Stand up and be proud

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - HANS NEIL­SON

OPIN­ION: Blog­gers and pun­dits take aim and ask, is Blen­heim dy­ing? Jokes about the big lights of Blen­heim are abound. We’ve all heard them. If you lis­ten to the naysay­ers, we’ve tried it all be­fore, noth­ing works. So what, time to just throw in the towel?

I’m not sure what it even means to say Blen­heim is dy­ing? Marl­bor­ough’s near 50,000 heart­beats are work­ing, grow­ing, liv­ing, and play­ing in this place we call home. As long as they are, there is hope.

Marl­bor­ough is a glob­ally recog­nised brand. Menus across the world boast our re­gion’s wine. Our seafood is sec­ond to none and were pretty much the def­i­ni­tion of a pic­turesque land­scape. Just ask Sir Peter Jack­son. Plus all the sun­shine.

Heard of Sir Earnest Ruther­ford and Wil­liam Pick­er­ing? Just two of the long list of amaz­ing Marl­buri­ans. We have busi­nesses, mar­kets, fes­ti­vals, world class fa­cil­i­ties like the ASB Theatre. Our res­tau­rants re­ceive na­tional ac­claim as they keep our arts, food, and cul­ture the envy of much of the coun­try.

Sounds quite lively for a dy­ing town. De­spite these, and many other ac­com­plish­ments, we con­tinue to en­ter­tain that Blen­heim, and Marl­bor­ough as a whole, is noth­ing that spe­cial, and never will be.

‘‘De­spite be­ing vi­brant and ex­plo­rative peo­ple, we down­play our­selves as in­signif­i­cant and back­ward.’’

What if the miss­ing in­gre­di­ent is pride and be­lief in our­selves? What if it feels like we al­ways fail be­cause we ig­nore all the times we suc­ceed?

A pos­i­tive men­tal at­ti­tude is key to suc­cess, ask any ath­lete. So why the cloud of neg­a­tiv­ity?

Is this a dreary self-ful­fill­ing prophecy? Who wants to achieve when no­body will ac­knowl­edge our achieve­ments?

De­spite our suc­cesses of our re­gion, we treat them as sec­ond-class. De­spite the cut­ting-edge ac­com­plish­ments of our busi­nesses, we joke we’re stuck in the dark ages. De­spite be­ing vi­brant and ex­plo­rative peo­ple, we down­play our­selves as in­signif­i­cant and back­ward.

We’re will­ing to try al­most any­thing. Why won’t we try recog­nis­ing our strengths and ac­com­plish­ments? What if ev­ery­one be­came a hype-per­son for Marl­bor­ough?

We must stop telling our stu­dents that their home­town is a hin­drance to their fu­tures. We must stop telling our peo­ple that Marl­bor­ough is dead.

This isn’t to say that we don’t have our share of prob­lems. But we also have our share of so­lu­tions and lead­ers ready to roll up the sleeves and in­vest the time to make them work. If we start to cel­e­brate our peo­ple’s achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions, more will be will­ing to step up.

So I chal­lenge my fel­low Marl­buri­ans. Let’s put a lid on the pes­simism. Don’t open your mouth with a prob­lem un­less your ready to seek so­lu­tions. Choose not to fin­ger point, but in­stead look for hope.

Find a way to be an am­bas­sador, and get on board with the good, ex­cit­ing things our re­gion is do­ing. Even if you’re chat­ting to some­one at the gas sta­tion, that’s your mo­ment. Do your bit to make Marl­bor­ough bet­ter for the next gen­er­a­tion.

The fu­ture of Marl­bor­ough is still an open book. Choose op­ti­mism, what do we have to lose af­ter all?


Marl­bor­ough Cham­ber of Com­merce gen­eral man­ager Hans Neil­son.

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