Blog 082 Shit at doing Vlogs!

Yesterday I was riding my bike around Wellington city looking to find somewhere with good light and great location so that I could shoot my first video to reflect on my training progressions in preparation for my charity bike ride this coming winter. It was raining, getting dark and traffic was busier than usual. The whole time I was super excitable because it was one of my first ever personal video logs taken to reflect on my training and it was even more exciting because it represented the next stage of my new personal interest recording my days.

As I made my way up Kelburn Hill, it dawned on me that I really had no idea what it was that I was going to be shooting. No concept of image stabilisation, no idea what I was doing. I’ve been following all sorts of daily YouTubers from all over the world. The old Casey Neistat video logs, Gary Vaynerchuk’s daily vee, Cycling Maven’s cycling videos, and MKBHD tech reviews. Now I’m no media mogul nor am I barely an amateur video maker. In reality, the work I’m capable of is doing still shots for Instagram and the occasional snap chat story.

But making media for a large video streaming service to me seems a little bit more serious and correct me if I’m wrong but does content define the quality of a video or is it the editing that alone can make a crap video watchable? Today you are my teacher, today’s blog is about what you see. I need to learn how to get better at doing video blogs because it’s something that I’ve begun to learn is an important tool to engage with wider audiences.

Blogging will always be a powerful tool because it feels more anonymous and appeals to a certain demographic of people who value words over visuals. However, living in a technological age that is advancing in the media production industry. With the rapid improvement in local body media through fantastic smartphone cameras, 360-degree shooting lens’ and the production of recreational drones hitting the mass market. No longer is it just the big budget movie production companies holding the monopoly over creating successful and professional looking videos.

I don’t see creating videos as being my primary concern but it does seem like a logical development for this charity bike ride in July. It lets donors for my Givealittle with a quick two-minute update on how my riding is going, what I need help with, and just cool content along those late Autumn months. There’s a lot of cool developments in creating media through videos for this blog.

My aim is to create media that is reflective of how my training is going so that I create a bigger base. But in order to achieve that I need to get better at creating videos in the first place. From the camera to the distribution of the media. Some tips on editing videos or just some philosophical wisdom would be extremely helpful. Hopefully, this side project of another side project will teach me a skill that I can utilise for future stuff too like making videos for other things.

Areas I could use some advice in.

  • Camera Quality.
  • Editing Software & Tips.
  • Distribution and Final Touches.

A bit of back story. So my ride is from Wellington to the top of the North Island of New Zealand (1100km) over seven days. The ride itself is to raise funds for children in care to have a voice and the money is going to an independent advocacy service called VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. VOYCE’s Website.

The side goal is to ride with GoPro cameras mounted to my helmet as well as on the front bonnet of my support car as well as a drone to capture some epic shots of New Zealand! So every tip I can get is hugely valuable information that I can get better at for the next two months!

That’s another little chat for today.





Thanks for checking in!

 

Blog 081 Cycling On NZ Roads 

Today’s chat comes from the view of a cyclist who uses New Zealand’s roads to get from A to B. We’ll cover the basic principles of riding solo versus riding in a group and we’ll also discuss the difference of opinions in the eyes of motorists who infrequently respect the safety of those on skinny two wheels.

Us not a case of not existing, as much as motorists would like to believe. Road cyclists have the goal of improving their fitness and general health. Some people are battling cancer while others are training to raise funds for cancer. Others are getting the milk and some are just exploring. But ask yourself what you’re doing and is it worth risking the life of a person by swerving in front of them travelling downhill at 60km per hour.

The general consensus is that cyclists are Lyra wearing road hazards sipping coffee and riding four a breast. But it’s simply not true. They are human beings fighting the elements going nowhere quickly minding their own business. The main argument is road safety and while I don’t condone riders going four a breast whatsoever, they generally represent ten percent of the cycling community while the rest are riding between places by themselves being yelled at for no reason but they’re holding up traffic.

It doesn’t take much to wait until the road is clear, a cyclist should move to the side of the road when safe to do so. I always do! It’s just common courtesy, I’ll shift across the road so you can pass by me and in return I expect plenty of leg room, no honking of any horns and respect for my safety.

The second rant is this argument of Lyra in and around coffee shops. It’s not a.relevant argument. It helps tremendously, and when you’re pushing a headwind which we have all done once in our lifetime, every little helps so grow up and if you don’t like man was don’t bloody look.

New Zealand has particularly shitty roads due to poor infrastructure and lack of resourcing to do so. For a cyclist on one inch wide wheels it’s considerably more dangerous to ride using the burns of the road when there is grit, potholes and parked cars. Sodomy get shitty if we remain front and center. Give us some space, it’s just common courtesy, being nice is free.

Wellington in particular is a busy city, we get it so there’s no need to be pushy. As the population rises due to increases in migrants to the country, more people will be buying in the outer suburbs which means more pressure on public transport and more importantly, more road users. As the population goes up the roads get busier. While everyone is frustrated about times to get around it’s important to remember that everyone’s pissed off. That’s just common courtesy, again it’s free.

So whether your rant is about road hogging, coffee shopping or if you’re just an impatient piece of shit. Grow up and recognise that people die on NZ roads. Be courteous and other will repay it in full. Today’s little rant is in #reflection of some guy who came a thumb width from sweeping my front wheel from under me. It’s just not good enough.

That’s my little rant for today.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 080 Working In Retail & Hospitality

We all know what retail assistants look like three hours before their shift ends. The meta-smile, can’t be bothered-ness seeping through in conversation. Weary legs and a hangover, four hours sleep without breakfast, trashed the house and unmade bed, student loan and a job in retail that hardly covers lunch costs. Yeah, living the dream.

Today’s chat hones in on retail workers and the poor treatment they receive in particular within the workforce. The facades and forced smiles impede on our personalities and expectations of what individuality looks like. Underpaid and undervalued in a social sphere that claims to be developed. In light of the recent protesting across New Zealand, this chat glances over the current state of affairs with retail workers and how they vary from other industries.

My first job was pushing trolleys at my local supermarket. For around a year people would undervalue the little brown kid pushing cages across overcrowded parking lots. I’d push trains of trundlers over the stone mall floors and count the minutes until my break through the stock market international clock.

I was earning minimum wage at $14 an hour at the time. My first pay was a healthy $84, at the time it seemed as though I was earning enough to provide for a small family. Gradually you learn that money is relative to how much overhead you’ve got to pay for. When I was a fifteen -year-old trolley pusher there was no comparison to a young couple with a baby trying to pay rent, afford food, buy enough warm blankets to keep their home warm and look after their baby.

Relative overheads for me has been a big part of growing up. Realising that I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for those families working tirelessly to provide for their families because these businesses are too cheap to fork out another dollar an hour so that their workers could afford enough blankets to keep them warm over winter.

When you visit McDonald’s and you come across a 30 something-year-old assistant operating the counter dealing with a drunk self-obligated teenager throwing a hissy fit because they dropped their nuggets on their wobble back to their chair. You’ve got to spare a moment for the worker. There’s no way they don’t have rent to pay, friends who treat them like dirt because it’s public knowledge that McDonald’s assistants earn less than the living wage of $20 an hour.

Maintaining a state of calm through the rockiest confrontations earning not much more than a trolley boy selling shit food, working with overpriced shoes, making coffee for red-eyed students at 1 am in the morning. Labouring within the retail and hospitality industries include dealing with customers who are generally on the defensive because they are there to spend money and so easily disregard the emotional personality of the workers who deliver the service.

People who work with people should always be classed as a medium paying job at the bare minimum. Not the minimum amount legally obligated to. In a reflection of the latest protests from fast food workers in New Zealand pushing for more funding. Our system doesn’t accommodate for stewardesses on aeroplanes dealing with unrelenting customers who spilt their coffee down their shirt due to turbulence, or even trolley boys who are complained about when they’re in the way of cars when they’re pushing 15 trundlers across the parking lot.

If we spent more time stating that people who work with people are valuable resources because they sell us our food, size us our shoes, provide us with water on our flights, give us trollies to collect stuff at the supermarket. It would remove the dirt from their eyes and remind them of their significance as individuals. While our system needs to make a big change to accommodate for these workforces, being nice doesn’t cost anything.

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 079 Family Values and How They’ve Changed

This conversation is in regards to the evolution of family values and how they effect the way we interact with each other and also how these changes are preserved and why there has been changes made in the first place.

I want to look deeply into how the advancement of technology has altered the way we interact with one another and I would also like to discuss how dinner time talk has adjusted to suit that. What I’ve noticed over the previous few years is that kids are becoming more aware of brand names and less aligned with the important stuff such as valuing peoples time, getting into lots of mischief and falling out of trees.

Kids, like me, have grown up in an individualistic environment dictated by big money corporations who “help” the system to benefit themselves. As a kid I used to enjoy climbing every tree in our entire neighbourhood. Just last weekend I was on a campsite in the Marlborough region where we spent time with our cousins. Because I was adopted into an older family, the generation below me is in this strange niche where they could neither call me an uncle or call me their cousin.

During our camp I noticed how much the kids were interacting in games like rugby, soccer and even falling out of trees. It was a pretty cool time and it reminded me of when I was that age doing similar things. It’s a rare thing to see kids getting into mischief or doing things that might risk their health now.

But why is that? Why is the urbanized generation taught not to go out and explore anymore? My theory, as mentioned in a few other discussions, is that it could be down to the fact of increased health and safety standards in reflection of insurance companies jerking on the lapels of our justice system complaining that kids shouldn’t be climbing trees in the first place. Because big money insurance companies don’t want to pay people out when they state a claim. My theory is that these economic changes prevent people from doing what they want and so it becomes a social norm not to. So we are stuck in an age that spends less time being wild and more time inside, stuck behind screens up to nothing much. Probably watching The Bachelor…

As far as I’m concerned this is one of the biggest contributors to the evolution of quality time spent with our loved ones. As a result of economic change our kids are being taught that it’s less important to get hurt and more important to be safe or cautious. But I would argue it prevents kids from learning some important lessons.

Lessons like asking a girl out on a date. They might be rejected but you have to learn to grow a skin for that. Building a snow man and catching a cold, you’ll learn to wear more clothes next time. Going for a bike ride without having enough food, starve until you reach your location.

Learning through experience is valuable knowledge growing up. Learning the hard way grows a patience, using google to find the answer doesn’t teach people the precious lesson that sometimes you’ve got to persevere and find out for yourself. Booking an Uber doesn’t teach us how to walk. Ordering pizza doesn’t teach us how to eat healthily. Relying on internet service doesn’t teach us how to appreciate right now!

My second point is that technology has adverse effects on our all people, particularly the younger generations who are taught that asking for the wifi passcode is normal and that catching an uber is manual labour.

When the younger generation decide what is normal they follow their elders, when little sisters wonder how long they should spend on Facebook each night they look to their older brother. Because we are stuck into our laptops, because we are so heavily involved with work, our younger generation are adversely effected by our actions.

Family values today have evolved from those of yesterday because technology has intertwined with our routines. We keep our cellphones charging in our bedrooms, we keep our laptops consistently on stand by mode. When we allow technology to come into our daily lifestyles they influence our belief systems or culture. Within those belief systems are social normalities, knowing what is normal and what we will be able to get away with. In that space, technology effects our values.

There are many adaptations of evolvements of our livelihoods at home and away from home. For me however, I feel that a couple of big things which have merged into our lives are the increases in safety standards and the involvement of technology.

The most important thing is to remember that as adults we are ambassadors for the next generation to ensure that the trend doesn’t continue and that the most important  values such as love, life and individual development are protected at all costs.





Thanks for checking in! 🙂

Blog 078 ANZAC DAY – Now Vs Then!

Though today’s conversation is aimed at discussing how propaganda is still alive and well in today’s economy, I would like to emphasise the significance of lives of those lost. That ANZAC day is important because it serves to commemorate the lives of those who passed away and not a day to blame people or a system for encouraging enlistment. It is important to remember the characteristics that these people had. They all have families and they all deserve to be treated with respect outside of the fact. During the first world war when battalions of our soldiers were encouraged to head overseas to war our country wasn’t informed about the graveness of war and weren’t given the same indication as we would receive today. I’ve learnt that it wasn’t until after the war when our people came home when there was radio silence about the experiences our soldiers had.

When dad’s, brothers and grandfathers didn’t come home from war did they feel the real impacts of war? When people realised that the army intercepted letters and moderated explicit wordings where the men would explain how grave war was because it conflicted with our militaries interests to recruit reinforcements over the years of war. That our leaders wanted to train new soldiers to send overseas because numbers won wars and numbers showed our support for other beneficiaries such as trading with allied countries, it gave our allies reasons to support us in future conflicts. That it seemed easier to cut out the words of soldiers to their loved ones to prevent them from discouraging enlistment.

It was reported that before World War Two, prior to the Gallipoli landings, that many people refused to go to war and were branded as “objectors” who were simply people who dissented from participating in another man’s war. Men who declared themselves not willing to enlist as a part of the ANZAC were arrested in their own homes. In one particular case that they made a series on TVNZ called The Field Punishment. A documentary series on the second world war making accounts of when 14 of the staunchest “objectors” were persecuted and imprisoned in Trentham Army Camp where they would later be sent overseas to set an example of what happens to people when they dissent to enlisting or decide to pull out.

It does set an example but only as evidence that our governing body at the time would do everything within their power to slip between the lines of political interest and the trenches of our soldiers on the battlefield. That at the time our government wanted to acquire more monopoly over the world stage than valuing the lives of brave people who didn’t want to have to demoralise themselves by killing other people in vein.

Isn’t it great that we don’t have to deal with that sort of propaganda today though? That we are much more able to what we wish because we have the technology to allow that. We are much tougher on our governments to produce good legislation and make wiser decisions regarding the involvement of our people in matters of warfare. We say we couldn’t imagine the confliction of war because we re better equipped with our personal rights and less easily led on. That much is true…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But are we actually free from propaganda?

In my respectful opinion, the marketing and advertising of material things are today’s equivalent to wartime propaganda. We are made to believe that we need new clothes all 25 seasons a year, we are made to believe that having a fancy house is the destination of success and happiness. We are told that using certain chemical pills will increase our health and fitness.

When in reality clothes should last for at least a year without breaking, most people cannot afford a fancy house and should never need to because they should be giving their money to families who are struggling to pay rent and then settle for a more modest home that they can actually call home. When the only chemical we need can be found in organic foods such as fruit and vegetables. If we actually need protein then we should eat meat instead of being lazy and finding unnatural alternatives.

Morally, we already know this stuff. The problem is that there is advertising on our social media sites and on our televisions. While ad-blocker might work there it doesn’t prevent that advertising is in our supermarkets, on giant billboards slapped against bus stops and even on the sides of student accommodation complexes.

We’re made to believe that eating certain foods, wearing branded clothing and buying the latest smartphone will eventually make us happy. That we will get access to “freedom.” That only by getting all this stuff, we might make it to this imaginary place. It’s like telling a child that if they spend a few bucks on a postcard to Santa it might actually make it to The North Pole and that their wildest dream might to some capacity come true.

No different to the propaganda used to encourage unknowing 18-year-old boys back in World War One to enlist into the ANZAC campaign. That it would help their country reach a state of “freedom” and that it needed to be done to prevent the war from reaching the shores of New Zealand.

When to be honest it only comes down to a few war mongering dick heads making a whole lot of uni-modal decisions to stamp their weight on the world out of greed, power and wealth. That war at the end of the day is a huge waste of human life and a massive unnecessary burden on the lives of people.

Advertising is modern propaganda aligned with a similar ideology that purchasing good will bring us happiness. The key differences are that it concerns big money businesses and not primarily our government. Secondly, it concerns individual freedom and not national freedom. It’s a case of feeling free as an individual versus feeling free as a nation or a people. Liberation from the opinions of others based on the belief assumption that the clothes I’ve purchased are expensive, branded and aesthetically appealing therefore I am immune from the judgment of others which subsequently gives me the freedom to do as I wish. Versus liberation for my country because if I enlist it may improve our chances of taking the beaches of Gallipoli and subsequently our allied forces might be able to disable the Turkish forces from aiding our countries “enemies” and therefore we may have a better chance at winning “our” war. Which means that we will be able to achieve a state of “freedom.”

Some people treat objects as leverage to feel better about themselves with money as their resource. We are to wear certain clothes, to drive certain cars when in reality we are just as functional in the clothes we wear and don’t need a $120,000 Tesla electric car because lets face it you only want it because they look amazing and you think it’ll make you a better person and not because of the functional benefits.

At the end of the day.

As stated at the beginning of this chat I made it very clear that this chat is not to blame anyone in particular for the deaths of these individuals but instead use the occasion to reawaken the exposure of false beliefs.

At the end of the day, freedoms lie within the growth of individuality. That we construct our personalities uninfluenced by assumptions of false freedoms and know the difference between our own battles and another person’s war. That we are unmodulated in what messages we send to ourselves and others.

Something this generation is good at is questioning the resolve of our governing body. We have the technology to inform us from multiple lenses and therefore we have a healthy scepticism for things we are told.

One of my main concerns and you’ll find it through most of my blogs is about marketing and the lack of individuality. That so often I see clever marketing skills that have been driven from an age of professionalised creativity which tricks our vulnerable generation into buying shit they don’t need. That our kids are adversely effected by the condemning nature of false beliefs and assumptions that they can only be happy if they buy stuff.

My point today is that we should be aware of these big money corporations who claim to act in the interests of our people but are only interested in making lots of money and aren’t even remotely interested in providing value to their customers. Like making clothes that don’t last, smartphones with battery life expectancies.

We need to priorities our social development by ensuring that our beliefs are built well on facts and are informed by people uncorrupted with power or giving into marketing strategies that give us no value and make us build assumptions that cost us individuality.

Ultimately, ANZAC Day is a time to commemorate those poor soldiers who passed away in war. They had lives, they had families and within those relationships had very meaningful memories. They were still human. Lest we forget the lessons of ANZAC Day so that we don’t repeat it under similar circumstances in the future.

End.
Thanks for checking in.

Blog 077 Legalising Marijuana – The Age Old Debate!

NOTE: This conversation is by no means to encourage smoking marijuana. I don’t smoke nor do I drink alcohol. My opinion is only to discuss the legality of growing, possessing and smoking marijuana in New Zealand, not a lecture on how to live your life.

