Understanding India from a distance, or even close-up, is not easy. The variety of warring ethnic groups, tribes, languages, religions, casts, class and political grouping complications is bewildering. Just one of those factors, social class, makes 1920’s England look like a classless society.
It took the devastating Australian bushfires to bring home to the country’s politicians that perhaps, maybe, they had to update their thinking on climate change. Perhaps, because that thinking remains dominated by an ideology which increasingly looks untethered to present day realities. Below are some of those realities:
Watching television was now beginning to be ingrained in the 60’s household social routine not entirely due to the magnetism of Ena Sharples and the Coronation Street’s Rover’s Return!
Waiting in the wings was Networking, the move of News to Auckland, the advent of colour and the famous Philips K9 TV set and TV2’s first Telethon.
We sat on a wide verandah and looked out on a backyard. Backyard? This one was huge, park-like and its green flowed past crimson flowered jacarandas on both sides for more than an acre. Finally it gave way to a to a lily-covered billabong under the shade of towering ghost gums.
He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.
He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown robes, practical sandals and on his left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other passengers as he settled into his seat. One asked him what religion he belonged to. A pause.
In South Auckland’s Ihumatao, a peaceful group of Maori activists continues the campaign it began in 2015. Their aim? To stop Fletchers building 480 homes on what they believe is sacred land.
And a few miles away in the leafy suburb of Mt Albert early last month, middle-class Pakeha began their protest.
Like many other New Zealanders of my age, I was weaned on innumerable cinema and television versions of American high school experiences; films such as Grease, Fame, Mean Girls, Donnie Darko, and TV programmes such as Freaks and Geeks, Happy Days, Beverly Hills 90210 and Room 222. There is also a long-established sub-genre in the school reunion movie, with films like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Peggy Sue Got Married, Grosse Point Blank and Class Reunion spinning tales of rekindled lusts, long delayed revenge enacted, and various levels of disappointment.
We do not have a housing crisis. The housing market works perfectly for those it was designed to serve. Landlords are now protesting because the precarious position of renters has (finally) been acknowledged.
But who knows how long it will it take before the talk ends and the watered down action begins? And even then if the result resembles the government’s affordable housing fiasco where do we go from there? But we are not alone.