Life certainly is busy at the moment and in a very good way. Some of my recent highlights include finding myself sitting between our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta at Foundation North’s strategic plan launch. It’s fair to say I made the most of the opportunity! I shared with Minister Mahuta my idea around developing a foreign investment framework and we had a general discussion around local government performance. It was insightful and encouraging.
Foundation North provides community grants of around $40 million every year. Their review has seen more of a focus on community funding and innovation funding, including strengthening social cohesion and addressing inequalities.
On Friday, I was out and about in my pink shirt for pink shirt day - a drive to raise awareness about bullying. Bullying was something I experienced first-hand as a young person - very character building. I was pleasantly surprised to bump into our local fire and emergency team all dressed in pink and enjoying a pink-themed morning tea. Fab! It was a timely reminder that bullying doesn’t just happen for our young people. Adults are too often subject to this demoralising attack. Kindness is one of the answers – not always easy, remembering that the bully often has their own issues going on.
As a member on the Northland Conversation Board, it was a real pleasure to witness the release of a young female kiwi on Sunday that had been caught in a leg-hold trap. Fortunately, her leg was not broken and she was found before it was too late and rehomed. An excellent reminder that these traps should not be set on the ground.
Other highlights include my regular tango lessons for the Hospice Mid-North’s grand Battle of the Ballroom fundraiser in June. It’s an honour to be able to support such an important cause. I also had numerous meetings talking about fruit in schools and public places. I must say the feedback here has been tremendous. I am in the process of raising some funds to help buy the trees, so if you can help, we have a givealittle page.
I have decided to give up sugar and processed foods for a while. I am already experiencing benefits including weight loss and a clearer head. I recently attended a screening of He Oranga Pumau, featuring a powerful Hokianga wahine, Tanya Filia and her journey using natural Maori remedies to combat an aggressive brain tumour. She makes a clear point about sugar being a cancer feeder. They are taking the documentary to the Beehive to call for changes that will be better for all New Zealanders and their families who are facing terminal diagnosis.
Of course, there’s lots of council business going on, including our Long Term Plan deliberations. It’s been a good month and I have a feeling it’s going to continue. Nga mihi.