Today I want to talk about how our government is inconsistent with making policies against certain substances and lenient with others. That it’s money which impedes our leadership and in reality, the most important thing is and always will be people health. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That the only way we will be able to grow properly is by realising that loving people is the only thing that matters. If you are convinced stop reading here… Otherwise I have set up a conversation below.





Ever notice how the word legalise now days seems to be fused together with marijuana? It goes to show how long this argument has been going on for and the sorts of social affairs we as a society are currently discussing. But what is the end goal and how do we reach freedom? To reach a point where we have absolute power over our lives, to be allowed to smoke whatever we want. The clear message is that people are becoming more aware of rules that make no sense, we are becoming more aligned with the powers that exist and are taught democracy is supposed to be about people power. So when we take it to the man we aim to get down to the gritty stuff because the new generation has been brought up being told they should question the status quo.

People are empowered in modern society to be loud, they are encouraged to make their own decisions. When there is bullshit being told to the masses, us younger generation are more inclined to speak out about it. To tell our leaders when something doesn’t make sense and challenge the powers that be to make sure their reasoning is well informed and not influenced by money and not ethics. So today’s discussion, while it’s titled legalising marijuana, is more about how times have changed and that we should look at it from an alternative perspective which reflects 2017. There are many opinions both leftist and rightist but I think what matters is discussing how we can all take something new out of it.

I’m a teenager, I’ve smoked the green stuff before. Do I regret it? Never. It is a good experience. It’s like eating Turkish food for the first time, like biking without a helmet on, swimming way out into the ocean by yourself or starting a giant bonfire. Experience defines opinions and future decision making. What I’m eluding to is realising that you can’t make an informed opinion about something if you haven’t done it and don’t understand the benefits and consequences of those actions.

Weed is numbing and fun when around the right people. As is understood, there are two primary species of cannabis leaf, the first is Sativa and the second is Indica. Sativa energises and motivates while Indica mellows and relaxes. The effects are hardly different from sleeping pills and anti-depressants. The only difference we are told is that cannabis has long term effects in high usages such as hallucinations and in extreme cases can lead to psychosis. To be honest it’s seriously just a case of not overusing the bloody stuff. Like if you ate chocolate three times a day every day, asides from Sunday when you chopped up another couple for lunch, then you’re probably going to go into a sugar coma or worse create health problems like diabetes. It’s about being smart and realising that balance or only using in the rarest occasion is the way to go, it is still a drug at the end of the day and should be treated with an equal seriousness as alcohol. Not being high whilst driving, not operating machinery and not using around children or schools. The biggest difference is actually knowing in yourself that you don’t need them in the first place.

Existing in a world where teenagers binge drink and crash cars versus stoners who fall asleep on the couch. Weigh up which drug is worse. Coming up with excuses to cause fights in town by blaming alcohol instead of owning up to your own problems. Like a chemical reaction, the catalyst (or alcohol) isn’t the reason that the reaction occurred because it only speeds up the reaction. The real problem is the two things which collided, emotions and personal circumstances like being cheated on etc. Taking ownership for situations we get ourselves into while drinking should be legalised. Not a plant that grows the same way a mint plant or a basil plant or a coriander grows up, naturally.

If the New Zealand government is going to have laws in place which prevent the production, possession and usage of marijuana. Then it needs to be consistent in creating legislations that consider all drugs including alcohol. That if alcohol is legal then why is marijuana not also? Or even better, if marijuana is illegal then why is alcohol not also illegal? Alcohol is involved in approximately one-third of all police apprehensions and family violence cases in New Zealand. Why is it that during 2015, 50% of all serious violence cases involve alcohol?

One of the main reasons New Zealand has so many social problems due to the consumption of alcohol is because it is legal and readily available to anyone over the age of 18. It makes me question why our legal system provides the alcohol and beverage industry with such leniency regarding consumption when the evidence is overwhelming that New Zealand’s drinking culture is unable to look after itself let alone drive itself home after going to the pub. So my resolve is quite simple really, why do couch bound stoners face illegalities while binge drinking teenagers are allowed to ruin parties and drunk abusive adults can cause domestics.

Money, money, money. Ever noticed how health and safety standards have increased in the last ten years? How construction workers are forced to wear more safety gear, heftier fines are applied to organisations who fail to enforce operational safety checks more stringently. How architects are forced to build ramps on a certain angle to ensure disabled people are easily able to wheel themselves to the top? That steps have to be designed at a certain rise and run?

Offences such as driving under the influence have become far more punishable and the consequences have become much more serious. The reasoning behind that is because when things go wrong, like when a worker comes to work stoned out of their brains and gets behind the wheel of a forklift carrying 2 tonnes of wine. If they knock into a shelf of wine and break $20,000 worth of product a business will want to claim on insurance because they will still want to make money. Happy to pay the excess price to recover the money in which their worker lost for them. Insurance companies investigate and look to find reasons why the wine was spilt. The investigation is based on health and safety standards.

My theory is that across the year’s insurance companies have investigated accident claims and have tried to find people to blame for causing it. Each time they find a case where there is no validation that a person could be held accountable for something happening I reckon the insurance company would go away and think of reasons to screw people over. They would probably spend weeks coming up with a way to create rules which prevent certain mistakes from occurring.

And they must… My theory is that these massive insurance companies must hire lawyers who are good at finding loopholes in our legal system to force The New Zealand Occupational Safety and Health commission (OSH) to tighten their rules and make it so that people are more closely monitored. That money and business are to blame for our government coming to heads about legalising marijuana because they know a five-year-old could make the comparison and wonder why alcohol is legal and weed isn’t. That alcohol is the leading cause of family violence in our country, that thousands of kiwis have died on our roads in the last few years from driving drunk. It doesn’t take a stubborn nineteen-year-old blogger named Mana to see that it’s a shit system.

It’s really sad that the little guy gets shit on because these big money corporations get greedy and want to save money by not paying people out when they make mistakes, no wonder people are getting off their chops. In the world where everything affects everything. Ethical morality matters more than financial security and profit margins. Socio-economics matter more than money, power and greed. People matter more than money. By addressing the needs of the people acknowledges that as a government you’re prioritising people health (mental, social, physical) and not specifically aiming for economic development.

In the case of legalising green stuff, it’s a classic example how our legal system is flawed beyond belief and pays homage to shitty leadership and a lot of social issues left unresolved. That cabinet would rather ignore the entire saga because it won’t give them seats in parliament. So instead we have kids growing up believing that marijuana is an unnatural chemical, alcohol makes uncle very grumpy, and that social media is our friend and that the black mirror of our cell phones is actually never going to affect us.

So let’s then talk about how social media may be evidence of another outlet for our next generation to be focusing in on. The redistribution of social problems such as stress, anxiety, and just a general expectation that it might make them feel better about life by searching for that dopamine kick. Because there is evidence to suggest that getting a notification on Facebook or a text message on our smartphones releases a chemical called dopamine. Which is the same stuff lance Armstrong used to win seven Tour De France races and is the same kick we get from drinking alcohol or smoking illegal marijuana.

I would argue that our addiction to social media is indeed a reflection of a change in time. That perhaps in ten years there will be new youth advocates arguing for the illegalization of prolonged social media usage. That OSH may put a meter on the number of hours we spend scrolling down our Facebook feed, that our employers must have a panel which, when arriving into our workplace, tells our employer how many hours we had spent surfing social media in our evening. So that when a worker crashes into a shelf full of wine, and due to inflation, destroys $49,000,000 worth of product and a business claims insurance. The insurance company undergoes an investigation. It is found that while the worker was not drunk, while they were not under the influence. Unfortunately, they were sleep deprived because they were three social media usage hours above the legal limit to operate heavy machinery.

When the older generations claim that our kids are soo bubble wrapped and protected from everything, this might be the reason why. But ask yourself what our kids are actually being protected from. Ask yourself what they’re being exposed too. Because these sorts of inconsistencies while they might be extreme they do reflect that our legal system, while it seems logical and well thought out. Why are we still arguing about the legality of a Mint plant looking sleep inducer when we should be outlawing the consumption of alcohol entirely and encourage social development by actually developing socially.

The truth is our government can love us, we are just fed bullshit to make the legislation look spotless, who said marketing was the only moral-less industry. We just need good leaders who are clear about things and are themselves informed.

End.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 076 Cycle For Children 2017 – Update Two!

NOTE: This quick update is in regards to two major developments in this tour.

  • A Cause Is Named!
  • A New Support Opportunity!

As some people are already aware, this July between the 10th until the 17th is my bike ride for the children’s independent advocacy service VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. The ride itself will be over 1100km and will take between six to eight days to complete, depending if all goes well.

In the first update we talked about the generalised route and discussed which potential areas the ride would go through, This was mainly to gauge some more support for the ride itself, trying to forge a few ideas that people might have to solve some of the more serious concerns, such as accommodation, riding alongside etc.

A number of things have happened sine then. I have planned out the master budget for the entire ride and have estimated the overall cost of the venture, I have also set up a Givealittle page in the reflection of those budgets. In regards to progress I have also set up three alternative plans in case something goes wrong along the way and that there are reassurances that if I do get run off the road, I am able to safely find shelter.

Some of the major differences are that my ride will be for VOYCE-Whakarongo Mai. My reasoning behind that is because they are a primarily non-governmental organisation that takes an invested interest int he voices of care and experienced youths and utilises their voices into helping kids who are in care currently.

One of the greatest parts of raising money for this cause is because I am directly affiliated with Oranga Tamariki which is New Zealand’s Ministry for our Vulnerable Children. Being raised in the care system it made me realise that speaking up was a huge concern and quite frankly misplaced at every level within our society. So for me, the idea of an independently ran advocacy service spoke a million words about how important change is and how real the dynamic can be.

So for me, raising funds for an organisation that helps people who were in my situation, who didn’t know there rights, who didn’t know how to complain about decisions made for them or the people looking after them, who felt undervalued and stigmatised as a pain that nobody wanted to have to pay taxes for To give that child a voice to speak up and let their voices be heard is something that we can all agree is worth the effort.

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 112

The second major development is the involvement of a support car. One of my close friends, Tupua Urlich has offered to support me throughout the race including driving up behind me from Wellington to Kaitaia. Which is absolutely incredible. It’ll allow me to keep the majority of my gears all kept neatly within his car as well as communicating via radios in case of any emergencies such as being hit by a truck, running out of food and running out of Poi E when riding through Patea.

To whatever length is necessary, the idea that Tupua will drive alongside me is absolutely incredible, and it will save a lot of money when push comes to shove in the days during the race itself.

So that is the majority of my major updates since last Wednesday, you’re able to visit my Givealittle using the link below 🙂

Time for me to pass it forward…

Mana Cycles For Children 2017 – My Givealittle Page





Thanks for checking in!

Blog 075 Why Rest When You Could Create?

NOTE: A bit of late night ESSAY motivation!

Tonight’s late night conversation concerns mostly us night owls. The kinds of people who don’t value sleep as much as they value doing whatever random thing people do at 2 in the morning. I want to talk about the importance of resting properly and the exposure of getting the right amount of sleep in regards to creativity and general health with an upcoming charity bike ride that I’m doing this July in mind.

Well, it’s not going to be a long discussion tonight, as most people are probably tucked neatly folded between their sheets and long unwashed duvet inners, I want to reflect on my sleeping patterns as a teenager and how I was never an early riser in the morning. So just stay with me for about ten minutes.

When I was thirteen-years-old, I made the realisation that bedtime was completely down to what time you woke up in the morning. That as long as I got a minimum of six-seven hours of sleep time there was a healthy chance that I would still perform to an appropriate amount each day. Going through high school I would have assignments due in on the following Monday. During the weekends I would draw houses, dig holes into my parents vegetable gardens, bike around to my friend’s places and get up to lots of mischief. But I would always sit down at 9:00 pm on a Sunday’s evening and press into the work due in on Monday morning. A part of me learnt that a time of day in which rest occurred was never as important as the job itself. That I could be productive at late o’clock on a Sunday and still have plenty to show for it.

After a couple of years of consecutive practising of random sleep cycles, my body became more equipped for hard nights studying and working through whatever it was I was doing, assigned or not. I had effectively taught myself how to work around the clock to complete any task that came my way. While some might argue that it’s having no life that did that, it was more a huge part of my personality to want to work hard in order to achieve what is thought impossible.

While this chat is probably more designed for somebody who is highly strung up on the small details or a high school student who is cramming in for his physics internal hand-in. Or even someone trying to smash out a personal project on a Sunday night because they have work off for the next couple of days. My advice is to just do it. Regardless of the hour.

While most people would say not to sleep beyond a certain time or that you should always sleep at a certain time. It’s more important that if you have an idea that might change the world that you capture that the moment it reaches your clutches. Get onboard and do something about it. Don’t let your brain overwhelm that idea you had swirling around in your brain. Dreams are the ones made in the first five seconds an idea comes to mind.

From a physical point of view, yes. It’s not healthy to stay up all hours of the morning because it alters your circadian rhythm and alters things such as your immune system which prevents you from getting sick, good digestive health, and general focus during the day. But I guess that’s why so many creatives love this word coffee. Coffee is absolutely your friend. it loves you, and you love coffee.

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 103

Find a balance that works for you. If you have an idea, make it and stop complaining how late it is. Creativity comes from those moments when you’re not reading my blogs when you’re not scrolling Facebook when you’re not watching TV. Creativity comes when you stop numbing your emotions and start feeling the flow of the vibe. When you start seeing things and think how you might be able to do something with those things.

Creativity does need sleep though. In relation to my upcoming charity bike ride, lack of sleep is probably one of the biggest deterrents from me completing it successfully. What I’m saying is that at a physical level, if you’re training to become a professional athlete then it’s wiser to go to bed before 11:00 pm because you need to conserve energy for the right time of the day, and it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be playing soccer at 11:15 pm on a Sunday night, so find a good balance.

The line between doing too much work and getting not enough sleep and rest is incredibly thin but immeasurably significant. If I don’t get into a relevant sleeping pattern before I decide to ride my bike 1100km across six days in July, my body will shut down in the first four hours of each day because my rides start at 6:00 am. That my bodies sleeping pattern is not setup for those early morning endeavours. That I’m going to still be sleeping when it matters the most that I’m on my bike.

This conversation is raising the concern of sleep deprivation in endurance sporting exercises but also encouraging creativity to blossom to whatever hour suits the creator. Those sleep hours shouldn’t barricade the flow of ideas, but that a realistic approach and plan is put in motion to ensure that the creator has both a reliable system and a maximised effort. For me, today’s chat represents the first biggest recognition in preparation for the beginning of my training for this long haul journey, and that’s my resting routine.

The only thing that is more important than training, or working hard to create, is to sleep and rest the mind, body and what’s a bit of psychology without talking about the soul. Who needs jealousy when you slept to your primary number of sleep hours?

Be your own person and learn to grow within yourself, never doubt your own resolve especially if somebody tells you that you can’t achieve it. And as always…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 074 Jealousy & Paranoia

NOTE: Another long conversation, and yes I know, another heavy topic.

Sitting in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday afternoon, I thought today might be a good day to reflect on two of the most vicious feelings we ever go through as individuals. Jealousy and paranoia. While this is not in reflection of anything in particular. It is something I’ve struggled with on many occasions. So I thought why not take the opportunity while I am camping, surrounded by family who loves me, and write something that is very painful to chat about.

Today’s heavy chat is in relation to overcoming paranoia and jealousy. To do that we will go into detail defining what the two mean and discussing the underlying assumptions we make and how these assumptions eventually turn into jealousy and paranoia. I want to analyse how these two feelings affect how we socialise and why we might become anxious. If we can accomplish this hopefully we can then relate these issues to bigger world applications and that we can both learn something from it.

So what is jealousy to me? I suppose it’s when there is a moment where my own interests conflict with decisions made by somebody else. There are a few circumstances where jealousy could be the resulting emotion. Lack of involvement or being missed out. When another person’s feelings don’t correlate to my expectations. When somebody else has something that I don’t have and attracts the attention of people I do care about. Jealousy is when control is vulnerable. It’s when we don’t have the access to somebody else’s decisions. When you cannot control somebody else for whatever reason.

The most important assumption here is the assumption that we had any control of other people in the first place. We can’t control what other people do all the time. Not even some of the time. Therefore, we cannot protect ourselves from all the bad things that happen. We can’t force our partners to never have eyes for another person. We can’t make our teachers teach in a way that only works for us. We can’t have total control of cars on the road and prevent crashes from happening all the time. We can never have enough food in the pantry to never have to fill up again. People change and food goes off, shit happens. Jealousy and conflict prevention can only be moderated by making sure that we are putting our energy towards healthy solutions. That we are monitoring close and prudently how we are as singularities. By running a tight ship we can be sure to minimise conflicts and crisis’ from occurring.

But that’s not jealousy. Jealousy to me is the tight feeling that makes me stress harder. Not a healthy stress either. It’s the feeling you get the days before Met-service states there is going to be a massive storm. A build up of anticipation for something we have little need to actually worry about or even any control over. We could probably take small steps to ensure we aren’t directly affected. However, jealousy is loosely definable as an illogical emotion. Kind of like being tickled, the fear of not knowing how long it will go on for, how long the storm will last, and not knowing if we will be able to maintain a constant level of balance and health. Not knowing if the people we love and care about will continue to do so once they invest into whatever another person has that we don’t.

For me, jealousy is a symptom of the fear of rejection and failure of succeeding. I don’t know about you but every time I’ve failed something and another person turns around and tells me about their success. I already feel like I’m good enough, not holding the mana, not being worth the attention. The immediate assumption that whatever value I considered holding within myself has been compromised because the train of thought that I had was wrong and derailed. That other people’s perception of me has somehow changed, that the mirror on the wall will show a different version of me, one that is somehow weaker than the first.

Rejection to me is like spinning out of control and aquaplaning across a teary highway. Drastic measures seem to be needed because if I don’t then it’s likely a crash is going to happen, right? Jealousy is easily caused when you learn that somebody else has something that you don’t. In some ways, you believe that the only way to get back to how things were before is by forcing the steering wheel in the opposite direction to where you are drifting too.

