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Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: Cream of Cook Islands rises to the top

Saturday 4 April 2020 | Written by Thomas Tarurongo Wynne | Published in Editorials


OPINION: In Cook Islands and around the world, our true community leaders are stepping up to help others.

It’s so hard to put into words the many emotions of this week. Sometimes I think it’s like cream, it’s what rises to the top of a bottle of milk. and sometimes that can be something to celebrate, and other times something to reflect.

In times such as these when we need so desperately to work together, those whose position has been ‘my way or the highway’. And there are those who run and take care of just themselves, leaving others behind whom they needed to care for.

But for those who put aside all their differences and said, now is the time to commit ourselves to helping our brother, our neighbour, our country then, let me say, your cream has risen to the top.

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Nothing is hidden in this climate of uncertainty, and I am thankful that finally what sits in all our hearts has risen slowly to the top also.

First, there is a crisis of uncertainty and of fear. People are afraid because they can no longer rely on those things they trusted in and put their faith in to give them security, jobs, money, power or prestige.

These things have become meaningless in the face of a virus that can take the young or old, rich or poor, business leader or beneficiary, chief executive or cleaner.

We are levelled by this climate; we are all feet on the ground, the same, and none in a position to say this will not touch me, physically, emotionally or financially.

Never in our lives have we experienced this sort of global crisis, though many of us have in a small way come to realise better what our grandparents or great-grandparents went through in wartime, with closures, queues, rationing and the death count climbing every day.

Their lived reality seems a little more real today and we can better appreciate the experience they lived through – that they survived, and that shaped their lives forever.

Because like them there will be a life before Covid-19, and life afterwards. They lived lives before the War and after the War and maybe in a small way we can also have some empathy for our brothers and sisters who have been victims of imperial wars fought in the Middle East since the 1990s.

I am thankful that during this time, so many have risen to the occasion. And if ever there was a time where I am so proud to be a Cook Islander and to see our people, our government and our communities come together in Aotearoa and at home, then it is now.

The cream has truly risen for all to see the work and effort of the few for the many and it is acknowledged and applauded by so many here and at home.

In this tempest we are challenged but, as always, we can lay our uncertainty and our fear at the feet of him who gives us certainty and replace our fear with a love that secures our heart to the rock unshakeable, and a love that causes us to say yes I am available – what can I do?

Because love was always so much more then just a word, or lifting one’s hands in a building on a Sunday.

It is instead that which causes us to do and act in a manner that is sacrificial reflecting the God we serve as people and as a country.

This time will show us all just how certain your rock is, or how sweet is your cream.

Let us all be thankful, therefore, that this sobering reality check has visited us all, and as we look into the mirror of ourselves an unflltered and unmasked image, let us not forget what we see.

Change that image to one that says, here I am, what can I do and how can I be there for my brother and my sister.

More than I have ever before we need you, our country needs you to be a part of the answer to fight this pandemic together.