We should be concerned with the sound of good capable people resigning and leaving our shores not to return, and of the call for us all to tighten our belts, while the few fill their bellies, writes Thomas Wynne.
I remember waking up in the paradise that is Aitutaki,
ready to explore the wonders of its lagoon, culture and people. Moving onto the
deck of our new home in 2015 and saying ‘kia orana’ to our new neighbours, Papa
Toma and Aunty Kura Marsters, it suddenly dawned on my ears, this din of a
sound, as if engines were turning over.
I hadn’t noticed the noise a few weeks earlier when we
secured the house but now it was clearly humming in the background.
Asking Uncle Toma, about the sound I said, “Uncle,
when do those turn off?”. “Turn off?” he said looking at me with a broad smile,
“those are the engines for the power, they never turn off”.
And with that, the hum of turbine engines played all
day every day, and over time, I soon forgot their constant grind, their noise
fading into the background of everyday life, present, but no longer present,
and just absorbed into the experience of living where we were.
It’s not that the noise changed, instead I just became
so used to it I no longer heard it anymore.
In life we can become accustomed, to the noise, to so
many things that pull on our attention or simply those things that shout at us
For husbands and partners, how many times do we become
deafened to the sound of our children’s or partner’s voices. Not that they
become any quieter, we just don’t hear it anymore.
Even that inner voice that speaks to us can be
deafened by continued bad choices or by just ignoring that inner voice until we
no longer hear it any more.
It’s not that it stopped talking to us, we just turned
our heart and conscience away from its direction and we become deaf to its
inner calling to do the right thing.
Arriving home again, my ears are fresh to the sounds
that maybe I deafened to in the past and this week has been full of meeting and
greeting, conversations, short and sweet and some deeper and more meaningful.
And like that first time, hearing the engines of the
power plant in Aitutaki, I can hear a fresh the sounds of joy and of being Covid
free, alongside the sounds of despair and disappointment, the sound of near hopelessness,
and the sound of maybe not being able to effect real and meaningful change.
I heard the sound of aroa and kindness seeing again so
many that were caught in New Zealand in the lockdown, and the sound of
reuniting again but this time without barriers or fear of Covid-19 or of being
in quarantine and the challenges that season brought.
But of all the sounds I have heard this past week, the
sound of despair is the one that challenges me most. The sound of hopelessness
that corruption across so many sectors brings, and that sense that we cannot
speak or rally against it – for to speak up is to be ostracised, to have one’s
employment threatened, or any future employment met with rejection time and
As a nation, we should be greatly concerned and
listening afresh for the sound of nepotism, the sound of people gaining
position not because of capacity but to preserve relationships and privilege of
We should be concerned with the sound of good capable
people resigning and leaving our shores not to return, and of the call for us
all to tighten our belts, while the few fill their bellies with yet more and
more that the public purse has on offer, be it our families, in business, in
our churches, the private sector or the public.
But fear not, and do not let it grip your heart, because
change is coming, and if you listen you can hear it in the wind, over and above
the sounds of despair and hopelessness.
And like the wind of change, it starts as a whisper,
and builds slowly but surely into a wind that no one, no church or government
History is littered with the stories of those who held
onto power as if it was theirs to keep only to find it slip from their hands
because the winds of change had literally blown it from their grasp.
If you listen, you will hear the winds of change because
they are blowing, I can hear them, as can others, and gentle as they may be,
the inevitability of change, is as certain as the wind that turns and blows our
way and as certain as hurricanes and cyclones, beat our shores in December.