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But simple physics will teach that the crash nearly never happens when there is a loss of control but it’s when you try to reverse the situation by doing the opposite of what you were doing which actually causes an accident. Instead of feeling vulnerable and learning from it by going forwards, when we try hard to reverse the problem we only set ourselves up for more failure and the likelihood of going backwards. Take a Moto-GP rider at full swing riding across The isle of Mann TT for example. When in speed wobble the only way to stay balanced is to press down on the centre of gravity instead of resisting the wobble. Rejection is the wobble, correction is jealousy, stress is falling flat on your ass.

I used to always switch to jealousy because it motivated me to work harder to achieve beyond that level next time. Kind of unhealthy I know, but the anticipation of failing or being rejected is enough to spark jealousy and stressfulness all at the same time. This must affect other people, surely…

I think at a deeper level we all know that we don’t have control over other people’s lives. That it’s not really a reality that’s ever applicable or ever should be. We can try to make ourselves believe that we can but in really is all a part of an illusion that as kids, we slowly learn through trial and error that we aren’t always right, that we make plenty of mistakes and we are told left right and centre that nobody is perfect.

So we know that we don’t know everything and that we don’t deserve to have control over anybody asides from ourselves and the decisions that we make as individuals. I’m totally on board with that, shit I know that if I was the leader of a country that after a long period of time we’d probably fall into some sort of hardship. That it might work fine for a while but it will never be perfect forever because humans are dumb (I’m a human) and it’s absolutely going to turn to shit eventually. No organisation or government has ever worked forever.

We set up all of these micro-management gauges, like bank account balance checking applications on our smartphones, organised roading systems to prevent car crashes from happening, and fridges so we can see at a glance how much food we need to stay alive. We have fences up to tell other people where public land meets private lands, we have settings on Facebook which let us decide who can see our posts, there is a battery sensor at the top right-hand side of our monitors to tell us how much longer we can read Mana’s blogs. All of these micro-management gauges give us a sense of control so that we can feel in power, and jealousy is remembering we ain’t got shit.

So what I’m getting at here is that we already knew that there is nothing we can do to be perfect but through making all of these gauges we might be able to maintain the little dignity that we think we might have to rescue the lost power. I reckon that within everyone is a period of time where something has happened where we have lost control over a situation. It might be very big or it could be pretty small. Where we have felt a little bit of rejection that has made us at the time effectively shit the bed. When mum tells us we can’t afford something because there is not enough money in the account. When our teacher says that grades are a direct reflection of what we are capable of and then we get a bad grade. When we are rejected by the person we liked. When somebody tells us about our friend’s party we weren’t invited to. When our boss tells us that we are doing a terrible job. When you find out your girlfriend got with somebody else. When a business partner leaves you because they found a better partnership elsewhere. The applcations of jealousy are pretty much universal.

A build up of small moments where we feel rejected for no reason is like a mould build up on a bathroom roof. While this might be a lecture of avoidance, it’s more of an annoying notifier to get used to the pain and get used to feeling the unbearable feelings in order to feel stronger as an individual. Get used to feeling jealous and rejected so that we both become stronger as individuals. The hope is so that we can then help others through the same thing when they reach those moments.

Nobody likes to be paranoid but everybody likes to be in control, to some degree. So what level of control is healthy? What would happen if we decided that control wasn’t our priority and that we could get by without feeling the need to be in control of anything. Who sets the standard for the practicality of control?

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 108

If we could make a healthy compromise in what control we’re willing to give up and what control we believe is absolutely essential to our everyday routine like what time we wake, how much food we consume, what emotional bullshit we get involved in. What common medium exists where we could evenly portion a healthy control over our routine and how aware we are of our weaknesses, such as being able to react to the decisions people make that directly affect us.

The current state of affairs for social situations is that there are three bubbles of control that we use to protect ourselves when we have to deal with things so that we can prioritise our general health and equalise when needed. The third and outermost layer focuses on wider social impacts such as poverty, child abuse, the sex worker industry, and natural disasters or the weather. Stuff that we know is really important to help fix but we will only help change them if we have dealt with the inner layers and have any energy left over.

The second layer is the decisions that people make that might affect us, but not necessarily. These sorts of social happenings are the likes of group events, work timetables, exam deadlines, family reunions, somebody knocking on our door, a message from somebody we don’t know on Facebook, etc. The second layer is also the control we try to create over other people. This is the layer we will talk about in depth in just a moment.

The innermost layer is the stuff we should always be on top of because they immediately affect our lives. Like spiritual health, mental health, physical health. Just health in general is the most important thing in our lives but I would argue that health is different from well-being. That our well-being, or Hauora in Maori, is a direct affiliation of how we are as a singularity. How we perform by ourselves naturally. But there is nothing natural about a person after they are put in social situations, you have to consider how people react when they are under pressure, this we could refer to as health.

The second layer is where jealousy lies. Jealousy takes two people to tangle with becausre it’s an unnatural emotion that only exists when we give other people the control over us. When we spend too much time exerting energy on less relevant things like what other people have that we don’t have because we live in a society that tells us that those things matter.

Can you see the problem? Can you see that valuing the outer layers is less important for our own emotional health because we are effectively wasting time and energy worrying about other people’s stuff and less time focusing on our innermost priority, ourselves. It doesn’t just stop there either. What happens when you get a broken person helping another broken person? Did the safety video in-flight not teach you to put your face mask on before helping others? Taking for granted our own health by not spending enough time re-applying support within ourselves is something too many of us do.

But it doesn’t even stop there! Paranoia as an emotion is like… Mate… Go another level deeper than jealousy and the long-term personality characteristics that result from prolonged jealousy equate to paranoia. When you get cheated on by your girlfriend you become paranoid that your next girlfriend is going to the same. It’s hard to find the courage to allow them to go to parties without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’re not going to make out with another guy, that they’re not going to cheat on you too. Right? So it’s a process that you have to think about very clearly and work on building the from the foundations up to ensure that you are as stable as can be.

That’s something I’m dealing with now! Admittedly I’ve been cheated on twice and I still struggle trusting my girlfriend because of it. Luckily I spent a long time considering myself as being the most important person in my life, and this entire blog pays homage to that. Loving myself and putting a lot of energy into focusing on my own spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health empowers me to write and compels me to help others without considering anything in return, not money, not gifts, I don’t even expect people to read this. So long as somebody finds it useful and utilises it to some degree.

Jealousy and paranoia are vicious relationship wreckers. Nobody needs them. It is never our fault that we naturally care about other people. It’s not even our fault that other people suck and do things that compromise our relationships. But it is our fault what actions we take to resolve those conflicts. We as individuals are responsible for the actions that we take against jealousy and rejection. That’s why it’s so important that when we do crash. That we make sure we react in a way that focuses on our individualistic growth, that explores looking into relevant means of building our own support systems that accurately represent our health being a top priority, not somebody else’s achievements.

Through the love that we deserve and require of other people we can be encouraged to love ourselves and treat our own concerns as our best resolve. That no girl or boy should be worth the upset we try putting ourselves through regardless of being cheated on. That no storm is strong enough to make us feel undervalued. Through these beliefs that we deserve to be cared about, we recognise other people’s claims as well. That through birth we are all born as natural singularities, and through our adult years should always remain as natural singularities. While other people may achieve great feats we in our own rights hold characteristics which are completely admirable, which includes the respect we have for ourselves.

That is something worth being jealous over.

End.





While I know that I didn’t go into much detail what paranoia means, I think that the definition can be discovered through figuring out what jealousy means. Thank you for reading this epically long and tiresome conversation and…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 073 Letting People Down

On A Lighter Note…

You know, it’s not so great to think sometimes that all of your problems might be central to your belief systems. How you treat other people, how you draw pictures, what you perceive to be morally right, what clothes you decide to wear when there’s a formal occasion. This conversation covers this idea of letting other people down. The concern that you have to work to solve other people’s interests. I think this conversation exists to help out some millennials who think there is no hope in bothering to seek out help with issues like depression. I think this discussion was made to unhinge all of the underlying assumptions that we might believe when something happens in our lives in which we cannot control but become upset when we think that we’ve let somebody down.

I hate that, letting somebody down. It could be anything! Being late for my new boss, getting an average grade on something and letting my family down, forgetting to do the dishes and letting my flatmates down. It’s all connected. This slate of trust between you and another person makes you comfortable, it makes you scared to lose that trust. A feeling that you care about another person’s opinions about you because that’s where you garner a lot of what you perceive to be your personality. Like your reflection in the mirror or off the water. You believe that image to be you but how do you really know what you actually look like? Is that not just a shell that vessels the being inside you? Isn’t that what we are usually afraid of? That people might mistake us for being something we’re not by something that we’ve said or done or not done and then we think people evaluate their trust in our resolve every time we mess up, based on the shell that we perceive to be our personality?

I don’t claim to be right by any means, but for me, it seems like every time somebody is let down by one of my decisions it’s the immediate relationship which I’m most concerned about. My most degrading moment is when I’m doing something heavy like chopping up a rump stake balancing a phone on my shoulder and trying to make conversation with two people at once that the let down occurs whilst there’s nothing I can do to prevent that from happening. That my anxiety and stress are a part of my personality so much so that I couldn’t stop, think and prioritise one thing at a time. It’s maddening! That it wasn’t enough how anxious I was about being misunderstood but that I was letting somebody down and couldn’t do anything about it because I was too busy chopping a steak trying to be careful not to chop my fingers off, such a debacle I tell ya…

But I guess letting people down can be useful sometimes. In the words of my amazing sister, sometimes it’s worth not looking at the glass being half empty all the time and consider that sometimes there’s nothing we can do to change the way something is and change our perspective. I think for me tonight this lesson is really apparent. It’s concerning to me that something so bluntly obvious can cause drama in the most sacred of places, my home. That I could not control how I was feeling and so I felt the need to take that out on others.

I guess this lesson really highlights the fact that there are a million different pathways to which a person could feel threatened not to ask for help but instead turn to blaming others for their hostility. I guess tonight’s lesson shed light on a certain topic that can be interrelated to other known problems like rejection and the fear of failing. Well, I guess the fear of being misunderstood also slips into this equation. it’s never nice feeling that you’ve let somebody down because you couldn’t get passed your feelings of anxiety. Like sitting in a cafeteria not being able to hold the door open for an elderly person because you’re too afraid you might hit them in the head with it, even though they’re struggling to get it open. All of these small but significant anxieties are all connected to similar tensions that occur pretty much all over the place. The above situation happened with one of my friends, and after I yelled at her for not helping the man in the wheelchair gain access to the cafe, it was only then apparent that she was suffering from anxiety after she burst into tears.

So while my last post was very doom and gloom, I just want to emphasise how important it is that people recognise how much support is out there for them. Above all, they notice there is always a direct and logical reasoning behind we feel certain things about certain subjects. Though there might be a million different reasons why we a certain way about a subject. There is always a reason…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 102

One of the ways to remove this reason is to alleviate the tension leading to those assumptions. Learning to notice that nobody should ever have more power over our lives than ourselves, learning to feel that our opinions are valued by ourselves, and learning to take away the powers that other people hold aginst us. Three extremely solid solutions to a very diminishable problem. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s really easy to wallow in self-pity and look for reasons to feel upset about ourselves. We predict that we might be misunderstood and may let somebody down just through simply being anxious about it! Yep, humans are weird, can confirm.

It’s something that you and I both need to work on heaps. Learning to value ourselves more, take the pressure away and learn to remove the temptation by not feeling anxious in the process. Making sure that in our heads we know there is always a logical reason for why we are feeling like shit prior to letting somebody down and in response, learning to understand people without seeing them for their hair style, their shoes or just in general what they look like. Removing the judgment factor releases the tension and allows you understand where they’re actually coming from. I wonder If i could have solved racism with that last statement?

Anyway, you do you. But at the end of the day what is most important is that you remain informed through careful reconsideration that you were right in your head and that the pressure you’ve felt is nothing more than the remnants of power that somebody else had over you. That you are valued deeply, and that others around you, particularly at home, really do love you.

Here’s to another one!

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 072 Urbanism Versus Ruralism?

WARNING: Foul Language and A Shit Tonne of Bitching. 

Moving back to Blenheim for the Easter Holiday period gave me a quick glimpse into the ruralist lifestyle accommodation that only two months ago I was so used to. It really shines a light on socio-economics and how much of a contrast there is between the two. We really undervalue the effects that the environment has on us emotionally and our ability to let go of things like stress and insecurity.

In today’s conversation, I want to focus on the key differences between urbanism and rural lifestyle by defining the two from experience. We’re going to discuss how these small differences have huge impacts in social situations. How drama isn’t regulated enough in schools, in workplaces, and in university. In the hopes that we’ll be able to come to the realisation that we take those drama’s personally and then we neglect the help of those who matter like family, friends, the people who won’t leave you just because you’re being a dick.

Urbanism is a cluster fuck of people living in a small land mass. It’s just a compromising space where other people’s feelings trump your own. Where flatting situations seem like the best way to shit on another person just because they have no other way of avoiding it. Where being misunderstood can make a person react out because they feel insecure about your opinions because they’ve spent too long at the library and not long out in the open world not thinking about what other people think looking after themselves.

An urban space is constructed by creating infrastructures designed to make lives convenient. City life where convenience is scaled to the biggest it can be. Where people only have to roll their fat ass off the couch to jump in the elevator which leads them to their uber to drop them off at a supermarket just to buy a chocolate bar and talk to a self-checkout bitch who gives you the same demonising “thank you for shopping with us,” call as she did yesterday or to the other ten customers around you. Or alternatively, you could stay watching that documentary on youtube about global warming, about how someone else’s life’s dynamics work. Shit mate you don’t even have to leave the couch, you could simply sit there and wait for some guy to go and pick it up for you, all for a greasy dollar you spent without even taking your wallet out from beneath the cushions.

Urbanscapes are a place where people can judge a restaurant based on the “decor” instead of considering the food they are receiving, where a chef has spent hours vivaciously preparing the meal to satisfy your snobberistic tendencies just to listen to you complain. Where there are families literally half an hour away who can barely afford budget bread. Though it scares me that there might possibly be a place in this world that gives a shit about what coloured carrot was placed on your 10-inch across dinner saucer. I can almost guarantee that this other mystical place in snob-land is also an urbanscape. So get the fuck over it.

So what do I mean when I say to get the fuck over it. Well, I mean that you should probably consider for a second that urban life is like living in a giant pressure cooker. Where people have work, assignments, relationships, job commitments. All of this stuff going on! The busy nature of an urban city is like a busy hospital with people running around, cramming into elevators, eating shit food, while the small minority actually instigates doing a job that matters while the rest of us are saving nobodies life and complain about the wallpaper. That ninety percent of everyone sits behind these screens, like me and you, tucked into their beds, sat at their desk, perched on their cell phones, doing what?

The problem with urban life is that people think they can’t do anything to change what their life is like. Hugely nonsensical resolutions. They give up on their own identity because they’re bathing in laziness, defending themselves from social criticism and think they are helping others by not telling people how they’re feeling because they believe that nobody else gives a shit. In that belief they would rather blame others than actually face whatever the heck is going on in their life, complain that everything is hard for them when the reality is they only have to walk fifteen minutes to get where they’re going and fail to understand how easy and lucky they are to even have those privileges. So don’t tell me for a moment that it’s only the proximity from one residence to another being smaller. Don’t tell me that people don’t have problems they’re not resolving. Because the evidence is overwhelming! Youth suicide, social anxiety, rates of depression, are all on a huge rise particularly in our cities and not just one city but all of them. They’re all shit, and it’s oozing from the outside in.

Where trees are fake and lack any substance. They had a store in Wellington, particularly for fake plants. Plastic, expensive and entitled fake plants, just like ninety percent of the population in a city. Let’s bitch about the expenses of living in a city for a second. You would think it’s the convenience of everything which leads to house prices and food prices increasing astronomically from one neighbourhood to the next. I would argue it is more about the people who decide to move in. Those incredibly wealthy one percent who decide to buy three penthouses in one suburb just because they can take advantage of the various seasonal changes in weather.

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Now that we’ve said that let’s chill out just for a second and talk about ruralist lifestyle. Relaxed by space, provided with opportunities to be responsible for our own shit. If we need help with something then you need to go out of your way to clash with another person without being a complete knob. Where it’s a glance away to view nothingness. Where there is nothing but you and your feelings, barely any cell phone coverage, really shitty data reception and absolutely a landline. The water in our house still gathers water from a well. A well, yeah the kind that ancient Romans used to collect water before they rolled them along in barrels on their stone made water troughs into their great cities… over a thousand years ago. It’s not really a place where you could expect much to be done for you, there’s certainly no uber, no waffle shop, and there are absolutely no restaurants where you could make a complaint on a cellphone app without being spat on by the stressed out Sous chef.

Ruralism is realism, urbanism is uberism. Don’t let other peoples bullshit hold you down.

Thanks for checking in.

 

Blog 071 Cycle For Children 2017 Update One! 

Kia ora, my name is Mana. I’m a nineteen-year-old youth advocate from Blenheim studying Public Policy and Architecture. I’m also a whangai/adopted child and run my own blog. 😊

During the next university break from July the 10th-17th I’m riding my road bike from Wellington to Kaitaia (Via New Plymouth and The Great South Road) mostly by myself to raise funds for vulnerable tamariki/children in New Zealand. The ride will take seven days, with one day’s rest if needed. I have outlined the route down below and My Givealittle Page.

Having been raised away from my biological family I understand the emotional ties severed but I can’t imagine how hard it must be for some kids who don’t have the same support my family provided. Education is really important and so this is my opportunity to do something that I’m passionate about which is road cycling. I’ve been cycling competitively for eight years, completed various NZ cycling events a few times such as The Forest Graperide in Marlborough, Le Race to Akaroa and have ridden bikes around the world. This time I’m going a little (a lot) further than usual and this time for a reason that excites me. On the first of April this year, an independent advocacy service called VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai was created to support kids in care under the newly formed children’s ministry, Oranga Tamariki. Over the past two years, I have been involved with advising various focus groups as well as becoming a youth advocate for the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley.

I am massively grateful for that opportunity, and to continue the ongoing support for putting tamariki children at the centre of all decisions made for them, I thought what better way to accomplish this than to raise funds by riding a ridiculous distance for scholarships given to children in care?! Even if it’s just for a few kids! That’s still an incredible support to help build them to be loud mouths like me!

