Knit­ting our com­mu­nity to­gether

Kapiti News - - News -

Kind­ness — a word that oc­cu­pied much of what I thought about last week.

It was trig­gered by Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern’s speech, that framed that sim­ple word, at the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York. Putting aside one’s lo­cal tribal af­fil­i­a­tions to po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the hu­man­i­tar­ian mes­sage-in-aword-bot­tle was ap­pro­pri­ate. She re­ferred to the al­most-in­evitable whole­sale loss of com­mu­ni­ties in the Pa­cific Is­lands caused by global cli­mate change — the re­sult of the un­sus­tain­able eco­nomic ‘devel­op­ment’ of the rest of the world. It’s worth not­ing our PM did not lec­ture the world but chose to only ex­plain the val­ues com­monly held by New Zealan­ders. The fact she was there with her own new­born baby was a pow­er­ful sym­bol of the per­sonal na­ture of the mes­sage to the fu­ture of all fam­i­lies across the world.

On Satur­day morn­ing, at Para­pa­raumu Beach, a crowd of us stood at the wa­ter’s edge to bid our fi­nal farewell to the late Jim Web­ber. If there was one word to de­scribe him it would be, kind­ness. His loss was not only felt deeply by his ex­tended fam­ily but also the wider com­mu­nity. The for­mer jour­nal­ist, and tire­less ad­vo­cate of the rights of the el­derly and dis­abled, had the most mem­o­rable farewell. The change­able spring weather flit­ted be­tween shade and sun­shine as his wha¯ nau ad­dressed fam­ily and friends and Jim’s mem­ory was hon­oured. Dur­ing my own dif­fi­cult time as a jour­nal­ist his kind­ness pro­vided me a shel­tered oa­sis. His body was taken via a small boat, by wha¯ nau led by his sons Chris and Karl Web­ber, over the rough Rauoterangi Chan­nel to Ka¯ piti Is­land to be buried in the fam­ily urupa¯ . It is said that it’s in the days fol­low­ing the fu­neral of a loved one that we dis­cover the depth of their ab­sence and the grief of the loss.

To the wha¯ nau, may this jour­ney be gen­tle on you.

It was not kind­ness, how­ever, that saw global credit agency Stan­dard & Poor is­sue KCDC its new grade. In chal­leng­ing times, we would have been happy to main­tain the A+ sta­ble rat­ing. It would have sig­nalled that the fi­nan­cial boat was steady in its course. The fact is the Agency gave us an A+ pos­i­tive. So the Agency ef­fec­tively put some wind in our sails sup­port­ing the steps in fi­nan­cial man­age­ment taken in this tri­en­nium to hold cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures down and pay­ing back debt. It’s also an in­di­ca­tion of sup­port for the fi­nan­cial tools ac­tively be­ing used. Ku­dos to coun­cil’s fi­nance depart­ment, the di­rec­tion set by Op­er­a­tions and Fi­nance Com­mit­tee chair, Cr Michael Scott, and the com­mit­ted sup­port from elected mem­bers to stay the course.

To con­clude, on the note of kind­ness, I had a stint with a team of se­nior cit­i­zens at Wi­nara Rest Home. These tire­less knit­ters work on a Red Cross project mak­ing warm clothes and blan­kets. Items for the home­less go to the Sal­va­tion Army, baby clothes for young moth­ers go to KYS, and items even make their way to refugee ser­vices in neigh­bour­ing Porirua. There are so many ways to reach out into our com­mu­ni­ties. These ladies lit­er­ally knit parts of our com­mu­ni­ties to­gether. Sta­tis­tics NZ has cal­cu­lated that non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions con­trib­ute $6 bil­lion to the econ­omy and, if you add the value of vol­un­teer hours, that sum goes up to $9.3 bil­lion. That’s a lot of kind­ness but a value com­pletely ig­nored by how GDP is mea­sured.

PHOTO / JACK PEN­MAN

Giv­ing Ka¯ piti mayor K Gu­runathan a les­son in cross stitch­ing is Red Cross project leader Louella Jensen.

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