New Zealanders must stand together for our future

Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people, Living life in peace, You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will be as one.

John Lennon perfectly encapsulates my dream for Aotearoa New Zealand.

''Kotahi te kowhao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango me te miro whero.

''There is but one eye of the needle through which the white thread, the black thread and the red thread traverse.''

We are all New Zealanders in our minds and in our hearts, which makes my dream for Aotearoa very simple.

Equality is in the way that we share in our country's prosperity; in the way we distribute our resources; and in the way we treat others in society - regardless of race or culture.

That is my dream - but that is most certainly not the reality.

New Zealand is a place of inequality - Maori tribes are constantly disputing with the Government, and there is so much difference in social standards for Pakeha, Asian, Maori and Pacifica peoples.

That is why I call for major change on a local, regional and national scale.

New Zealand can be recognised as a vibrant hub of global comradeship where everyone - regardless of their skin colour or race - can get ahead without the scar that inequality leaves deep in our communities.

We must stand together, united as one nation today, because the response we make to today's problems will determine the impact on tomorrow.

Our ancestors came to New Zealand in search of a more prosperous life.

But problems began to arise, battles and wars broke out and the Treaty of Waitangi was created in an attempt to install the vital fortitudes of trust, peace and liberty.

New Zealand's people had the right intentions.

We stood together trying to create a united nation that looked forward to the future with hope.

But what started off with good intentions, ended up being totally confused, because the world was rapidly changing, and New Zealand had to realise this or we would be left behind.

Our ancestors did realise this, which is why I suggest that we reaffirm those same good intentions of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Going forward, we must be recognised as one nation of one united peoples with shared ancestral races, shared backgrounds and shared histories.

Otherwise this country will continue to go down that same road of inequality that we are today.

Every single fibre of every single thread that enters that same eye of the needle - black, white and red - all traverse together; symbolising every family, every person and every ancestor of the races and cultures that contributes to making New Zealand such a diverse, vibrant and multi-cultural nation.

And every single person of those families and races count, and they matter, because we were all - and will always be - created equal.(And now for my own little Martin Luther King Jr moment): ''We must never be judged by the colour of our skin, the language of our tongue or the beliefs of our faith, because that is not who we are. That is not what we do.''

Recognising this will play an integral part in creating the unity that is so desperately required to heal the wounds of our unjust past.

How can our kuia weave together all of our people together in a bond of strength, harmony and resilience when the spreading virus of inequality sickens our society?Our country was built on the base of foreign immigration, which in itself recognises the need for racial equality.

Before we can fully embrace all of the benefits of multiculturalism, we must fully embody all of the principles of biculturalism.

Maori will always have a special place in Aotearoa, because they are the unique Tangata Whenua - the people of the land.

But we must also welcome the new people to our shores - the Manuhiri - because the influx of new people brings a wealth of fresh ideas, new innovation and the sharing of culture, experience and knowledge.

The influx of new people can also bring bitter conflicts, disagreements and unrest. But it is our shared responsibility to ensure that we can see past these conflicts.

I have three words: Sort it out.

And I have three solutions:

1. We must hasten the Treaty settlement process because it is a process of healing. Maori are beginning to share their accounts of the early history of this country. If we learn about our past, we can adjust to suit for a prosperous future.

2. We must also focus our resources on equalising social standards, to ensure everyone of every race has the same opportunity to succeed.

3. And we must celebrate the cultures of all of our people to exemplify the vibrant hub of global comradeship we aspire to be.

United we stand, but divided we fall. And as a small country, we cannot afford to be divided.

How can we expect our country to perform competitively abroad if we are at war with ourselves at home?We must unite together as one nation today and implement the desperately needed changes that will allow us to be truly prosperous.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I don't think I'm the only one.

Because I believe that whatever colour you are - black, red, white, yellow, indigo, pink - all of us enter that same eye of the needle.

''Kotahi te kowhao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango me te miro whero. Tena ra tatou katoa.''


By Jacobi Kohu-Morris Year 12, Logan Park High School


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