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Below is an outline of the route: if any support could be provided along the way, I would hugely appreciate it because it means more money can be saved! Please email me or message me through Facebook if you have even a floor for me to sleep on! – I can do dishes pretty well (not so great at cooking chicken) 😂 I also encourage other riders to get out there with me in the freezing cold winter and tell me that I’m going too slow! This is not just a pledge for funding, it’s an awareness pledge for support in whatever way you can afford. 😊 Things are tough out there I totally understand.

  • Day One will begin in Wellington (Via SH1) across to Whanganui (215km). -Stay One Night.
  • Day Two will start in Whanganui (Via SH3) riding past Mount Taranaki to New Plymouth (170km). Stay One Night.
  • Day Three will travel from New Plymouth through to Hamilton (241km). Stay One Night.
  • Day Four will be between Hamiton to Auckland via The Great South Road (150km). Stay One or Two Nights
  • Day Five will continue snaking through the various roads to Auckland North and then continue to Whangarei (178km). Stay One Night.
  • Day Six between Whangarei (Via SH1) heading into Kaitaia (153km). Stay One Night.
  • Day Seven travelling home. Busing to Whangarei, Flying to Wellington.

All funds raised on this page will be donated to VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. On the condition that the funds be used to create leadership opportunities for kids in care! 🙂

Being a poor student, these funds will also help me actually do the bike ride and the many tubes ill get from flats along the way but this page is also a pledge for places to stay along the route to save more money. (See Map) These opportunities would be massive!

What’s my involvement?

I will be biking from Wellington to Kaitaia (1100km) via New Plymouth (SH3) and along The Great North Road. I will be stopping through six major locations: Whanganui, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland, Whangarei and Kaitaia. I will also be streaming a vlogging service (video logging) through youtube, which will collaborate with my daily blogs on my web page.

Time for me to pass it forward.

Mana Cycles For Children 2017 – My Givealittle Page

 

Once the initial pressure is lifted from this really exciting opportunity I will be able to deliver non-bike related material! But for the next three months i will be releasing “BI-WEEKLY TRAINING UPDATES” to the blog, beyond the anticipated 100 series daily blogging.

The pledge on my givealittle page is $5000, quite a massie goal but the majority of those fund go towards kids in care and funding scholarships for them to go to university! Watch this space!

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 070 How Not To Be A Dick?

 

I guess this conversation covers family values and what that looks like for Generation Y (The Millennials) and how they are in many ways less confined by social normativity’s like getting a trade before 20, starting a family by 30, working to resolve a mortgage by 40, grandkids by 55, calling it a day by 80 or so.

You could almost look at the old traditional ways as being boring. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that theses methods were a bit outdated and old fashioned. With the advancement of technology, medical supplies are more effective so we worry less about living like our lives depend on it, and the introduction of digital social media tell us that we are entitled to all of these things. So when you take your grandpa, imagine him at your age and think to yourself and wonder if he had as much confidence at your age do you really think he would be as much of a dick as you, would he expect all of the amenities that you receive, would he be as ungrateful for the good health of family members?

In comparison to today’s generation the traditionalists of yesterday were much more grateful and a lot more disciplined in social situations. But now, kids are more accustomed to blurring those lines. Creating their own natural life-course because they are more aligned to making decisions with their emotions and, to be honest, make less of an effort using their brains. Bare in mind that I’m a nineteen-year-old, so I’m pretty much a classic example of this.

What if you took a thousand metro-sexual men from the bureaucratic streets of Central London and dropped them in the same place 50-years ago. If life would be any harder for them if some of the thousand would have been discriminated against because of their ethnic backgrounds. If the homosexuals in the group struggled to maintain their identity. Ultimately, my main interests would be if the disciplining factors of traditional times like respecting your elders, referring to parents as sir and ma’am. Being a decent human when on a date with your partner by going to their house bearing flowers. Offering to do the dishes at home, telling your family you love them without needing a prompt bi-monthly. These little signs of gratification are easily overlooked and greatly under appreciated by youth today.

Being nice to other people now is like trying to listen to music through broken headphones. The connection isn’t there anymore. Frayed, twisted and ripped apart because they weren’t maintained or looked after. We neglect relationships by showing no signs of gratification and expect to be given hand outs because we were born with privileges no generation ever before had been given. Grown up in a lazy environment and too often fail to see how much shit is going on. Taught to believe in Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy. So disillusioned by all the shit that’s going on around the world. Then when we reach adulthood we freak out and realise how “weird” everything is and notice how many feet we’re standing on each day.

People are today brought up being dick heads. Told that there is nothing they couldn’t do, given certificates for coming last in school. Then when they go out into the world flatting and begin to study at university they freak out when they get bills which can’t be paid, get average grades that they cannot erase and when their emotions are compromised by something that happened in their day they take the easy road because they lack social discipline and decide that it’s easier to shit on those closest to them like their friend’s and family. A classic example of showing minimal respect for those around them and lacking any sense of gratitude.

Last Easter weekend I came home from university, though it was a huge relief not having to be so independent all the time, having food to come home to, not worrying about turning the lights off, knowing that the dishes were always going to be done by bedtime. At first, this old reality was overwhelming, coming home to a house that was full of people who could never be replaced. Family values and a neutral environment where almost anything could be said. Even though dad can be a dick, mum’s very stressful and my sisters, well I’m not at liberty to discuss them. It ideally should always be a place where I can feel comfortable voicing my opinions.

But it wasn’t like that when I came home this Easter. It was like coming home without any pants on, something was seriously missing. I later realized that it was the emotional baggage that I’d taken on during the two months I’d spent away from. This after recalling memories from my flat where a job wasn’t done such as the dishes or an unwashed tea towel setting me off and making me think of everything that’s negative without considering how amazing my family is. Without noticing how my sister is doing at school or how my other siblings house renovations are going. That when one person would come home upset, or if a shop owner told us the shop we were looking for was three doors down and that we hadn’t enough money to shop in his establishment. Just one tiny pessimistic moment is enough to create ripples that then make waves with others. That by showing ungratefulness can easily offend others who offer to help voluntarily. Those who offer a hand can’t help but feel neglected when they are ridiculed simply because the other person is going through a tough time and feel the itch to take it out on those around them. It’s not just a millennial problem either, it’s everywhere.

My reasoning behind advocating against urbanism was born through this natural chemistry that where there is people there is drama. Drama in the form of social politics which create these barriers which we are brought up believing we are suppose to converge to. Then when we realize we’ve been ripped off by the system we turn around and try to take it out on others, who then take their problems out on others and it’s this giant shit show we all like to refer to as “society.”

Moreover, on the above issue next time but for now I think it’s best that I say the only way to stop being a dick is to realize your insecurities and doing everything in your power to get used to them, become your insecurities to the state where people see your weaknesses, try and use them against you only to find that you can still show gratitude in the face of benevolent power and your relationship is stable and untangled to the bitter end. It both sets a good example and proves that you are loyal to a fault. By showing love to those small miracles all around will provide warmth that is worth the emotional investment.

Otherwise,

Thanks for checking in!

 

Blog 069 Easter Holidays – A Vlog?

After a week of finishing Essay assignments, I have sailed back home for well-earned easter holiday with my family. While everyone has been eating chocolate, going ten-pin bowling, spending time camping, I’ve been working tirelessly to create some epic content for readers to grab hold of. Just kidding mate I’ve been sleeping, ten pin bowling and eating more chocolate than is recommended in a month.

We’ve covered some heavy topics this week. Such as youth suicide, abortion, discussing how the millennial generation suffers from a lack of individuality, looking into family values, planning a charity bike ride and eating better foods. This evening’s chat is more of a rain check. As all holidays should be spent with family, I’ll make this brief for the both of us. Tonight I want to look into starting a video blog (Vlog) that will be set up and ready to present my everyday happenings. From working with the Ministry of Social Development, my involvement with youth advocacy around the country, political talks at University with the upcoming election all the way to my charity bike ride in July.

The idea came up with a few people stating that it might be worth considering the idea of doing a blog through the likes of youtube and creating content online within a multi-platformed web page. I think it’s do-able. Although my editing skills are kind of poor, what it does do is adds another layer to the whole thematic approach of creating a blog specifically about what I (Mana) sees. A blog of multiple platforms. I originally started this blog only to trial a hundred days of consecutive daily blogging but I have found that the topics in which I’m referring to the majority of the time I’m pretty passionate about. So in that capacity, I’m most likely going to be in this for the long haul. Looking and focusing more on current affairs and social issues.

Road Cycling Challenge 2K17

A vlog will give me an outlet to show the progression of my training leading up to the event. I’ll be able to show some epic video streaming during the actual event also which is kind of amazing. I’m taking my inspiration from an Australian cycling Youtube channel that I’ve been following for the previous year or so called the Cycling Maven youtube channel. I think it’d be cool to start up a cycling youtube channel but with my commitments to University, it might be a little difficult to juggle. For now, the concept of a vlog is just to show my bike ride from Wellington to Kaitaia for the purposes of staying in touch with my supporters. I’ll do a few little experiments with editing and get used to showing any major topics that I want to discuss leading up to the trip.

  • Training videos. Progress updates.
  • Live streaming: Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Supporters.

The ride will take around seven days. So that means a heck of a lot of training leading up to the event. Estimate training to take between ten and twelve weeks giving nearly no time between now and the event which will happen between:

  • Thursday 06/07 – Monday 17/07 
  • Formal planning will be this week with a give-a-little charity set up.

Hoping everyone is having a family-tastic easter break!

Thanks for checking in!

 

Blog 068 Eating Better Food – With Nadia Lim 

My Food Bag Website – For Families On A Larger Budget
Bargain Box – For Students or Flatmates

Hey guys, welcome to today’s blog about trying to convince people to buy into Nadia Lim’s amazing food solutions and that eating better food is always the right way to go.

A couple of years ago, a lady named Nadia Lim won New Zealand’s Master Chef series. I don’t myself watch cooking shows but to be honest, a good idea is always commendable and you know it’s true. Nadia came up with this crazy idea to co-found a business that solves the “What’s for dinner tonight” question. The business was named My Food Bag and provides different bags depending on how much food you could eat. Within this online start-up business provides every ingredient including meats/fish, vegetables, seasonings/herbs, dairy products, poultry and groceries. Basically everything you actually need from the supermarket but in only the quantity of supply in which you need. A really good idea.

The Master chef business wizard didn’t just stop there but created another cheaper version of the original start-up called Bargain Box. This is a cheaper version of My Food Bag which aims at feeding families or flagging situations who don’t necessarily have the finance to afford larger dishes with premium meat cuts, high-quality spices etc. Again there are different quantity boxes available for purchase online.

My awesome flatmates and I for the past few weeks have used this service. That by splitting the costs of a six-person box between five people at a cost of $38 per week, which includes a box of produce supplies, is an incredibly cheaper deal. Within our box we get five dinners which are made to fill six people, split between five because let’s face it, one serving is never enough. Beyond these meals is also a box full of fruits like feijoas, apples, bananas, and oranges. Basically, you’re getting the essentials, minus the ten items.you didn’t need when you went to the supermarket.

It makes life easier for those who are shit at cooking, like myself. There are recipes to follow which granted take a lot longer to prepare than is suggested. But there is the opportunity to add stuff, learn how to use different foods, and it in a weird way makes you appreciate good food and how to use it properly. Admittedly when I first started cooking I was terrified that my food would be below standard, and there was an occasion where a chicken wasn’t cooked properly under my supervision. Shit happens, learn not to eat it. It’s better than having to spend hours hunting and gathering not knowing if you’ll eat tomorrow.

I’ve genuinely appreciated the learning experience of cooking good food. Having this opportunity as well actually enhances cooking because there are little speculation and a lot of exploration. You can get really creative and add spices leftover from the night before to your chicken. You can add cheese to.an already amazing meatball dish, or add lemon juice to broccoli. (Thanks, George) All because there is wealth in appreciating good food and it boils down to the fact that everyone needs to eat reasonable food to at least function properly, and not eat McDonald’s, Tommy Millions’ Pizza, Burgerfuel, even Restaurant food all the time. Because it’s both a more expensive and less sustainable solution to a question that you’re over complicating.

Exercise is a great alternative but if you’re aiming your sights on leading a healthy lifestyle, you’re wasting your time going to the gym and eating shit food because at the end of the day you are what you eat. Especially considering that we are coming into Winter soon where you’ll need to eat more.to stay warm but you’ll also need to consider that you’ll get sick more, likely be able to work less and have less money to acquire expensive food, so looking for a low budget solution that gives you all of the food you actually need, minus other essential perishables such as milk, bread, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, medication and dairy products. You’d be better to save your money on the grocery shop in the long run, particularly if you have fitness in mind.

This chat is in part reflection of my really exciting journey to push bike the length of the North Island, New Zealand in July. It’s all about eating the right foods and getting a lot of variety. Not necessarily eating only “healthily” but more about getting plenty of everything to build a better immune system and getting plenty of good fuels. So opportunities to have better food at a budgeted costs seems like a no-brainer solution for eating the right food.

Eating the right food during my bike ride is actually less important than the food that I’ve accustomed to in the months leading up to it. That’s It’s the food I consume months before which will ultimately define the level of fitness that I’m capable of reaching in the future. Ultimately the foods used to fuel the ride will only be the very surface of the whole plan. But thanks only a personal goal.

It’s such a clever idea! It can be used regardless of what most financial situation a household is in because it is affordable. But even for more stable households, like family homes. The idea is cool because it gives a lot of variety of flavours. It mixes the kitchen up a lot because not everyone eats five international.dishes per week every week because it’s expensive and usually bought in bulk. So for my family, I’m trying to encourage them to buy a weeks worth of My Food Bag so that they may learn to see that there’s more than roasts and stir fries that are actually tasty dishes at the end of a long week of work.

End.

Continuing to plan out my bike ride. Am plotting it out into four very general stages:

  • Planning: dates, route, food and training regime. (One Week) – Make the call.
  • Training. (Ten Weeks) Meet like-minded people.
  • Looking for support for crowd funding and aligning with a children’s charity.
  • Just ride. (One Week)

Keep posted for updates on this!!! So excited about the whole thing. Watch this space! 😂

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 067 What If I Did A Charity Ride?

In conjunction with planning to ride my bike from Wellington to New Plymouth over the course of two full days in the saddle, came the idea that there might be an opportunity for me to fundraise money for a local New Zealand charity. I won’t name the charity yet as this is an idea gauge to see how many people would actually support this. It’s a really massive opportunity and it would really motivate me to get up to New Plymouth whenever I bowed my head with the urge to wave down every car the passed me.

Depending on how my training rides go it’ll be a case of looking forward to the event and figuring out how far I’m willing to go and if maybe it might be a challenge of heading beyond just the town of New Plymouth but further northwards to the likes of Auckland or even to Whangarei or to see my family in Paihia. Who knows?

  • During the mid-year break, I travel between Wellington and New Plymouth. The trip would take around two to three days depending on the weather in 379km.
  • I would look to ride further to Auckland. Taking a further two days ride to complete at 381km.
  • Depending on how much energy I have left. Ride from Auckland to Kaitaia taking a further two days to complete 333km.
  • Along with my journey, I would rest in Auckland for a day. Covering over 1000km in 7 days.

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This is by no means a holiday. It will take a lot of money to complete. But it will also take months of heavy training in the lead-up which will mean heavy bike camps, plenty of new bicycle equipment like computers etc. I also would like a reasonable camera to video from as it would be a grand stepping stone from these regular daily blogs into something more substantial as a vlog perhaps?

I estimate it to cost:

  • $250 for bicycle maintenance. Servicing, new components.
  • My old wrinkly helmet needs a do-over. $199
  • Hi-Visibility gears. $100
  • Food:
    • Bars and energy gels. 2 bars, 2 energy gels per day. 4 gels/bars per day x 6 days = 24 units. (est. $3 ea) = $72-80
    • Fruit and nuts. $40-60
    • Meals along the way, $100-200 (7 day period) Snacks.
  • Drinks:
    • Water = free bro!!! Unless visiting a petrol station then maybe $4 p/b.
    • Zinc Tablets (Prevents significant cramping). $30
    • The Secret Sauce! Gatorade Red!!! powder form = $15 (What a steal mate…)
  • Also, need a new bike computer to GPS everything without needing my phone due to power limitations. My Garmin burned in my brother’s car, which got stolen! -$350?

Accommodation

  • I will also need more significant stuff such as accommodation in Whanganui overnight. Anyone?? Hahaha, I can do the dishes really well!
  • Accommodation in Hamilton as I would try and go really far on the third major day of riding. This would be greatly appreciated!
  • It would be nice to have a place to stay in Auckland as well during that time but no expectations on that one.
  • Accommodation in Whanganui would be awesome too, as it will be too far to ride for me between Auckland to Kaitaia.
  • The last leg of the journey into Kaitaia I don’t think will have availability to fly in the late evening back home to Wellington so again it would be hugely well received if there was anyone in Kaitaia willing to top n tail with a by then very smelly Mana.
    • If there is nowhere I would estimate motel prices to equal roughly $500-600. Being a poor student that figure seems like a huge challenge by itself. So I would appreciate beds wherever they appear!
  • Not to mention flights from Kaitaia to Wellington which might cost a bit more than a coffee + scone combo from Starbucks. – $200 + bike stuff.

 

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Riding To Raise Funds For Children. 

While getting to see a few of the main landmarks within the Northern half of my country, it is also important for me to say that this ride is for the children in New Zealand who even though there have been amazing things coming from the new vulnerable children’s ministry, it’s important to note that this is definitely no happily ever after. For so many children there are still much larger issues taking precedence over their lives. The new ministry in which held the voices of young people in care accountable for advice to the minister, such voices included my own, will still take five years to roll into motion. Before these kids receive the system that they deserve nationally. It’s important for us not to dance around acting like we cured cancer because it will take time for these young people to get what they actually deserve. Which is consultancy, which is a voice against those who don’t give them one? Which is cultural recognition?. This is possible through the likes of VOYCE-Whakarongo Mai is a youth-led advocacy service for the youth of new Zealand by the youth of New Zealand.

Any small amount of funding raised in any capacity is still an aid to those who need it most. While I say that I need all of these “essential items” it’s important for even myself not to get too caught up in the money aspect but more for the focus, which is raising money for the taonga tamariki of New Zealand.

So in a way, this is a pledge from me to you to make sure that I carry this momentum from Wellington to Kaitaia. That I ask you to keep close and keep showing the support you’re already doing! It’s amazing to see this blog blossom through views and through coments made privately just in support of it which is amazing!

