2015 stands before us. This provides a real opportunity to see things afresh. To take a deep breath and look out over the horizon and to be encouraged. As our districts and our regional possibilities are rich, our people are strong and our land is still lush.
Whatever has happened in the past can not be changed. It is what it is. We should seek its wisdom and we must look to heal. But we should not dwell in the past as this will only hinder the blossoming of the year ahead.
To move our districts and region forward we need to be truly brave. And this will mean that we will need to step outside our comfort zone – to perhaps look towards uncharted waters to address some of the challenges we face.
What we must seek to do, as all leaders must, is to unite and encourage – to provide hope. To listen, to serve and to make decisions that seek to grow and protect our homeland in the most appropriate way possible. For the decisions we make today – will form ripples that will continue to flow in centuries to come.
One of our key challenges, I believe, as elected officials is to find common ground and seek to make decisions, in partnership with our communities, that will truly bring unity and prosperity while ensuring we look after the very place we call home.
Our role as district and regional representatives is to serve our communities at a governance level. We are not in charge of operations. We are the big picture people – responsible for strategic direction. It is not to see the forest for the trees, but to rise above and be the kererū above the forest. To see the big picture and thus (hopefully) make wise decisions to protect and grow this wonderful place.
I am very proud and committed in leading the development of a 'One Voice – One Vision' strategic framework for the Far North. And our Council is 100% behind it, as we all acknowledge the importance of knowing who we are and where we are going.
If we are not united for the betterment of our people and our place – how can we expect to build trust; to gain confidence; to truly lead change? And don't be mistaken – if we are to flourish we, as a whole, will need to change our approach.
We are here to serve the people – not each other or ourselves. We have a lot to do and we won't achieve it if we don't work together, alongside our communities.
This is not to say that we are performing badly. It is rather encouragement to take the next step up – as we do have challenges to face. Our people – our place deserve the very best and we have a role in helping encourage this.
I ask you to consider what it is that you hope to have achieved at the end of this year. Let it be dynamic, let it be positive, let it be big.
I acknowledge that this may read as idealistic, as we are all human after all. However, I believe in us and I know that every human being has the ability to do the right thing by themselves and by their fellow man. Let's lead the charge!