I have written a few blogs about the need to develop the ‘regions’ so that Auckland is not the only engine driving the New Zealand economy. I have often stated that we need some sort of incentive package to lure would-be New Zealanders and those already here to the regions. Most people would agree that we need a vibrant ‘other New Zealand,’ one that has all the benefits of a big city, albeit on a smaller scale. That does not mean that I don’t like Auckland!
Living in this ‘big city, for New Zealand,’ has many wonderful attributes;’ namely those based on its diverse population. A large number of Aucklanders were not born in this fair city, me included. Many came from overseas; myself from the ‘Naki’ as some say for the beautiful province with the mountain—Taranaki.
The diversity is played on numerous platforms, including the festivals and the foods on offer at market days and in the myriad shops that now line our streets. Then there are those special occasions; for instance the one I went to yesterday; the marking of the arrival of a young baby to the family that lives next door to me. They happen to be Indian and they invited all of the neighbours to a lovely celebration at a hall not too far away. We were welcomed and invited to write a message on a large card then it was a celebration of their wonderful food. My neighbours were gracious hosts and made sure we knew what we were eating. For me, it was a matter of trying nearly everything on offer; in miniature form, because of my reduced capacity to fill the plate now. I loved the day and went home happy and replete (but not uncomfortable) and then walked my dog at my favourite place; thinking how lucky we are and that all we need to do to build a caring neighbourhood is to reach out and share that which we hold precious---our collective cultures.