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • Mid-Year University Break (Post-Exam Period-Dependent)
    – 11 Days, Monday 06/07 until 17/07.
  • Trimester Two Break (Post-Exam Period-Dependent)
    – 14 Days, Monday 28/08 until Monday 11/09.
  • There is also the Summer Holidays but that’s too easy!

#makeithappen
#1kformana
#winteriscoming

Stay Tuned for my training updates and let’s make this shit happen! And as always…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 066 Sailing Rough Seas

This chat is in literal regards to the fact that I’m currently traveling across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The discussion is particularly about learning that independence isn’t everything. That home is always a place where maximum support should be given. It’s a birthright that too often we disregard as being insignificant but in reality is likely the most important support in our lives.

Without the support of our families, we automatically start relying on ourselves a lot more. Which is great, I’m all about independence, but I want to reflect on what my parents have done for me. What my family has done for me. That perhaps the best thing about having independence is learning to rely on people so that if you capsize, you can always find your way again. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of those who were there for me In the hopes that we can both recognise that there is plenty to learn when it comes to putting others before ourselves.

Miracles come in infinite forms. Not only the concept that a priest or holy person would do something to move mountains or cure cancer. If we change the concept of miraculousness to fit into the ideology of hard work. It must be hard raising a kid. it must be hard being there for somebody even when they shit on you all the time but only focusing on the love you’ve got for them. Making compromises everywhere, buying things you’ll never use yourself, paying for school bills you without having sat a single lesson. Paying for the damage somebody else has caused. It must be really hard to put somebody else’s wants and needs before your own, especially if you’re not their biological parent.

This is something that my mum and dad must have fought through. The constant nagging about needing another dollar for sausage sizzle Fridays at primary school. Those unappreciative moments of asking for shoes you scuffed on instead of tying them, only requiring another pair a few weeks later. The pressure on these support networks or in the case of my parents, legal guardians, must be a real challenge every day both financially and emotionally. It must be hard emotionally trying to provide for a person who thinks the world is made of Cadbury chocolate and knows no differently. Who complains when they don’t get food for dinner one night because their parents are struggling. When their child feels entitled to everything they usually get and are unappreciative of the miracles their supports provide for them daily by going to work and doing what so many people do. When their child complains because they don’t receive the present they wanted for Christmas. When their friends got a better bike, larger Easter eggs. When the parent gets told to get out of their teenager’s room because the teenager is going through something and fails to explain why.

This talk is to acknowledge the other side of the story. From the perspective of the people who give everything and expect nothing in return because they only value the love that you don’t give them, so instead settle for your presence as if you’re some kind of royalty. It’s really surprising how many teenagers disregard the fact that some people don’t really have the capacity to take on the entanglement that teenagers create. It must be like kicking to keep afloat with both hands occupied balancing bills and your emotional expectations. That if they wobble to try and balance their own needs they will topple because they have to make sacrifices for your betterment. It’s can’t possibly be in everyone’s capabilities to deal with all of that. I couldn’t imagine any person to feel valued if they offered to support a person and be told that they’re not doing enough to meet the requirements of that person even though they have entirely given up their own needs to be there.

So while tonight’s chat is a rant against the teenager, who negates the value of emotions of everyone else, it’s really a recognise the age old saying to,  “treat others how you would like to be treated.” That you should respect everyone as if they were you. What would you like to see? How would you like to be treated? I know for a fact that I like my own opinion to be taken on board because I know that the value of my messages can sometimes help others. So I will try very hard to capture the imagination of that person, and that is what I would expect somebody to do is listen. That is what this entire blog exists for. The next lesson is to learn that others have had the tough love approach longer than you have. That while it’s nice to run away to university, on an expedition overseas, there are no excuses not to show love to those who cared about you and made miracles happen in your life. Not necessarily your parents, but your entire support network.

Ready for another analogy?

In conjunction with the theme, the symbolism of sailing rough seas is in some ways similar to learning how to stop being unappreciative of your support crew basically. To learn not to take the people who would drop everything to deal with the dominating personality in a random midday phone call when in the middle of a meeting. There are many personality issues that we all battle with because it’s so easy to transfix on a particular mindset that the whole world revolves around us and that nobody else matters. Not sure about you but it’s really challenging to work toward putting my own wants and needs aside to make room for somebody else. While you might argue that it’s all a part of growing up, I sure don’t see that happening with very many people. So is that good enough?

The process of sailing across rough seas as a means to let go of your own independence. Within being independent is the stubbornness not to listen to the advice of others as much because we’re too afraid that we might get hurt. So we are cautious not to listen and become defensive and eventually stop listening. That we know what is best, that our word is final and that everyone on planet earth should answer to us. Nah gee! That literally epitomises the concept of being self-obsessed. Just because you know how to swim doesn’t mean you could save yourself from drowning in open waters. Sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. To listen rather than to talk, especially to those who you’ve taken for granted for many years and put your needs before their own. We both owe it to them to be present and value their opinions with the respect and the courtesy that you would expect.

It’s all apart of growing up. Learning to know that independence, while it’s dope when it goes right, is shit when it goes wrong. That trying to paddle against the current is admirable but it’s also hilarious to watch from somebody else’s speedboat. That asking for the help of those who actually give a shit about you is wiser than struggling for no apparent reason asides from satisfying your personal goal of achieving independence, as if it were some kind of destination. Take into consideration what we’ve talked about here.

End.

While today’s chat was targetted more around looking at ideals in terms of perfect society, it really is the least we can do showing our appreciation for the many small miracles people do.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 065 Biking To New Plymouth 

So begins the next challenge. A challenge to myself to try and see if it’s possible that my little legs can manage to squeeze through a mammoth distance on a bike with pedals. The challenge is to bike from Wellington all the way up to New Plymouth using nothing but my legs, about ten coffees, a few litres of water, about 10,000 calories of food, three days and a lot of Coldplay. Today’s conversation is in regarding this bike ride and the discussions of setting goals as a means of finding myself. Doing things not many my age would dream of doing, let alone by themselves.

The trip itself is around 365kilometres. Without fault, the entire trip will take approximately 20 hours and five minutes on the bike non-stop at an assumed estimated moving speed of 16km/h (10mph). Which can I say is probably a really nice estimation because, with a head of my size, climbing hills can be a slow and arduous journey.

So what gear would be needed? Well beyond the obvious unprecedented motivational concentration, the endless supply of coffee shop visits, taking an invested interest in making sure that there were stores and stores of food supplies kept in bike mounted saddle and frame bags, the overall journey would be a thing of surviving with plenty of food – and I love food! My next biggest concern would be making sure that I had sufficient water to hydrate the exhaustion. The large amounts of sweat loss through the heavy anaerobic exercising would require plenty of water to make sure that I never became dehydrated.

Bike rides require a hydrating period of around 200ml per 30 minutes of consistent efforts. But I know that from my own experience doing races and tours that I can survive off around a 500ml bottle every 90 minutes. So I’d really need to make sure that if my day was around the distance of 200km per day then I’d need to be carrying around 10 hours’ worth of water, per day. So then that would be around 5 litres of water per day. Definitely something essential. I would much rather have a lot more water than not enough. So finding passages in which these water bottles could be held, such as extra water bottle holders would be ideal.

The next concern is the weight on the bike. I’d need to make sure that there wasn’t too much on the bike because it makes it harder to ride up hills. Thankfully there are plenty of places to stop along the way during state highway one which will give me plenty of opportunities to stop in and reloaded. It’s only once turning west bound heading for Wanganui which will have any extended period of nowhere to refuel, and it will be a case of making sure that I have plenty of water and food with me. With extra water bottles, and extra food stores will make the bike heavier, as expected. But it will be about rationing out everything to make sure that I don’t run dry.

So I’d start from Wellington City and ride across Hutt Valley City, to then hook back around the hills of Upper Hutt via Haywards Hill Road. After stopping for a morning break in Paraparaumu I’d continue travelling north along State Highway One and travel northwards passed Levin and Sanson where I’d make the turnoff to Whanganui in Bulls. It’s around 100 further kilometers before the west bound region where I’d stay the night.

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On the second day I would continue travelling north-west to Mount Taranaki where I’d then rest in the surrounding township. Apparently, there is significant climbing involved near the mountain so this day will likely take longer than the first. Noting that it is more hilly through this region I’d likely take a lot more water on the second day because there are less places to stop and more terrain to take on. Once I’ve met the Taranaki mountain reserve I’d then turn right to then continue riding down into New Plymouth where I’d catch up with Aaron and the lads, hopefully!

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With the overall journey well within my capabilities at approximately 20-25km/h speeds maintained across the two days should see me through in a reasonable time. My only concern is bike mechanicals. water depletion and extreme changes in weather. My other main concerns are the likes of health and warmth. As this ride will occur during the winter time, it will be cold at 360m above sea level heading across the Taranaki region. So a nice warm set of gears will be essential.

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A Long Time!

But what is all this for? Why is it important for me to even bother trying to push through two days of hell and for what reason? Well for a starter I really genuinely enjoy riding my bike. The feeling of independence, and the weird things that you see along your way that make me laugh really hard. But I’m mostly setting this goal so that I can be challenged. To challenge my brain in a way that I cannot pull out of. I cannot back down to. Stuck in the middle of nowhere on a bike is very isolating. I love cycling because it forces you to rely on yourself. It forces you to focus on things that actually matter like family and friends. It’s hard to lie to yourself when your pushing a headwind.

For me, the aim is to create a space where I can get out of the shit that urban life creates. A space where I can be reliant on nobody but myself, where nobody but I can define how the journey goes. It will be a really great journey as well because I come from the South Island of New Zealand, so I’m basically becoming a tourist for three days. Sight seeing, suffering, looking at the different features of the country, suffering, seeing what the people are life and suffering. I’m incredibly excited by this but mostly because it means I will get the opportunity to meditate, to think about nothing but my own thoughts.

It’s something we don’t really do enough as a people is reflect on what we have. What we’ve got to actually be grateful for. The fact that I have the opportunity to do something like this is incredible. That so many people don’t have the luxury to take a few days off to ride their bike. So I will setup a fundraiser over the following month to assign an invested interest in others and garner support to accomplish this. Because ultimately it’s those who are around you who define how far you go.

Looking at practical times there are two main holidays this year where I will have the opportunity to accomplish this ride:

  • Mid Year University Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 11 Days, Monday 06/07 until 17/07.
  • Trimester Two Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 14 Days, Monday 28/08 until Monday 11/09.
  • There is also the Summer Holidays but that’s too easy!

Ultimately it’s a goal that I am extremely enthused to complete. Stay tuned for more information regarding this in the near future. Never stop moving, always keep growing. Even if it’s completely ridiculous and entirely crazy like going for a bike ride, doing it easy mate…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 064 Lack of Individuality!

20 Minute Read

Today’s conversation is a little less miserable in comparison to yesterday’s. It is in regards to an epidemic amongst the millennials of today. Not your influenza virus cross contaminated variety but more adjusted to the likes of your everyday conformity. I’m talking about a psychological normatively. I’m talking about the need to fit in and the lack of identity. Where we call each other “brand whores” and “fake.” This talk is more aimed at teenagers, students and young adults from a stereotypical metrosexual personality. Actually, this whole blog was brought to my attention yesterday when a friend named Luke Faulkner (name and shame!) mentioned that it was a problem. I have to agree in many ways that I’ve known about it for a while. That there is a real need for our loss of identity to be spoken about.

The things I’d like to discuss in this chat include:

  • Impulse and who it affects.
  • The music we listen to.
  • The world of marketing.
  • What Individuality actually is and why we value it so much.

It will share a little light on all of these areas from a relaxed perspective. I’m not a guy with a degree in psychology, I’m a student who has other things to do too. So I don’t claim to know everything, but that I have a passion for exposing my own flaws so this is a great opportunity. While this won’t effect every teenager the hope is that it might make somebody out there stop and consider that there will be truths for you in within my opinion. That I hope it has a long lasting effect on you and your daily life. I may in the future re-blog this post in another conversation on how we aren’t doing enough to limit our losses. That we should be furious with the adverse systemic effects that having our identity stolen away really has on us.

The first thing I want to talk about is impulse spending. We all think we have to buy nice looking clothes, have great looking cell phones, the newest MacBook Pro and the sleekest looking shoes. To some degree, we might convince ourselves that we need to feel great about what we wear but the immediate assumption is that other people give a shit. We think that other people actually care about what we wear, and they do. People do care about what we wear otherwise there wouldn’t be as much bitching about it all the time. We are a part of those conversations though, we have to take responsibility for our own part to play in all of this because we do it too. While we might tell ourselves that we don’t really care about what others think, the reality is that we wouldn’t spend so much money on these belongings if we truly didn’t care. From the shoes we buy to the shirts we wear, and no you don’t get a hall pass today if you go op-shopping. Saving money on clothes that you don’t necessarily need to support your outfit is just impulse for people on a lower budget. There’s seems to be a need to design your outfit to suit the mood of other people, not yourself.

We come up with these weak excuses like “I need a scarf with my T-Shirt because it’s very Wellington.” Or “I need another shirt because I have to match today’s new season.” As if assuming that today was any different to yesterday. That today is ‘definitely’ a brand new season with a 20 degree (celsius) temperature difference to yesterday. Sure thing bro. 365 seasons in one year, right? Right…

On a practical level, we need new clothes every few months, true. But have you ever stopped to wonder that it’s because the synthetic material used to make clothes today is literally tear-able, not made to last, and you only bought it because it was cheaper than earlier in the year or that the colour really matched your new shoes. Another item you bought also out of an impulse decision when the only thing you went to town for that day was to buy a warmer jacket.

Beyond the clothing situation and into the mindset of the madness. What impact on our lives does impulse have? Impulse to spend on frivolous things. I know out of the experience that many of my purchases have been led on by an excitement factor. Something triggered by the idea that I might have something more than somebody else. That I might to some degree meet the look that I perceive others to expect of me. That I have more time to relax about the clothes in my wardrobe because there’s new stuff in there to satisfy the look. That I’m enough. With the existing underlying assumption that if I’m not enough then I may be rejected, so it must therefore be right that I spend my hard earned money on a plain white Kanye West shirt for $120 that’s no different to the one sold at the Warehouse for $5.

An immediate translation between our existing insecurities transferred into our wallets and lack of budgeting discipline. Now I’m not assuming that everyone has the same problem as me but for a second consider why there’s such a lack of identity in the first place. Why is everybody trying so hard to be something that they’re not? Why is there such a lack of self-worth? Is it because we all want something that other people don’t have? That’s a question that you need to answer yourself. But the purposes of this discussion is the lack of identity within millennials may be evidence that they are exhausting their energy on impulsive decisions that might be due to a lack of direction.

I was listening to a podcast this morning regarding minimalism. It focused on the perception that we have too much clutter in our lives. That we have too many clothes, that there have been reported cases where a parent has passed away and all of their possessions were left to their kids. The podcaster explained that the children of these parents were finding that they had a lot of clutter which they had accumulated over the years. That they had bought a lot of stuff that they never saw their parents wear, that they never utilised, and that it had sat in the Attic of their house for decades and served no purpose. There are two questions that I raise to that situation. The first question is:

  • Are millennials the only generation with an impulse spending problem or is it an epidemic which affects every age category?
  • In sixty or so years when we pass away, how much shit will we have that we didn’t ever need that will be handed down to our kids and what will they think?

In regards to the first question, if there is proof that people many years our senior have gathered junk that has cluttered their lives for so long, are we not the only generation who have gone through life with consumeristic impulsiveness? Because it scares the shit out of me to learn that my aunties and uncles, even grandparents may have suffered in this same bubble of lacking own individuality. It kind of scares me because if that’s true it means we are living in a world driven by depressed people. By CEO’s, Pastors and Prime Ministers, who have given up their self-image and have taken on the role of somebody who can, not only not cook pizza, but also who suffers from a similar fate of unhappiness because they’ve lost touch with who they are as a person.

What I’m getting at here is if we are living in a world full of adults who have important positions, does this not serve as a reason to merit change? That in a damning way we all live on a planet that is messed up because we are confused about what person we are trying to exist as. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I sure hope it’s only banter and that we can shake it off.

The second question is more hypothetical. I’m aiming at recognising traits within our lives where we can probably improve on or help us understand where we are at and what we could do to also recognise where we’re making mistakes every day. Ultimately through my own view, it will help me actually make a long term change that is sufficient and deals with the primary problem which is a lack of identity and the constant battle to be something we’re not. If we imagined what our future children would think of us in many years time regarding the sentimental objects we got over our lifetime if we imagined how much other shit we’d piled up also and how that might diminish our character in some respects. Maybe that’s our dirty laundry, and no not in the form of grubby socks, but all of the stupid decisions we made. That the material is only an analogy for everything excessive we have built up but not dealt with that is actually exhausting us.

What if architecture and spatial design were just adult excuses to spend money on frivolous things like a granite tiled bathroom floor, or a cantilevered bedroom balcony because you really needed a view not possible from inside with an opening window…

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The second section I want to discuss is about recognising that there is evidence in our lack of identity through the music we listen to. There’s an app called Spotify which is a music streaming service that allows everyday users to jam their favourite beats. I’ve been using Spotify since 2012, creating playlists of the stuff that I like. Within Spotify, there is also the option to browse the most popular tunes and the most viral stuff being listened to globally. Within these chart toppers is generally the same musicians/artists. The likes of Selena Gomez, The Chainsmokers, Zara Larsson, Clean Bandit or even some of our favourites like Ed Sheeran, Drake and Coldplay etc. Now don’t worry if you have no clue of many of these names, that’s totally fine.

While it does come down to the lyrics of the song we are living in a world where even the most sacred forms of expression, music, is adversely affected by genuine un-uniqueness. When there are hundreds of millions of musicians/artists who all have different vibes but we choose to listen to a select group. That if a musician has the right sound then their chances of success are dramatically increased. Sure there is variation between different genres, take rap for example. There are many successful rappers who made it without needing too much resonating noise to appease the ears of the people. Because they had awesome shit to say, they knew what they wanted to say and they expressed their words through music But what makes Justin Bieber the third most listened to artist in the world?

