Friday, 28 July 2017

Until You Understand...

So last night, I went to the launch of the Green Party's Aoraki and Te Tai Tonga campaigns. 
I listened to some pretty powerful speeches as all the candidates spoke about the various focuses and policies that the Green party is campaigning on, and I heard Metiria Turei speak about the massive changes that we so DESPERATELY need to turn this country around.

And there were AMAZING musicians performing, and lots of opportunities for getting involved in our local communities. All very inspiring stuff!  :-)

Afterwards, I had a VERY deep, thought-provoking, insightful conversation with a very special friend. And we explored the question about how to take it 'out there'.  How do we take it from a wonderful, inspiring group of speakers and musicians in a hall, and take it OUT there. How do we 'make it real'.  

Those who know me well, will know I am a big fan of analogy.  My friend and I used the analogy of a waka  (think 'canoe', for those who don't know the term). We talked about how to get more people 'in the waka'.  And then we realised, it wasn't about getting more people in the waka....  A waka can only hold so many people before it capsizes, right? 
It's not about more people.  It's about MORE WAKA. And how do we make that happen???

We talked about who it is that we need 'to reach', and I mentioned my own daughter who is voting for the first time, and the conversations we have had about the upcoming elections here in NZ.  I'm not going to tell my daughter how to vote, because that would be to inflict MY political views on her.  Instead, I'm encouraging her to think about the things that are important to HER, and to inform herself and seek out the party that most aligns with those things and vote for them. 

I left the event last night, pondering the question "How do we reach out and get people, specially our young people who may be voting for the first time, to THINK about what really needs to happen, and realise that we EACH have a responsibility to play in our upcoming election.  To THINK about what needs to change to bring our country back to an 'even keel', to change the direction of our waka to head for a place that honours our land, our seas, our people.... 

And today, it came to me.  We need to make it personal. We need to talk about it in ways our people, particularly our young people, can understand.  We need to make it REAL.  The issues that we talk of, the state of our rivers, our seas, our land, our food, our communities....  Many of our young people WON'T know how it was 'before'.  For many of them, the way it is 'now' is all they know.  So how can they understand the extent of the damage we have done, and therefore the extent of the changes we must make to overcome that damage???  How can they understand, when for them, it isn't 'real', it isn't 'personal'.

And while I pondered it some more, the beginnings of this poem came.....   And as I wrote, the rest of it came out in a flood.    So here it is....

"Until You Understand..."

Until you understand
How our rivers used to be

You cannot understand
The damage that I see

Until you understand
How this land used to thrive
How can you understand
How it hurts to watch it die

Until you understand
We didn't intentionally do this
How can you understand
The shame I feel about this

About the damage we have caused
And the land that we have wrecked
And the rivers we have filthied
And the seas that now are fecked

Until you understand
The changes we've inflicted
On a planet we should love
You can't know why I'm conflicted

Why there's guilt and shame and sorrow
And why sometimes I cry at the sight
Of the lands that we have blighted
And "the coming of the night" 

Until you understand
That you ARE our only hope
That without a massive, MASSIVE change
Our planet will no longer cope

With the shit that we have thrown it
With the damage we have done
In the name of evolution
And of progress, and of fun

Until you see that things MUST change 
And know you HAVE a voice
Until you understand 
That our future is YOUR choice

Until you understand
That it's YOU that can change our course
And the direction of our waka 
That we CAN be a mighty force

Until you understand
That without you, we can't change this
That this broken land before you
YOU can help to save it

Until you understand
There is no time to waste
You really have to understand
The difference you CAN make.




  1. Powerful and thought-provoking! Thanks Sally. I always enjoy our private conversations and I look forward to reading more from you in this forum.

    1. I love it Sally. I am glad to see you being creative and sharing your heart. X