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Heavy downpours and economic shock

Monday 24 January 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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Heavy downpours and economic shock
The Avatiu bridge 'Vaimutu'uri' gushed through to the sea on Friday evening. 22012307

We need a government who would recognise the economic value in easy to reach, easy to manage ourselves, nuggets and nodules of food lying on our ground, not miles under our ocean, writes Ruta Mave.

Raindrops keep falling on my head, they keep fallin, So I did me some talkin’ to the sun and I said I didn’t like the way he got things done, sleepin’ on the job, those raindrops keep fallin’ on my head, they keep fallin’.  But there’s one thing I know the blues they send to meet me won’t defeat me, it won’t be long ‘til happiness steps up to greet me. Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head, but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turnin’ red, cryin’s not for me, c’ause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’ because I’m free, nothin’s worrying me….

As a local you have to feel for the tourists who have hopped on the first planes after months not being able to travel without quarantine. Two years to plan and then they get this weather system, they say it’s not a cyclone because they have names, and it’s not the names thrown out in frustration and anger by locals as sports and holiday programmes are cancelled and kids on school holidays are cooped up inside with their parents. According to the Met Service it’s a ‘low lying depression’, which I thought would aptly describe the feelings of the soggy wet tourists ordering up another pina colada to pass the time.

I have so far, been surprisingly wrong. Those I have met are happy to be out of the blistering heat and UV index of New Zealand who hasn’t seen rain in months.  They are still out there swimming and snorkeling because after all water is wet and the air is still very warm. And as B.J. Thomas sang, “I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’’. In addition, locals have not truly experienced weeks of absolute lockdown so many of our visitors are just pleased to be here “because I’m free, nothins’ worrying me…” do, do, do, do, dododooooo.

It has been exceedingly strong and heavy rainfall; some would say it’s been raining cats and dogs. Such a saying has been traced back to several inconclusive reasons. It is said it dates back to Tudor times where poor people kept their animals in the house with the people. Domestic animals’ cats and dogs were kept up in the rafters. Roofing at the time was simple thatching that dropped directly into the house so during heavy downpours it would flush the pets down from the attic to the ground level.

Or it may have come from a Greek word cata doxa which means ‘contrary to experience or belief’ as in raining unusually or unbelievably hard. It may also be a perversion of an obsolete word catadupe which meant waterfall. Well, I can categorically say we have recently had a cata doxa catadupe that resulted in raining mangoes and avocadoes to such an extent we drive over them without a second thought as we come down our driveway. Meanwhile in Tokoroa, Aunty is paying $10 per Australian mango, or $6 on special each, for one single mango. I posted my dilemma on Facebook to woes and cata doxa disbelief we are not harvesting them, bottling them, eating them, I’ve been sent recipes for curries, chutneys and jams and not surprisingly suggestions and questions of “Why aren’t you exporting them to New Zealand?”

What a thought, who would have thought to do that? If only we had a government focused on diversification and creating local industry and jobs to keep the population and raise the government coffers so we aren’t so reliant on tourism. A government who would recognise the economic value in easy to reach, easy to manage ourselves, nuggets and nodules of food lying on our ground not miles under our ocean.

This time last year I wrote about the Government Smart funding initiative giving out $100,000 for someone to play 80s music, it must have worked because the population has started wearing fluro tye dye again, such is the influence of music and money. Garth Henderson who must be a groover from way back, said he was pleased with the response of applicants for the $76 million dollars handout. “To date we have approved 23 grant applications 16 for SMART Economy initiatives… This significant injection of funding will help transform our economy to become more dynamic, complex and diverse – this will in turn make our country more resilient to changing circumstances and economic shocks.”

Well, hello, here we are 12 months later, are we resilient? Have we changed our circumstances? Short answer is no, and what’s more – there has been no word from Henderson regarding progress reports on the new dynamic impact on our country from those who have been awarded funding and have no results or anything to show for it. Now, that’s an economic shock – not, it’s typical wasted funding.