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The third idea that I want to bring up is Marketing strategies and the effect that money has on the everyday creatives and social influencer. The marketplace is like societies shadow. That no matter what social influence or hierarchical essential exists, like clothing, music, even sports and social networking. There is always a marketplace that exists where some clever bastard saw an opportunity to make money.

But it’s not our fault! Brand whoring is a direct reflection of a person who has been caught up by the consistent slamming of these large companies who try slap us in the face wherever we go with advertising. They recognise that we have a weakness in anticipating that people might like us more if we wear brand heavy clothes. That a business will adjust their colours to suit the new season and what their competitors are selling.

More importantly, we are encouraged by advertisements to buy their stuff because it means that we might feel more special. Whenever we buy into that shit we lose touch ever so slightly with who we actually are because we attached to these materialistic things. Therefore it might be easier for us to think that we are unique because we have a MacBook Pro, we have white shoes, we have a turtleneck sweater, we own the latest smartphone, therefore we cannot possibly be rejected right? We might then elude to the security of our headphones where we can listen to some emotional songs that we can select based on what playlist we’ve made, and bam! We’re listening to the same stuff everyone else is listening to. So we aren’t so special after all?

The answer to both of those situations is wrong, and this is from experience. Ever sat in a lecture of a few hundred and noticed how many people have MacBook Pros? I have, me! But we’ll talk about this shortly. The point behind musical similarities is to notice how we rely on other peoples vibes to curate our own feelings. We rely on the experiences other people have had to make ourselves feel better when in doing that we are becoming the mindset of that musician. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t special in any way because we are. That while you might enjoy buying all this stuff and listening to these songs, it doesn’t actually change the person you were born as.

One of my dad’s quotes is “you can’t polish a turd.” While I’m not saying you as a person is shitty I’m referring to marketing as an embodiment is shitty. It’s terrible! You see it in sports, you see it in every single aspect of our world where companies try to make money from advertising things to try and expose our insecurities. You see this in cycling where lycra is used as an opportunity for companies to show off their brands to people on the butt cheeks and breasts of women because they know that people will be looking there out on the road.

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The industries which benefit from the specialisation of woken, to the degradation of sporting culture. They’re like vultures who conspire to work tirelessly to find ways in which to foreshadow a community who already struggles with its own independence and its own individuality.

So we’ve discussed what behavioural patterns might pertain towards the idea that there is evidence that younger adults within the millennial generation show signs of lacking individuality. Through the frequency of clothes they buy, the music they wear and how we are all affected by the marketplace. But what actually is individuality and why do we value it so much? What makes us even want to be individualistic, are there people out there who are comfortable leeching onto alternate identities because they’re scared or happy to be someone they’re not?

I’m a firm believer that we are a collection of hundred of tiny moments where we peek a glimpse into our actual selves. When we are confronted or surprised and our brains for a second stop and pause in a moment. I remember when my grandpop passed away. My family were all in the hospice and there was a waiting room where me, my sister and my mum were all waiting. Before the news came down the corridor I remember plugging in this old electronic piano accordion that looked like something from the 80’s that never quite made it into the 21st Century. The vinyl wood printed chipboard finish with squeaky black foot pedals to sustain and dampen the keys. The horrific cream white curtains and terrible rose paintings. I pressed the ‘on’ button and started whisking away to the tune of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin. The sounds of many days practising and stumbling on each key trying to figure out how to make it all sound harmonious all merged into a song that I could play without needing any sheets. The eerie denseness in that hospice paused for a moment. It was met by the expression of a teenager screaming out through the presses on each key to the love for my grandfather who it later turned out had passed away during my playing. That I unknowingly made the connection with him in that moment, through the eyes of a naive boy, that old accordion had guided me to find my sense of belonging lies with the love of my family and the personality that they raised blesses me with strength beyond any o could muster individually. That you could argue it as a sense of airy fairness, it does come down to deciding how you wish to adjust your personality based on the assumption that not everything you know may be the honest truth. That maybe being apart of a family who loves and cares about you is more significant than caring about what shoes you’re wearing, what coloured shirt suits today’s brand new season, what skeletons are locked away in your attic, what dirty laundry you possess, how being more minimalistic would improve your life. Recognise that love through your family naturally is the safest way to go to reconnect with what individuality actually is, and that is being a home body who emulates love to yourself but also to others.

End.

Thanks for checking in!

Daily B: 11 PM NZT

Blog 063 Life is Extremely Precious

Warning: The contents of this blog are explicit, it contains comments about abortion as well as sexual assault that may disturb some readers – 30 Minute Read.

Here is the perspective on abortion from a childless boy with experience in the care system of New Zealand. I want to note that this conversation is only my own opinion. That while there are many opinions, I don’t claim to be right in any way. A life is a life, we all deserve to be treated fairly with compassion and love.

Here goes…

Abortion is a really shitty thing to think about. Let’s not trivialise too much on that. It is likely the most important discussion that two people will ever have. Not many decisions a person could make would directly correlate to life or death. So it is important that we be straight up here. No diverting, no theorising on what could or should have been. Let’s be realistic and talk about this former taboo in a way that gives it the light that it deserves. I’ll start off by elaborating on the life of a child, then we’ll look at the effects this has on the mum. We’ll then discuss the current legislation regarding abortion in New Zealand, and finally, we’ll reflect on how amazing life is in a positive and reinforcing way, to give a well-rounded, nothing lost approach. Hopefully, we’ll both be able to take something from this.

I am pro-choice. Completely an utterly behind women having the right to have an abortion. So long as they have had this incredibly hard and immeasurably important conversation. That they feel safe and kept at the centre of these decisions within a system that provides them with the options they seek. That although both the male and the female hold significant voices in the discussion, it is ultimately the women’s body and it is at the end of the day their pain that they will have to endure for nine months.

When I was born, there was love between my parents. Love that must have made them happy. Unblinded by the decision to give life to me. The first and oldest of many siblings. There would have been whanau all around the country and possibly around the world who were aware that I was coming to life. In that mangy brick maternity ward in Blenheim Hospital, there would have been flowers, family, doctors and nurses all surrounding that hospital bed as my mum for the first time ever made eye contact with me. That in that moment, the bond was made between son and mother where life had entered the world. I say this because it’s important for me to tell you that love is a real thing, that no matter how complicated anything gets, that love and passion should never be misunderstood. Never take that shit for granted because it’s real.

But for a second, be realistic. Beyond the flowers, the nurses, the doctors and the love, what is true is that we’re only human. That there is a range of feelings which might complicate things. That all of those moments can change over time. That it only takes one decision to change the course from a perceived happily ever after, into a spat of domestic violence and child neglect. Unfortunately, this was what happened to me prior to being eight months old. That when I was just a little brown baby I was taken away from my family. That there was social neglect that took place. So many psychological ties driven into my little head, these affected me when I was a kid, all the way up until I was arrested for being disorderly when I was in high school. Everything effects everything,

I have learnt to discover that there are so many elements to my personality that are affected by early childhood misconduct. That I have rejection issues sprung out after reconnecting with my parents when I was a few years older, only to have those ties severed yet again. These occasions administered these micro-explosions in my personality that unfortunately caused me so much pain both when I struggled with anxiety in my teenage years, all the way up to being a young adult youth advocate. I am still haunted by so many conflicting beliefs that I’m not good enough, that my parents did not love me which is why they left me behind, or that it is somehow my fault. That it took the better part of nineteen years to realise that it isn’t my fault and that these people who made me are just normal humans. Who might have been having problems themselves, with substance abuse, with prolonged childhood abuse, who could say? That the reality is that nobody is perfect. That it isn’t my fault that I am in the situation that I am in. But for soo many children out there, for the over 100,000 people in New Zealand who have come out of the care system who weren’t aware that they had rights to their Child Youth and Family personal records, that didn’t have an incredible support that my whangai parents offered me. Without that support, these people would have suffered even longer than I did. These are lives we are talking about here. So my first position is that the parent needs to take full accountability for providing support for that baby absolutely their entire life and making sure that they know why they are in that situation if it doesn’t work out.

Sometimes it’s more valuable to realise that nobody has all of the answers so everyone is going to make a lot of mistakes. I think it’s more important to weigh up whether you’re actually going to be a good enough parent because it signifies that you are acknowledging a life, that you know this child will have to bear the pain and anger so many years after if you fail them. This is not a tick box situation, it is deciding if you are ready to celebrate the creation of a precious taonga that will have every emotion, every dream, every tool and possibly more than you do right now at this very moment. While I’m not targeting any person out there looking at having a baby, I will share my concern through the experience of a successful birth but a failed immediate upbringing and urge you to consider more than your own self, but the self-embodiment of the life of the child you will bring into this world.

If a couple understands that, then they are ready to have the bubba. But if they’re not, if a person thinks that they need more time to be ready for birth. Then reconsider. It’s important to make sure that a parent has sufficient support. Let go of your control over life, stop thinking about what your family thinks, what your partner thinks, and start thinking about what you think. Run away for a week. Go and find solace in some sacred Himalayan mountain somewhere and think about who you are and what you can honestly offer this child. Think of every situation that you have lived through where you parents have struggled in. Be warmed by every occasion where your parents have done a great job and ask yourself if you could ever accomplish that. It’s more a question of parenthood and if you would actually be a good one.

The decision of two people who love each other should be a sacred forum to make the decision to have an abortion in a safe and loving environment. That they both must understand the massive decision they’re making, not to have an abortion but to think about what life the child will live afterwards if the couple is not able to look after them. The accountability of love over a child is first and foremost on that couple. The people who decided to bring the child into the world. Without bringing the system into this, because you should know that I hate the current system passionately. The couple is completely responsible for the emotional upbringing of their child.

The only thing worse than talking about an abortion, however, must be the process of having one. Having read up on the various petitions to the government to change the legislation on abortion, having understood the views of passionate individuals both male and female, I will link their blogs down below, it really makes me feel that the voices of females are diminished heavily because we nitpick legislations which are acquainted for the 1960’s. It’s 2017 New Zealand! Sort your shit out! These poor humans shouldn’t have to suffer the prolonged discussion that is probably already ruining their mental health just because there is resistance within the topic politically.

I couldn’t care less about the views of religion because at the end of the day not only do these couples have lives but so too does the child who doesn’t deserve to be burdened with our sin-infused world. We’ll leave it at that. These legislators and policy makers should never be afraid of ethics. That it shouldn’t concern them too much that people are getting these procedures as a means of contraception. That although our medical system can’t afford to pay for the many thousands of abortions which take place each year, putting more of an emphasis on raising the awareness of safer sex, subsidising completely the price on rubbers and other means of contraception should take precedence.

If the government is taking the stance that they refuse to re-evaluate their current legislation regarding abortion then there must be a clear obligation by our government to offer more relief, not in the form of dishing out social workers to these people who are suffering but to actually give us a reason why they make these procedures difficult and why there is so much room for ethical interpretation. That there is clearly some existing disconnect between the system and the lives of our people if they would consider the practically barbaric process of having to suffer through a prolonged period of 25 days between a referral and an operation. Not to mention that a woman has to prove to two different doctors that she meets a list of requirements which include:

The crimes act of 1961 requires that the grounds of an abortion prior to 20 weeks gestation include:

  • Serious danger to her life.
  • Serious danger to her physical health.
  • Serious danger to her mental health.
  • Any form of incest or sexual relations with a guardian. (What the fuck?)
  • Mental subnormality.
  • Foetal Abnormality.

There are other factors which are obviously taken into account when a consultant approves of the abortion. The consultant may also consider:

  • If the guy is way older than the girl. “Extremes of age” lets not sugar coat it.
  • If there has been a sexual violation.

The question is that the consultant, doctor, has to be the one to decide what “serious” looks like. That in certain cases where the procedure has been rejected there have been ethical reasons why consultants have said no. For religious reasons. What kind of a world do we live in where we regard a religious ethical value over the life of a human being who is suffering from the disheartening decision to have an abortion. That some asshole who’s dumb enough to rack up a small mortgage student loan, suffered through years of social expectation just to earn a silly piece of paper that somehow gives them the right to refuse women of a decision based on money and ethics. No thank you. This is a messed up system, she has probably suffered mentally just to work up the courage to ask for help.

My childhood wasn’t all doom and gloom though. I was really lucky to be placed with a family who loved and adored me. Nurtured my wellbeing and have supported me ever since. There is not a day goes by where I am not reminded of the hidden miraculousness that I am where I am today. Had I have been raised by my biological parents I’m not sure that my current situation would be the same today. Even though I choose to be Christian I still strongly believe that loving yourself by making the decision that you know in yourself that having this child is not the right thing to do and that you know you’re not going to make a good parent, because some people aren’t let’s be honest. That I believe the process should be completely non-judgmental and that no person should be made to suffer through a system created by a government whose job it is to represent our voices. That if the people ask for their support that they provide a service that isn’t prolonged, that money is appropriately allocated for these procedures to occur and that if they needed somewhere to better appropriate their fund then they would aim it at promoting contraception by having free condoms and other contraceptives.

No person should be made to suffer just because the system is faulty. That a doctor doesn’t have the direct authority to say no but instead gives them medical advice on how the baby is looking, an area which they specifically studied for and not the role of a bloody philosopher with a degree in being Jesus himself. Unfortunately, we live in a country where some assholes decide to sexually assault women. The list of grounds in which a doctor, consultant, may consider but is not under any legal obligation to solely base their decision to approve an abortion includes sexual violation, or as previously adjusted from being termed rape.

It makes me sick to know that I live in a country where if a woman has been raped and becomes pregnant with that bastards child that it is possible that she might not be supported by our government. That a doctor can refuse her the procedure that she needs because he is not legally obligated to warrant an abortion even though she has been put through the most life degrading experiences any human could ever face. THIS HAS TO CHANGE. That even if a girl is taken advantage of by an older guy when she is a teenager, she can be put through her pregnancy because again, the two doctors can refuse her from the procedure simply because they are not obligated, by law, to provide any coverage because it is classed as an “extremeness of age.” That the only way she could argue her case is by explaining to a doctor that she was raped, that she has to relive that experience with somebody AGAIN just to outweigh the rulings of an outdated legislation enforced in 1961. She has to prove to two doctors that she is seriously affected both mentally and physically by a rape in which was committed against her, just to have a procedure based on a decision in which has ruined her life.

Now that we’ve heard Mana’s rant. Let’s reflect on how beautiful and precious life is. Because at the end of the day, positivity and optimism are the only mindsets which trump the intenseness. It is important to see above the clouds, that we reflect on the awesome moments where our mum or dad did something random like surprised you with something or embarrassed you in front of everybody. Those moments are the moments that are important to a child. When they tell you everything that happened and asked the “why is that” question three times until you cave and say “because it just is that way.” When they prod you in your sleep when they’ve had nightmares and need the shelter of your bed. Those times when you knock on the door and the tell you to piss off, but instead, you wait for their little teenage mood swing to glaze over. When they ask you for help with their student loan because they are crying out for your support and tell you they might do the dishes once. All of these experiences are rewards for your efforts. It’s love. And love is a beautiful thing.

To summarise this blog:

  • The parent is fully conscious of the importance that life is precious.
  • The system is a piece of shit. They need to change that if people are going to be supported in their life changing decisions.
  • Rape is disgusting.
  • Life is amazing.

Below are links to some incredibly important bits of information regarding abortion.

And that’s today’s epic chat. I’m sorry that it was so miserable, I promise that tomorrow’s blog will be a little bit more cheerful and a little less teary eyed. After all, we are all entitled to happiness. Regardless of how much the conversation hurts us.

Thanks for checking in!

Daily Blogs every day at 11:00 am NZT.

Blog 062 What Can We Take Out Of A TV Series?

20 Minute Read
SPOILER ALERT – Thirteen Reasons Why – TV Series plot exposure.

There’s something to be learnt in everything. Through our daily battles with finding answers to the many questions that never have spoken answers. Television shows offer us an alternate universe with a lot of life lessons which we can take onboard and grow from. Today’s chat is with regards to a TV series that I binge watched yesterday. Reflecting on the concept of television as a means of chilling out, as a means of entertainment. But what value does that chill time have?

I remember when I was a younger, sitting at home on a wintery Sundays morning. Sketching perspectives of my dream house whilst my mum would be writing her thesis in the lounge. She would always listen to Twilight in the background, so would I. For hours these series of movies would play and the entire time my eyes never watched the screen. Though my eyes never made contact with the screen, I could still rattle off the entire film’s plot, from the main characters all the way to the concept of the film. Now call me weird but this was always a way in which I learned things. Like being on a plane and only listening to a movie would your head pressed into the seat. Like doing something mundane like working out and listening to music. I find it’s easier to soak up a message when you’re doing something that requires little thought. In the case of watching Twilight at home, the thought processed is reversed. That I could draw a much better picture because I was focusing on how cool it would be to be a vampire. That the concept of a TV series on Netflix would be easily taken on board because we are only concerned about how much food we have left in the cupboard, that we are warm enough, have enough to drink.

I can’t speak for your views on learning something. But it seems to me that a lot can be garnered by watching a show. Our creative engine is sparked up. We wouldn’t be watching it if we thought it was trash. So what’s keeping us there is that we know we are gaining something through our interest in the show. That there is something we can gain from watching this show. That there is something that we invest interest into because we’re trying to learn something valuable to us. Whether that’s personal development or a reflection of a memory which we might regret, or if there is something intrinsic in our behaviour that we secretly want to satisfy, there is an important discussion to be had regarding what we are actually taking out of something mundane like watching a television show. From my point of view, there are specific goals in mind when a person watches a TV series. But one of the angles in which I’m particularly referring to is the human desire of seeking out what other people do behind closed doors. To get that voyeuristic fix from the perspective of a director who uses an attractive cast to portray social investments. Basically, to make people mess around with each other and then in their tangled world make them figure out a resolution, or to put it bluntly termed as social politics. We can invest in that because there are stories within these social politics that we can abstractly relate to.

But what if a director saw that as an opportunity? If he knew that people passively use Netflix as a way of seeing into the lives of others. If he recognised all of our guilty pleasures, set up this elaborate plot, and portrayed it in a way that resonates with our deepest values, that we all deserve to be treated its respect and that everybody deserves the attention of being loved. A casual movie night with the boys turns into an ethics lesson transfixed on exposing how childish we are. That in this passive way, a person we have never met, in an unknown location, a director, has made ripples in our lives right beneath our noses.

