We are living in a time where conversations around climate change and becoming carbon neutral are big topics on the agenda - which they need to be. I had the privilege of supporting the recent launch of the Carbon Neutral Trust last week. This mahi is an offshoot of very credible Vision Kerikeri, which aims to see Kerikeri become the first carbon neutral community in New Zealand.
Run by volunteers, the trust has developed a very cool calculator that gives you a general idea of how much carbon your household is using and tips on how to mitigate your use (turns out eating red meat is a big carbon user). What I love about this initiative is that it is developed by the community for the community.
Some would suggest that New Zealand is in a pretty good place, with lots of trees etc and thus lots of opportunity to sequester carbon. However, we should not rest on our laurels hoping that someone else is going to solve the problem - and it is a problem for us. If we all do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint, we really can make a difference for a more prosperous tomorrow. Full details here https://www.carbonneutraltrust.org.nz/.
I want to conclude by saying a few thank yous, this being my last column for the year. It has been a really, crazy busy year with lots and lots happening. I have had the privilege of attending and supporting many different events and activities. These always completely hearten me, lift me up and remind me that, for all the challenges we face, there are so many reasons to stay positive and focused.
So, thank you to my colleagues around the council table. I immensely appreciate your dedication and commitment to seeing our district become a better place. Thank you to our staff. It is not always an easy role and I want to acknowledge your commitment also to our people and our place.
A massive thank you to all of you, the beautiful people who make the Far North so special. There are so many of you doing incredible mahi, often humbly and without any fanfare. You are our local heros and a big part of our district’s success. Truly amazing!
And finally a big hug to my whanau, especially my beautiful girl, Jesse, who takes life in her stride. She is a constant inspiration to me and I am grateful every day to have her in my life. And thus, I offer you and your friends and families my sincere wishes for a peaceful and safe holiday season. I know lots of you will be working hard to keep our holiday-makers happy. Thank you for this. And for those of you who get to put your feet up for a bit, enjoy! Be encouraged to reflect and be grateful for our very wonderful piece of paradise. Arohanui.