Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: Harder, better, faster, stronger

Saturday January 18, 2020 Written by Published in Opinion
Bluesky Cook Islands rebranded this week as Vodafone Cook Islands – but those talking wildly of cheaper, faster internet are bound for disappointment. Bluesky Cook Islands rebranded this week as Vodafone Cook Islands – but those talking wildly of cheaper, faster internet are bound for disappointment. 20011721

OPINION: From environmental awards to internet speeds, with so much that is fake in the world today, we must take responsibility for ensuring our perceptions reflect reality.

Perception; it’s the way we see things, the lens by which we see the world, how we make real what we see and how we then give it meaning. 

The phrase “looking through rose-tinted glasses” points to the idea that some people see the world as all rosy, when really their situation or their perception of what they see is not true at all. 

This week Blue has turned to Red, and as I read the announcement of the fresh-looking Cook Islands phone and internet provider my initial perception was that it was a new competitor; that the arrival of the cable and new legislation opening up the market had attracted finally a new provider and competitor. 

But my perception was met with the reality: that all that had immediately changed was that Bluesky had now rebranded as Vodafone, and not another provider that many had hoped for.  

Comments online have pointed to the perception that much will change, but the reality may be that it is the same company, same people, same service and same internet as before, just under a red banner and not a blue one. 

Reading Vodafone Cook Islands chief executive Phillip Henderson’s comments in the paper, he said the biggest issue was people’s perception of internet and data prices being too expensive. With the cable now connected, they hoped wholesale prices would be reduced.

Henderson’s comments should answer any rose-tinted – or on this occasion, red-tinted – perception that prices will change before the cable is up and running. 

Any public expectation of immediate change may well be met with disappointment, but in life we also are responsible for our perceptions, and ensuring our perceptions reflect the facts.

* * * * *

Just this week I did some research on our Cook Islands population in New Zealand, calling on the resource of the New Zealand Parliamentary Library to get some up-to-date statistics for our Cook Islands people. 

Much to my surprise, the perception that I had pushed out for many years that we had 63,000 Cook Islanders living in New Zealand based on the 2013 New Zealand Census is now wrong. In fact, the amount as of 2018 is 81,000. 

This has grown by nearly 20,000 since 2013 when the last New Zealand Census was taken. Based on these figures, we can predict that by 2030, we may be close to 100,000 Cook Islanders living, working and connecting in Aotearoa.

The lesson for us all is that we can hold a perception, but until we get it verified and checked out by facts then we in fact could be saying and believing things that are now wrong. 

Our perception, be it our land, our families, our work, our country, our faith, politics, or even those who win global recognition, must be met with fact, and only when measured by fact can we then determine whether our perception is true. 

This has been evidenced locally by the Goldman Award won by Jacqui Evans, and differing perceptions on her deserving this award. 

I personally think she was well-deserved in winning the Goldman Award, based on my understanding of the facts of her life’s culmination of environmental work, the rigorous nomination and selection process, and more importantly for me, the fact that she acknowledged all those that contributed to Marae Moana.

Regardless, people will continue to have differing opinions on this and I accept that. 

Author Edward De Bono said perception is real even when it is not reality and the Apostle Paul, writing to the Church in Macedonia, said to them, test all things and hold fast to that which is true. 

With so much that is “fake” in the world today, we are responsible for our perceptions, responsible for what we believe and do not believe, and yet we should never let this divide us even though our perception or reality may be different. 

I am mindful of this as I read a comment this week, where I saw someone complaining about the internet service in Rarotonga.

Someone else replied saying, well, it’s better than what it was in 1967.

Everything really is about perception.

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