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Now, this isn’t some English lesson that devises a cunning plan to make you believe that the colour of the decor in the opening scene reflects sadness or anything. But more of a whole picture thing. Out of my curiosity last Friday night when I became infatuated by a series called “Thirteen Reasons Why.” I didn’t know why it interested me so much because I’m usually the thriller/action genre type. I want to think but watching stuff get blown up is exciting too. I wanted to get to the bottom of this curiosity, wanted to know why we spend so long stuck behind these black mirror screens trying so hard to peer into somebody else perception of funny, or sad, or meaningful, or sentimental. For me, growing up has been so informed by the visions of these directors who teach us the relevance of various social issues that we don’t get taught in our schools, that we don’t get told by our parents. The kind of shit we only get told by our friends because they also watched last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. That in a weird sort of convoluted way we as people have made this odd form of magic that we can chill out on a cold wintery day and take an interest in.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a story about a girl who kills herself. Based on a novel written by the author Jay Asher, about a girl who is socially ridiculed by who school mates, is sexually abused, socially exposed and is ignored by her school. If you’re thinking to yourself that it sounds like another cliche story regarding teenage suicide then you’d be right. But isn’t that the point? From the authors perspective, they’ve taken the most basic case of teen suicide, something that we can all relate too, and have made a book about it. But no book ever written in the 21st Century can only cover something that ewe already know is a problem. There must be a plot to the book that encapsulates our attention, something that we didn’t expect to make us think about a concept that we are already aware of. To make any ripples in our lives the author had to think of a creative solution that would interest us, the readers.

Thirteen Reasons Why took its name because it was about a girl who killed herself and then left thirteen reasons why within thirteen different recordings on seven tapes either side. If you’re doing the math you’ll know that there are fourteen sides to seven tapes, go and watch it if you really want to know. In a strange but clever way, the entire sequence outlines thirteen different types of people who were all responsible for the death of the girl. Basically, the author came up with a way of making us all relate to the story. From the school cheerleader to the captain of the basketball team, to the school weirdo, even the school nobody. The author thought up this epic slammer that covers the most taboo concept of youth suicide, something that we normally bow our heads in condolences, and then ratifies this creative plan that identifies thirteen different kinds of personalities that identify with us, the people who worry more about how much popcorn is left in the bowl instead of a very real and very invisible illness that is concerning people all around us all the time.

But the realisation doesn’t stop there. This blog talks about the invisible something that we all gain from spending hours watching these TV series. Thirteen Reasons Why is my primary aim today because it’s a series that takes something completely taboo, through the ideology of an author. A guy who wanted to expose the entire idea of youth suicide and write a book that exposes the truth behind it. In a way that we can relate to by making thirteen personality types. This idea has somehow magically made its way into the hands of a directing guru, Brian Yorkey, who takes it a step further which I’ll talk about in just a second. Isn’t it amazing though, how we all have these gifts to create an idea in such a way that navigates through our social barriers, like the author who writes a story about a girl  who is tormented by her peers and reveals the various perceptions in 288 pages of  what is basically a rant about how shit we are as people for not realising. That it can be received by us, the reader, the viewer, the audience, simply because we were curious? But why were we curious in the first place? What made us scroll through Netflix and stop at this show? Was it the fact that it came up first in the new releases column? Or was it because Netflix actually put it at the forefront of their site because they knew it was an important drama that applied to the audience?

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

I can’t say why for sure. But being a guy, I could see that seeing a really attractive cast for starters might be a reason why, likewise for girls, but the gender stereotypes conversation is for another blog on a different day. Thirteen Reasons Why is directed by Brian Yorkey, who adapts the original novel to react to the different audience. He uses typical cinematography to outline the fact that we like to sexualise people because it makes us more interested in the film. But then he slams us by the realisation that rape culture is disgusting by using that component of the series as a means to sabotage our own interpretation of trivialising sexual abuse. It’s a big a sinister topic, but it’s masterminded in a way necessary to hear because it’s a very real thing and has very strong control over many people’s lives. I’m not going to mention how the screenplay producer visualised this, but what I will say is that this series delivers an important message regarding youth suicide and rape culture. That it delivers the message in a way in which we can feel disgusted by our participation of normalising rape culture and teen suicide by trivialising on it rather than actually doing squat to change it.

That is a really powerful message and it is something that I gained last Friday, couped up in my room while there was a party going on downstairs after the series being recommended by my awesome flatmate Lauren. I wasn’t able to take my eyes away from the screen, unlike Twilight. But the key message is that it made ripples, it made me notice the contrast between hearing about a person passing away due to “unnatural circumstances” out of the respect for their family. But it takes on a different approach where we can have a hard conversation in a way that is so passive, that strikes us out where we take invested interest in, like other peoples lives.

It then raises the question why it is completely inappropriate to allow the world to know when somebody commits suicide. It’s got to make you think that it’s important that we reflect on our part played in the process of somebody dying. That although we shouldn’t blame ourselves for somebody else’s death or sexual abuse, we should always be accountable for making sure that it never occurs in the future. That the grim reality is that suicide and rape occur every day. That it is a huge problem that we can’t beat around the bushes with. That if we’re going to talk about it then it needs to be a straight up, no bullshit conversation that people in power need to open up and get off their high horses about. That at a human level it’s just not good enough. There are no excuses, and it should never exist in the first place.

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It is amazing that something as mundane as watching Netflix can actually be a route for change. That in a climate where so many youths are stuck to their phones, hidden beneath the lids of their MacBooks, that it is such an important conversation to have. That although the show was portrayed in a very American setting, it is still applicable universally within every year level of our life.

Maybe that’s something you could take out of a TV series on Netflix, I’m sure that’s what I got from it. Admittedly, it’s not the kind of series that is typical for your everyday teenage melodrama, but at the end of the day, we all want to gain something from our Netflix and chill.

End.
This in regards to watching a series called Thirteen Reasons Why, if you would like a bit more of a plot synopsis then I would suggest visiting this link below to a well known critic who talks about the show in-depth and reflects on its key messages.

The Ringer – Critical review of Thirteen Reasons Why.

Asides from that this has been a really long afternoon chat! But it’s always easy when you have a passion for writing about it. Thanks for reading up guys i appreciate it. Tomorrows chat will be in regards to Abortion and then later in the week we’ll talk about student suicide. Watch this space.

And as always…
Thanks for checking in!

Blog 061 The Art of Letting Go – Part Two

There is nothing that makes me more angry than when somebody I love far away from me is hurting and there is nothing that I can do to help them. Having felt this feeling today and having not been able to do anything about it, I want to share with you the enragement that I went through so that we can both gain something from it. That it might inadvertently stop a person from drinking when they’re going through something, that it might help somebody out there in some abstract way.

Without getting into specifics, the anger emotion for me is usually a reactionary from another feeling. Like frustration, anxiousness, and upset. All of these stupid emotions can be triggered by the dumbest things. Like when the banter is taken too far, or if a family member has been injured and theres nothing you can do about it. These heavy lead ups gather momentum because the suspense within the fear is usually an uncomfortable one. A fear of losing control over your life. When we are disconnected from the illusion that we are in control of everything, when that falls apart we are left juggling why. That these psychological remnants persist when we feel that our control is compromised. We have grown up constructing our lives around being independent because we think that we can rely on nobody but ourselves. That we make the immediate assumption that having control over certain things within our lives somehow correlates to having a balanced lifestyle?

That we build our personalities around the fact that we can stand on our own two feet and that everything is fine and dandy. When in reality if those supports are ripped from beneath us we get caught in a kerfuffle and can easily react out in a way in which we might regret, like being angry. By creating this network of control, like having tips on our families, a balance indicator on our smartphones bank app, having enough food in the cupboard, checking up on our grades through our universities website. These balances put in place a control barrier that when there is an imbalance it can be solved more easily. But what if the problem is really bad?

From a guys perspective, there is almost an expectation that if something goes down like if a guy messes with our girl then we are supposed to “Step them out.” Natures championship rivalry to impress others by being something that you don’t want to be. To be that guy who acts brave and boldly confident but weakly confides behind closed doors, takes off his fake man work outfit, and realises that he is putting his own wellbeing to the side to act out in a way that isn’t reflective of his character. There’s no excuse for stupid behaviour. There’s no excuse for violence in any domain. So what can we do about it?

I’m not saying this is in any way a personal reflection on what has happened to me. Just explaining the process of getting to a state of anger and finding solace in the notion that its okay not to be so independent and that its okay to ask for help in certain situations which cannot be dealt with in an ideal way because we don’t live in an ideal world. But first we’ll discuss a well known fact that social norms expect us to behave in ways in which no person morally should.

I’m talking about the age old concept whenever the boys go to town I get so confused. Obviously because I have a beautiful girlfriend in whom I love dearly. Before this though, there was so much confusion running through my head that 80% of girls don’t want to be treated like chicks who can be rated on a scale of 1-10. That they honestly just want to live and be happy and be free to do and dance however they please. But it’s the other 20% of girls that get sloppy drunk because they either don’t know their limit or have a lot going on inside that needs sorting out. That on the surface, they dress in revealing clothes, flirt with every guy they meet and act as though they want to be rateable. So many guys see that as being reflective of the girl inside but that’s almost like taking every word Trump speaks as if they were backed up with evidence.

You can roll your eyes at my next sentiment. Guys often fail to look deeper either due to a lack of experience or think they’re doing the right thing based on the gender stereotypes in place already. It honestly makes me sick to the stomach every time I see a guy reach in to grab a girls ass and see her life diminish on her face because she’s been harassed in a club. The reason why I am confused by the psychology of why we socially accept that these human beings are treated so much less than what they are worth is because they deserve to be cared about by somebody who understands and respects them, not some dick head with emotional problems persisting in his pants who fails to see how incredible she is. I am so confused by this. It literally makes me angry, particularly that I have helped for years to let this become a reality by being apart of the banter with “da bois” by being one of those dick heads in the past. It makes me angry that we exist in a people grouping that makes this stuff “normal.” That it’s absolutely fine to treat a person like a piece of meat, when in my head I feel that I have let down half of the entire planet by not pushing the guy aside and beating the living shit out of them. Thats justice in change, not standing by motionless.

My point being is that its so easy to get pissed off by all of the rubbish we are accustomed to live with because we are told that this is how we are supposed to live our life. But when that conflicts with my morals. That the problem is my morals are what I hold most dear. That I have constructed my whole life believing that by having control over other peoples lives, by telling that guy to fuck off and leave that girl alone, is trying to enforce my control over him. That it makes no difference in me getting angry, or in me getting violent towards him for treating a girl the way he was made to believe was what he supposed to do by “the lads.” It makes me angry that I hold myself accountable for being a part of a gender that treats women as if they’re hardly human.

Maybe the answer is that we don’t need to be in control. That if we step back and look at the underlying assumption that perhaps we are trying to accomplish something that is not our own fault, that we have to pick our own battles if we are truly going to put our own wellbeing first. That it is better to defuse the suspense by disarming the suspicion. By convincing the guy who treats girls like shit that it doesn’t need to be that way, that she is a human being and has as much right to exist as he does. That she is an incredible person with life and has love in herself and that she and we all deserve to be treated with that same courtesy. Without getting angry. Without getting violent. That letting go of the reigns will bring peace in the worst points in your life. To alleviate some of the stresses you’ve burdened yourself with. That perhaps it’s not really worth drinking if you really want to have a clear head and treat her with respect.

There are so many ways of letting go of what is uncontrollable. Realising that your lust for control wears you down and by letting go of the reigns you improve your overall mindset and are in some odd way a better person because of it.

End.

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 060 The Art of Letting Go – Part One

At five years old, my teacher told me that my creativity was endless. That my drawings were amazing, something she always let my parents know in my interviews. They were the first sparks that there was more to the story than another fleeting brown kid who’d probably never amount to anything tangible. Somebody invested in me and that was something which drove me to where I currently am. On a Saturday morning at 4:24 am stabbing my keyboard without a dash of alcohol on my lips for over a month. Creating this blog. This chat is to discuss my future career decisions. To raise the point that sometimes it is a more valuable lesson to let go of something you’ve clung to for re-assurances in such a deep way that you might refuse to ever let that go. To convince somebody out there struggling with a tough decision to lead with what is right and not by what you want to do.

When I was seven years old, our class was set an assignment to draw our dream house out of white chalk and black card. That stupid project stole my lunch because there was nothing stopping the intense effort being put into this little boys drawing. Looking at this drawing, another teacher commented, saying the work was something that exceeded pieces done by people years my senior, that one day I should consider becoming an Architect. That stupid lady. While remaining hugely grateful for the positive feedback what I would say is that she created this fire within me like Donald Trump who becomes so infatuated with his propaganda that he probably believes that he really is going to make America great again, that in Architecture I trust. I built such a strong belief that one day I would become an architect. It was the first ever memory I have of knowing what this creative job really meant.

Fast forward to high school where I learned that I hated physics with a passion. That I hated chemistry with a passion. So we could safely say that science is probably not the way to go. Then came the civil engineering phase, which was just as quickly phased out after I realized how bland and rational the job was. So then after a long arduous banter session throughout my years in high school, I finally graduated. Taking on a Bachelor of Architectural Studies. A three-year degree that covers all elements of the art as well as the specialization to become the very thing you wanted to become. Long story short it was all a series of events which slipped into place snugly.

What isn’t mentioned anywhere here is that I made the link that architecture was another way for snobby people to be even more materialistic. Whether that be families or businesses who weren’t happy to settle for cookie-cutter buildings and so that felt the urge to hire a guy, who never uses HB pencils, to sketch a few iterations down on a Moleskine notepad, stress over a CAD program for three weeks just to sell an idea that at the end of the day adds no value to a person’s qualities or contributes anything to somebody who struggles to put bread on the table. that at the end of the day the Architect is more concerned about font styles and digital rendering, than practicality and socialism.

I want to raise how hard it is to let go of things that seem so right. Making really tough decisions to move past career choices and allow yourself more room to grow and make mistakes elsewhere. To recognise the motives of different professions, weigh them up against other pathways and decide what you really want to do.

A bit of history, some readers may know that when I was eight months old I was taken away from my parents and put into the care of two amazing parents who would later adopt me as whangai, which is a Maori form of adoption that allows me to keep both parents. Being in child youth and family till the age of 12 gave me experience within a failed children’s ministry and it gave me a voice when it mattered the most. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to be a part of a new ministry for children. One that would be created and designed by a ministry with the advice of the voice of those who lived and were living in the system. Basically it was time for me to grow up and realise that I was a part of something bigger than anything I would ever accomplish in my entire career as being an architect. That I was confident no building, no convention centre, no reserve park for birds that I may design if I became a successful career would ever match the incredible empowerment that guaranteeing thousands of kids, who had also been taken away from their families, have a voice and that this country recognises the mistakes they have made.

“Ka Pu Te Ruha, Ka Hao Te Rangatahi: As the old net is cast aside, the new net goes fishing.”

This was the whakatauki, Maori proverb, that I used when opening the ceremonies of the new Ministry, Oranga Tamariki. It reflects on the shortcomings of a system that didn’t work but remembers the important structural networks within the system who put their heart and soul into making the previous system a safer place for kids. But it also reflects on the future network that would be rolled out in light of an old system. Perhaps this proverb is somehow relatable to my own career pathway. Policy was such a foreign concept of mine. Going from a world of creativity where the only restriction is how much lead is in a pencil, it was a different perspective to enter the world of governmental policy and the creation of legislation from a paper pushing position. In the hopes that I might be able to find problems within the mechanics of the system and work from the inside out. That at every corner, using my experience in the care system I would have a voice that sparks resistance from adults in positions of power so that they might learn that not every decision ought to be financially based, not every decision has to be unilateral and that the values of a child are kept at the cornerstone of every choice. Their voices matter most because they represent a sustainable future. And that is something that I can honestly stand for.

#watchthisspace

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Blog 059 #UrbanDecay

WARNING: The contents of this blog are quite deep. 

For some of those who follow my Instagram account, you would be aware that I’m running a daily imagery montage. The idea is that the pictures would correlate to whatever blog theme I was running on any given day so that it would have an extra layer of depth when written about. One night when I was deciding how the blog would all look I remember searching the likes of Tumblr, Pinterest, even Google Images for moments that would capture how I was feeling. After mixing my passion for visual imagery with the skill of blogging I came up with the idea just to use all of my own images to build a better picture of what I was trying to display.

When I started writing, it wasn’t a goal to find meaning in emotions that didn’t exist but to report on real feelings that made real waves in my life. One of my first focuses was on nature and how incredible it can be as a tool for lifestyle and as a measure of distinctive happiness. After moving away from my small rural hometown at the top of the South Island of New Zealand heading back into the urbanscape of city life Wellington in the North Island, I began to see a huge shift in my behavior. Now it’s important for me to note that during my first year of studying architecture the year prior, I was infatuated with how spatial design and the communications of people and recognizing the relationship and its historic significance throughout the development of modern day civilization. It was a huge moment for me, realizing how limitless man-made creations really were. That these massive ecosystems existed in bustling communities such as these and that in millions of places around the globe, these urban lifestyles existed.

But this year was a different year. Having struggled with my responsibilities as a friend to a group of peers who struggled with my personality previously, I thought it was massively important to spend time figuring out what my real aspirations in life were. My parents taught me that love was the only thing that ever mattered. When I was twelve years old, my brother passed away. Our family never really recovered because we never communicated well enough to be able to grieve in a way that allowed us to grow correctly. So it was a dark place to be. Not on a surface level, but on an emotional and spiritual one. My parents struggled to talk, and I don’t blame them. Their lives had been ripped apart. While I was in the same boat, being so young and unawares I couldn’t begin to fathom how deep the pain would have been for them. I still can’t. The only thing that I could fathom was the immense amount of energy my mum put into showing me how much she truly loved me. That through the wrappings of a broken family, her love for us and the love of our dad, my sister and our family still stood through the biggest test any family could face.

You’re probably asking yourself how this has anything to do with architecture or urbanism. I can’t promise you that this discussion will give you closure but let me explain. Architecture is a very loose term. It denotes and entails many things but my focus for today is that it helps businesses create the ultimate visualization of their wealth and power. These corporate enterprises produce huge amounts of revenue and one of the best ways of showing off this power is by creating a building that symbolizes a businesses pedigree, which is the role of an architect. This is applicable to even more than just creating a structure which signifies a business but can also be used on less commercial stuff, like housing. Families can be their own entities, they can ask for a guy who is skilled in drawing and utilizing tools designed by other people to create a space that defines their life’s entire wealth. To redesign or to completely create a space comfortable enough to accommodate a families “needs.” My argument is looking at what has become of modern day architecture. These cookie-cutter lifestyles where slight variations like the location of the toilet, a different colored tile and all of these miniature customizations simply to find a balance where that family feels unique or feels special in some sort of way and it never occurred to me that it is the ultimate materialism imaginable.

