit the open road

The job offer you didn't see coming?

'nuff said. 

I just think there's a whole lot of stuff to live for. That's all.