Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: Choose kindness

Saturday April 18, 2020 Written by Published in Editorials
Mama Mii Katuke from the Golden Oldies netball team, in quarantine at Atiu Hall in Auckland. 20032908 Mama Mii Katuke from the Golden Oldies netball team, in quarantine at Atiu Hall in Auckland. 20032908

OPINION: Sometimes I wonder if people actually know what kindness is, writes Thomas Tarurongo Wynne.

AlI I remember is a knock at the door, and my frend Mike Gill – or “Gilly” we called him – standing there with a box of food.

In fact it was boxes of food ... and the sense of gratitude I felt in that moment. Tears filled my eye,s as my cupboards were empty, I had nearly run out of food, struggling in my mind as to what I was going to make my children for dinner, knowing that I would spend another night enjoying just a cup of tea.

Just the night before I had remembered I had $10 in an account and put the kids in the car and drove to the money machine.

I pushed in my PIN and in such a hurry I grabbed my card and ran accross the road to buy some bread and milk but had left the money in the cashflow machine. Running back to the machine, to my dismay it was gone, and in that moment I felt so alone and helpless.

So when my friend called around the following night, it reminded me of the good that is in humanity and in a God that does answer prayers and more importantly, I felt kindness.

Deep-seated unfiltered kindness from my friend to me and my family, and a kindness 20 years later I will never forget.

Be safe and be kind: this was the message from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the lockdown fell on New Zealand. And the same message at home from Prime Minister Henry Puna and Te Marae Ora.

Be kind ... sometimes I wonder if people actually know what kindness is, or what being kind actually means, based on the way we at times speak and treat each other. Many of us, I’m sure, can relate to acts of kindness, so I guess that’s the measure we use for what kindness is and how it is demonstrated in other peoples lives and in our own.

I have been so fortunate over the past 10 days, being able to deliver food parcels and shelter to people that needed it most.

Knocking on so many doors of our people stranded or here on health referrals, their response has often been one of tears and tears of relief and tears of gladness that someone cares, that our government cares and that they are not alone.

Kindness and acts of kindness, when genuine, are felt in the deepest parts of our heart and in that moment we really do touch that veil between the physical world and the divine and bring hope to often seemingly hopeless situations.

Kindness is sometimes thought of as something that comes after cruelty. Sometimes people say we have to be cruel to be kind, and I disagree because cruelty and kindness grow in different gardens, have different roots and are waterd by different Gods.

If one is to be cruel then they are not kind, and cruelty and kindness should never be confused as one in the same or having some kind of mutual relationship.

Cruelty can be measured also and some of the comments I have read online concerning our people stranded here in New Zealand are cruel and unkind.

The voices that say, stay there, don’t come here with your virus, keep them over there, or simply just do as you’re told, are a struggle for me. How can they be thought of as anything but cruel, lacking in love or compassion and dignity?

As kindness is remembered, so is cruelty. As I remember the kindness of my good friend Mike in a time when I so desperately needed kindness and support, all of 20 years ago, we also never forget those words or actions by those around us that were cruel, hurtful and unkind.

I will not venture into the debate on how to repatriate the Cook Islanders here in New Zealand that number close to 300 – even as a plane will arrive in Rarotonga to repatriate German nationals who are not all quarantined in a hotel, and who will be allowed to go home to their families, houses, jobs for some of them and lives again.

Other then to say, there are moments in life when we get the opportunity to show love and compassion and kindness.

There are moments when we have the choice to work collaboratively and to see the greater good with no one left behind and no one feeling left out or unimportant.

Those moments as a country and as a civilisation as communities and families are upon us.

If we chose kindness, we will be always be remembered for that act of kindness, and if we chose to be unkind, we will be remembered for that act also, for years to come.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Kelvin Saturday, 18 April 2020 16:13 posted by Kelvin

    Enough already. Its time, and they deserve, to come home now. What is the risk? Someone should do the maths. NZ is down to less than 10 new cases per day. Our people have been self isolating in nz now for a month. We have all learned a great deal about social distancing and hand washing in the past month. Its great, we all now know how to keep the risk small. If they are tested before they fly, and strict care is taken organising their trip home, the chances of one of the 300 people bringing the virus home are virtually nil. Stastically, you have a greater chance of dying in the Cook islands in a motor vehicle accident. So should we ban motorised transport?

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