Holding onto that thought. The comparison between architecture and urbanism is too distinctively consider the relationship between architectures. The manipulation of a large collection of customized spaces to intricately reflect the socialism within an area to accommodate the needs of people. That in its essence it the art of the urban planner, for planning’s sake. By making the connection that the urban planner would look at more than just a building, more than just space but understand how people move within that space, understand how motorized traffic drives across a place. Urbanism is a much broader picture of the state of affairs in comparison to the visualization of power, money, and greed.

My argument lives within a society that means to create convenience but in reality, is making our people more numb to the recognition that life is becoming too easy and that we are increasingly becoming lazy. That we really don’t need another giant ottoman in the lounge. Auckland could probably do without a 3 billion dollar tunnel just to shave twenty minutes off Joe’s daily commute to the train station. That Christchurch probably didn’t need a Cardboard Cathedral. That Blenheim doesn’t need to polish the stone floors of its memorial square, that Wellington doesn’t need another tram line up the hill to university because it’d only be overrun by tourists, and cost too much anyway. When you look back and see how practical we have been in the past, or even if you visit a rural township in the south island of New Zealand, you get this sense of manualism that you have to be more proactive, that shit doesn’t come easy and that pretty pictures don’t define somebodies personality, but the love of others does. That there is more to life than the passive spatial manipulations of money hungry businesses looking to show off their biggest toy yet.

This is my scope on urban decay. The hashtag symbolizes the recognition that we are becoming numb to the incentives urban planners and architects create. Although I stand by the encouragement of creativity. The belief in creation is that we gain new philosophies. Why I’m all for the progression of architecture, aesthetic should never trump practicality and the history of the art should never be forgotten.

End.

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Blog 058 Seasonal Depression

Shit weather is like a mood-dampening blanketless sleep session. It brings out moods you tried to forget even existed during summer. Easy to become less motivated to get things done. That you’re better off to stay indoors with every heater in the place going at full blast. It’s never a brisk day with rain fade and overcast skies. For years I pondered why we accept weather as such a massive factor to our happiness. That it plays such a vital role in shaping our personalities and is often largely dependent on where you’re from. Today’s chat talks about seasonal depression and how it is a real thing that affects millions of people globally. In the hopes that this hugely under looked component of social connectivity is and does contribute to so much unnecessary trouble every day.

Who doesn’t like the radiance of a pleasant blue-skied mornings sunrise? We associate these sorts of weather patterns with our attitude that sunlight makes me happy therefore wet days make me sad. Even in pre-school, it’s taught to children that rainy days are associated with sadness and upset. Conversely, the smile of a sun would be expressed through happiness. Now before I go on a spiel about how our government’s education system actively promotes the teachings of false visual emotional dialogue to our children. I’ll save this talk for another day so that we can focus on an invisible threat.

When we talk about seasonal depression I am also sympathetic with evaluating natural disasters, such as the Christchurch Earthquake. Now before you start packing your bags at the first hint of a blog that mentions the words “Christchurch Rebuild,” hear me out for a second. Many New Zealander’s took for granted that the earthquakes caused a lot of grief in the social atmosphere within Christchurch, thousands of people were unable to live in their homes due to the EQC (The New Zealand Earthquake Commission) who would enquire with spokespeople from within the region. Extra steps were carried out to enforce the rebuilding of large motorways, re-surfacing roads, adding new shopping centers in a creative way that would encourage people to spend more money etc. A lot of people thought the problem was largely the earthquakes when in reality this social dissonance pre-existed any natural phenomena. Having lived in Christchurch for a few years I learned about the cool southerly breeze which would brush across the city each day at 4:00 pm. Regardless of what time of year, the temperature would drop from a balmy 23 celsius to a brisk 11. That in the space of an hour the temperature would be halved.

For years I would believe that my behavior was down to sleeping patterns and which foods were going into my body. None of it made sense because whenever I would travel back to Blenheim, would catch a boat to Wellington or would fly to Auckland, it served as a reminder of how much a change of scenery and a change in weather can make on how happy I was. That it was completely taken for granted that seasonal depression is a real thing that needs to be exposed in a really massive way. If people were more understanding of these concerns then perhaps when there is a week without sun there might be fewer arguments at home. Work might seem a lot less stressful and life overall would be a little better. If we stopped believing that sunlight equalled happy face, then maybe when times are tough people might feel the urge to reach an agreement rather than escalate because they’re feeling upset because it has been raining for the past three days, or that to some depth it might be possible that exams in the middle of the week don’t need to be dealt with hostility when coming home to a flat full of people who have lives that matter too.

Growing from a place where weather depicts how well our day is going to be, it surprises me in a great way whenever my standards fall by the wayside that from time to time a person might ask me how I’m feeling. After trudging home with water filled socks an unrealistic timeframe to complete an assignment, a girlfriend who thinks un-replied texts equals an uninterested boyfriend. Struggle street can be real sometimes and I’m only being honest but it’s real shit that we have to be taken by surprise by any person who genuinely understands that we all have good days and not so good days. But understanding these little glitches helps us out socially to be more realistic with our approach to finding a happier lifestyle.

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 057 So Far… So Good? Two Months!

This is a reflection of my second consecutive month of blogging and how I have grown since that crazy midnight rush of just getting it done. There are not many things it can safely be said where growth occurs in such a small period of time. Growth is in many ways this awkward progression from making realizations that you might have been wrong about something and that only through consistent reflections can a change be noticed. In many ways, there have been lessons which have been taken on board over these previous blogs that have changed my processing of ideas. It’s not every day you can tell yourself that you’re proud of accomplishing something.

The last month has been a really busy period for me. From shifting to a new city and constructing a new schedule all the way to saying a speech in front of my countries Prime Minister in Maori, it’s been a month of sorts that’s for sure. From creating interviews with other really powerful advocates to marry my blog with experiences that have come to a close. To raising awareness for social anxieties. Talking about the most basic stuff ever and creating an epic rollercoaster ride out from it has shown me that there’s a story in everything. That there are lessons to be learned through everything.

My passion for blogging so far has been a collection of so many things that I value hugely and to be able to share them with you in thematic ways using different subjects has been really interesting to watch. I always perceived blogging to be this basic process of throwing words onto a page without realizing that there is so much variation that is possible using blogging as a tool to share experiences with other people. So many ideas popped up from it like creating a podcast, creating a mobile app that would increase the traffic on my site.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many people actually read each blog because from such a small period of working within this niche space has created my belief that there is always going to be an opportunity in reporting and blogging. That there are many avenues which are pursuable in the future beyond blogging, such as writing for a magazine such as Salient. Which is a student-based magazine that focuses on projected the voices of students who work hard to produce content which people will be interested in? The idea was sparked after a wet Thursday between lectures three weeks ago when I picked up a weekly Salient and read the words “opinion” orientated sideways. That almost everything written in a blog is an opinion which is very occasionally backed up with factual evidence. That what was written within an entity such as Salient magazine was actually no different to the expressive dialogues held within my blogs. So looking to continue writing in the future, Salient remains on my radar.

As for my message. Unlike going to church on a Sunday night, my sermons don’t generally portray a very clear thesis statement. It is always a process of writing without a plan because, in essence, that is creativity. When I came up with the idea of creating an interview with Tupua, one of the founding members of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, I never could have imagined that my work would garner soo much support. I never imagined that a judge would later read the words pressed into this blog, it was an amazing moment.

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WHAT MANA SEES Facebook Page

The creation of a Facebook page was a new addition to the progress of this blog. It was a place where each blog would be posted without my mainstream media forum becoming cluttered with endless blogs regarding every single blog, it’s almost as bad as taking a photo of my food every day! – Those days are over, unfortunately. By creating a Facebook Page for the blog allowed me to access larger networks of people who might benefit from some of the information that I was writing about at the time. With my passions being in informing people about various ongoing situations nationally.

In the past month, there have been a few occasions where the blog was specifically aimed to raise opinions and cause people to listen to a little closer. After a conversation, it became more obvious that the blogs needed to be something that I would actually love to read, no matter how busy I might have been. That by creating content that was interesting ultimately drew the most people to view each blog. The number wasn’t important so much was the service. Spending hours each day trying to wave my magic wand into the air and create a piece that would deliver my message across to unsuspecting individuals was truly the most humbling experience for me. That by sharing my knowledge with people regardless of its validity actually helped me value my own opinion a lot more. This added confidence would let me write even more controversial stuff, e.g. Sex Before Marriage” and “Pride (LGBT).” These conversations were an immediate reflection of my growth and appreciation for people’s time. Those busy humans like my mother might not take any interest in a blog regarding what its like to live in Christchurch because they already knew. By adjusting to more serious issues such as homelessness, or student debt, would create a better discussion for a lot more people.

My experiences from outside fo the blog have influenced the way in which I have been writing. From random weekend trips up to The Coromandel Penninsula to rants about sleeping in remedying the fact that I was feeling sorry for myself, all help lead me back to a few basics. The love f my family is always my primary focus. Whenever I would sit and struggle to come up with a piece, the reminder that there is an entire family of amazing people who live in a place called ‘home’ would support me no matter what. My reflections have been able to grow me from the inside-out. There have been times of recognition this last month where there have been battles fought to destabilize this constant nagging of rejection and going back to when I was eight months old to figure out where the root source to many of my problems actually lie. To understanding how being left behind by my parents at eight months old shaped my entire persona into a stubbornly reluctant individual who always has to be right nearly all of the time.

These major shifts in perspectives have brought about a change in scenery that has done some wicked shit over these past few weeks. My relationship with myself has improved dramatically, although I’m still working on the sleep properly front, and the manage your time and love life episodes have been left a little worse for wear in some places I’m afraid. My blogging has done tremendous things for my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend though. We have flourished in ways simply unimaginable. So beautifully and it excites me inside to see where it’s all going in the future!

Writing blogs isn’t all rosy and fun though. Like all things, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be able to sit up at 2:00 am on a Thursday night reflecting in silence typing up a storm and actively enjoying every letter typed. In saying that I have to admit that I am a few days behind schedule simply down to the fact that some of the blogs have been harder to write than others. When I did my interview blog, I was simply blown away by how amazing the work was that I may have gone a bit far to suggest that the work is made even more elaborate. As this went on I began to realize that the blog was started to take priority over University. That’s when I stopped and checked myself out to make sure that I knew what I was doing this for.

Looking forward to the future is a massive opportunity to continue growing and gaining more support from various readers, which is pretty cool. Pouring more soul and work into answering some really tough questions coming up. My main focus over this next month will be to become more routine with how I blog and ensure that none of this is treated as a chore, but more like a hobby. Something I can do without even thinking about it. Hopefully, it will condition my brain so that who knows how many blogs I might make? 365 blogs? We shall see…

But what I can tell you is this. The work that I am doing makes me proud every time I press publish. There is so much work to be done, baby steps. Here’s to another jam-packed month full of blogging!!!

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 056 Why Public Policy?

Welcome to my blog! Today’s chat is a personal development story. Much in a reflection of my work as a youth advocate. For those who do not know my background, I study Architecture and public Policy. Here’s why…

During my time growing up, I was always so sure that Architecture was all that interested my skills set. It was always apparent to me that there was soo much excitement in the world of physical graphics and that it was the process that I wanted to be career married too. That when you grow up you’re only designed to do a certain skill set of jobs that probably only met a handful of real job criteria. Occasionally I would see people going through their last years at high school making the huge assumptions that they knew precisely what they were going into University to achieve and that they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. I guess that’s nice, but we all know those people are full of shit we just hold them in a high regard and call them success stories.

Without getting into the statistics of how many students actually leave University with the degree that they originally intended on completing at the beginning. It is necessary to say that my support goes out to each and every student excelling in the field of their childhood dreams, that’s amazing. It’s actually hugely inspiring to see people going into what they originally planned on going into and then seeing that individual grow up into the career they set out to achieve. In many ways, it is like watching a marathon sprinter start at humble beginnings, work through every obstacle and then cross the finish line. it is something we can all be a part of and support.

But for many people, sometimes the story isn’t so linear. Sometimes you find your second wind to be the most momentous gain made. For me, that was the decision to chase after both Architecture and Public Policy. It all began when a social worker contacted my mum and asked if I might be interested in applying for a position as a youth advocate for the Minister of Social Development, who at the time was Minister Paula Bennett. The government took an interest in asking children and youth who had experienced a failed children’s ministry, how they might want their care experience to be. At the time I wasn’t nearly prepared for the huge mountain that was thrown in front of me so I took it on with full speed thinking it would be an easy accomplishment. Little did I know that it would seriously make waves with my life story, some of which I’ll outline for you below.

In 2015, I applied to be a part of the newly formed children’s advocacy team who would oversee changes made within a proposed children’s ministry. After being unsuccessful in my original application, I was offered the opportunity to be a part of something more vital, which was the focus groups that would occur all over New Zealand hosting children all over the country who had experienced the failures of Child Youth and Family, the previous children’s ministry, to help target the main problems our government faced. Sitting amongst these other kids who had experienced more pain, more suffering, and more neglect than any amount any child should ever receive, I began to learn that their pain was not dissimilar from my pain. That these kids had something in common with me and that was they were ripped out of their families. That these kids had been placed into homes without being told why, without being given the opportunity of choices based on beliefs or cultural significance. They had literally been shit on by a system that did not work.

This is not a blog aimed at upholding the values of government but is equally uninterested in the excuses of families to not be able to look after their children. There was very clearly mistakes on both sides, both systemically as well as socially, from an adult’s perspective. The truth was that none of the children in that focus group, including myself, knew that we had any rights available to us under the constitution. Not one child knew exactly why they were taken away from their parents, some of whom were nearly 17 years of age, had been informed that they had a right to ask for their information be given to them. It didn’t breed change in my direction though. It was a shock to my life plan, definitely.

In 2016, I was re-approached by the office of the children’s commissioner, who was commissioned by the Minister of Social Development, the then and now, honourable Anne Tolley, regarding a second youth advocacy panel who would be appointed to go through and refine all of the work the previous panel had enforced. After an immediate yes, the following three months led up to my first meeting. Not knowing what to expect from the entire situation, not knowing how to study, what I was supposed to know. I went in naive to the fact that I was going to be conducting a service that would be vital for the lives of thousands of children all over my country. The first day of working with my advocacy group I learned all about the people that I was working with. Their incredible stories helped me appreciate how retarded our governing system truly was. My experience within the system was for lack of a better expression, almost perfect. But the word ‘almost’ to entail that it was still not good enough. My first day working as a youth advocate I didn’t sleep. Being slapped in the face by statistics that the majority of kids in care were of my own ethnicity, Maori, and that so many of them committed suicide, were victims of sexual abuse below the age of 5, that these kids would likely never become a functioning adult because of intergenerational poverty made me upset beyond the stage where I was able to carry on with my own selfish desire to become a guy who designed cubes for really rich people an architect. That I had to make a difference in one place, where I knew was to advocate for the injustices that had happened to these kids, and do so in the biggest way imaginable, to speak to those in power.

On the second day of my role as a youth advocate, I met the wonderful Minister Anne Tolley on the fifth floor of parliament. After being informed by The Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, that the new system would be called “The Ministry for Vulnerable Children” my heart sank. So it was the first thing I brought up when the minister asked us what she could do better. While there are still confidentiality agreements between myself and the conversations had within my role in government, there is no legislation that prevents freedom of expression. So fuck off. I was depressed by the notion that the new ministry emphasised the importance that these children be put into a box simply because they received funding for a situation, through no fault of their own, they find themselves in. That it was through our cabinet that this name was decided and that the minister herself felt the need to defend the name even though in her eyes it was visible for all to see that she herself did not agree with it.

Politics is a fickle world. It is twisted and warped by the hierarchy that exists because every member of parliament is frightened by the idea that their voices may be quelled if they fail to win the popularity contest, the vote. I learnt that this is a very real problem through my own experiences working within the ministry. That their needs to be a voice that persists that is un-manipulable. That is incorruptible. Somebody who exists to tell the story from the bottom of the food chain in the mot “vulnerable” of beginnings who can say, from an educated position, that they know what’s up. Over the period of a year, I had many dealings with the creation of the children’s ministry. It was shaped and moulded in a way that made adults at every single step of the process question their entire motives for what they were actually doing.

It is true! There are many people working within the public sector of the government who genuinely care about their jobs. So many who actively pursue the rights of children as being their primary concern for working on a boat that they know is sinking from every capacity. Although I met so many people who really knew how to make shit happen, unfortunately, there were so many who were led by conceptual designs made by other adults who were looking for patch job fix ups rather than complete and utter overhauls of a system that everybody knows sucked shit historically. So although their hearts were in the right place. It was their work and their experience that always would have meant that their result wouldn’t have been quite what was necessary. The biggest changes always occurred where the voices of experienced people, in this case, were the voices of care experienced children, that actually provided the necessary clarification that led to the ultimate change necessary.

There is a point where all of us reach that we can no longer carry on telling ourselves that we shouldn’t run with an idea. That when something is so abundantly clear to us that we should consider seriously pursuing, it is probably worth looking over again. It wasn’t long before I applied for a degree majoring in Public Policy. The decision informed by the knowledge that Policy was another word for rules. Rules which affect people. Rules that if they aren’t designed correctly make the little guy, in this case, a literal little guy, somebody else’s bitch. That my skills were the art of the pen. The art of sitting behind a desk and creating waves, that public speaking was a second gift that I possessed. That by sitting a degree in public policy would give me background skills in government would give me a detailed understanding of how the rat race works. So that one day I might be able to work from within the ministry and make everyone accountable for the rules in which they make. It’s a start in the right direction, right?

In the words of the joker. “It’s all apart of the plan.”

Below is a link to my interview with the media regarding the coverage of the launch of Oranga Tamariki.

My interview on Stuff

Below is the link to the VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai interviews with the Youth’s who made it all happen.

VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. Our Rights

Thanks for checking in…