A feature article from the Waikato Vital Signs 2020 Report.
Momentum Waikato’s guiding vision is ‘For a Better Waikato for Everyone, Forever’, an aspiration that is both simple and grand.
The obvious question to ask therefore in the Waikato Vital Signsâ 2020 survey and workshops was ‘What would ‘A Better Waikato for Everyone, Forever’ look like for your community?’. The same screen also asked ‘In a letter to your great great grandchild, what would you tell them about your hopes and dreams for the place you call home?’.
Respondents’ hopes-for-the-future usually mirrored the concerns they expressed elsewhere in their submissions.
In Hamilton, the dreams were of things like better inter and intra-city public transport, neighbourhoods safe from crime and traffic, and greater cultural inclusion. In the smaller towns, locals hope their sense of community connection will survive and be strengthened, ideally by youngsters returning home.
Across the board, submissions characterised a better future as healthier environment and a prosperous economy, where the latter supports rather than compromises the former.
A number of people took up the suggestion to write to their grandchildren – below are some of these heartfelt missives.
From a Thames-Coromandel survey respondent.
Kia Ora Moko.
How is the song of the tui as you catch the reflection of the beautiful sunrise on our moana?
Do those cheeky piwakawaka still follow you when you walk through our ngahere to collect berries and rongoaa Maaori?
I remember living on our Maaori land in Whangamata and taking my kayak across the other side to ancient rocks that look like a pearl clam shell from the movie ‘Little Mermaid’.
Is this rock still there? Did you know this was an ancient area of your great great great great ancestors, who used that rock to catch kaimoana.
Not far from there is an ancient urupa named Te Whauwhau, where our people were buried before Hikutaia.
How is your Te Reo? I hope the waiata of our people are still sung and hopefully Te Reo is compulsory in schools.
Please know, that I love you with all my heart and ensure you hold on to our cultural heritage, as we are the people of the land, therefore we are the land and the land is us.
Ma te Atua hei tiaki i a tatou katoa.
Na, to kuia.
From a Waipa survey respondent.
To my loved one.
I hope that the Waikato River is a clean and safe water resource and that you enjoy the wonderful native wildlife.
That you know what it is to run, walk, bike and play safely in the outdoors and you can explore this beautiful place of ours.
That your opportunities and learning are only limited by those that you put on yourself and to that end, remember, you can!
That you know what happiness is and at the same time appreciate that at times we will all need courage.
That we have given you the tools to learn from your forefathers’ errors and take the great things we have put in place to continue improving to make them better.
That you understand the importance of community and participation in that community - together we can and we will.
To show gratitude.
That you have equal opportunity, be that in education, career or life choices
That conversations of gender, ethics and equalities are perhaps topics for study, as opposed to living and striving for.
That you know where you are from and your place and role to ensure its future for your children and grandchildren.
Remember to look to the future and plan for the long game. Health, Safety, Education, Economic Security. Understand you cannot do any of these on your own, you are part of an eco-system, a community.
From a Hauraki survey respondent.
We are sorry. We didn't get it right in this generation. We should have cared more about our impacts on the environment and cared less about technology that separated us from each other.
We did try, we invested in cycle-trails to get communities moving again and we noticed inter-generational groups get together like they haven't done in years.
We noticed the advent of positive technologies such as e-bikes gave life back to those who had thought that the great outdoors was beyond them. We gave them back an active social circle.
What we would like to see you do is 'be that change that we all need'. Be active, be healthy. Care about the community around you, and those who are less fortunate than yourselves. Get educated, get fit, take up art, laugh often and loudly.
From a Hamilton survey respondent.
May you still hear the call of the tui in the morning as the golden sunrise kisses the sky,
may the air you breath be clean and give sustenance to your soul,
may you swim in the rivers of aotearoa without fear of contamination,
may our seas provide a bounty for which your generation sustainable nurture,
may you encourage our future generations to look to improve our earth and living conditions,
may you eat the fruit from the trees, the veggies from the ground and may they be organic,
may you children’s grandchildren grow to see a world better that the one you have inherited,
may you not forget your past, where you have come from and those that came before you, so you look to improve the future and do not repeat the
From a Hamilton survey respondent.
Kia ora John (I'm hoping the name endures, lol).
I hope that you, as a young member of the Hamilton, Waikato and NZ community have had the opportunity to meet your full potential.
I hope that you live in a warm and healthy home, have access to good nutritional food and have all the educational opportunities you need.
I hope that these lead to you participating in a vibrant local and national economy and that you are an active, positive participant in your local community (like your parents and their parents before them).
Love you, Pop.