Monday 15 August 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion
I’m sitting at my computer it is raining and my cup of tea fails to stimulate my brain cells into putting words on paper. I have the means, the topics and the platform to say what I want for a small and captured audience upon the rock we call paradise. To be fair everyone who lives on a tropical rock in the Pacific calls their home island Paradise. Despite the abundance I have and can say, words fail me.
It is raining and the tourists will be complaining, no one pays the price to travel to a warm tropical paradise to have it be cold and raining like the weather they just left in New Zealand even if it is several degrees warmer. The locals are semi rejoicing because the plants need rain, the water tanks need rain, but now the hedges and grass will grow and will need to be cut. Aue.
I wonder do we suffer from first world problems? We have completed an election quietly and without war, destruction, fire-bombing of electoral offices and no riots on the streets as has been seen in some of our neighbouring Pacific islands. It’s as if the referendum for medicinal marijuana has already been passed and everyone is just “chillaxed ‘cruisin maan’”.
Our headlines rejoice with the return of frozen fries to our shores, a promise of more flights when in New Zealand flights are being cancelled. Why was the lack of potatoes a problem when we have taro, koru, maniota and kumara – the staple of the ‘island fries’ option – growing in our soils? Should we be providing options we can’t adequately fulfil ourselves?
I would have thought this would be a great agriculture initiative to increase local production and demand that can give farmers financial outlets. Do we have to wait for the next headline of no frozen chickens to blaze across the papers while we watch and complain about the roosters and wild chickens messing up our lawns and waking us in the middle of the night? We have an abundance of resources going unutilised because we want a certain way of life, a life that gives us the ability to choose rather than rely on existing cultural practices. We have reached the developed world status, does this mean we should ignore the value of our seemingly ‘under developed’ growing capabilities?
It reminds me of my mother telling me at the dinner table, I must eat my ‘greens’ because there are starving children in Ethiopia who would love to have this food. Well pick a place, there are a lot of starving children in all corners of the round earth who live in modern societies and go hungry every day. We have starving children too. The difference for us is food is available but our priorities have changed and climbing a coconut tree is no longer the go to when you can buy a packet of dried instant noodles and a bottle of sugar and bright coloured chemical fizzy drink for a gold coin. We will spend money on treating the consequences of our world winning position of obesity, rather than live healthy off the land.
The electoral results amongst people have a sense of complacency and the devil you know resigned apathy. The results mean we will see the construction of a $70 million dollar shrine to house all the scattered departments of the government under one roof, 400 jobs will be created to build this ‘priority’. If it is akin to other large projects the government have lavished on us, the budget is sure to blow out to another $100 million disaster. After the government’s call about looking at corruption practices will someone reliable view the contract submissions? In the past government assignments, they all have similar family names, all charging retail price plus 1000 per cent type of quotes. Same old, same old.
We will probably see a Human Rights commission created, to investigate what we already know. We have government departments and paid factions who deal with family welfare and identify domestic violence, but it appears nothing has been done to use the government coffers to change the dynamics to date. Can another investigation really bring change? Public response is impassive inertness.
At Papa Mike Tavioni’s film launch he commented on life and what does it mean after you have fed and clothed yourself day after day. You feed and clothe your kids until they can do it for themselves. But who are you, what have you accomplished? What difference can you make in the world while you’re alive? It is the age-old question of the meaning of life. Mike believes one must enrich one’s soul and emotions by living an active and involved life of worth and meaning, don’t passively accept – Be Bold.