“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

– George Orwell

Dear Members

 The quote today is a tribute to Lawrence Roberts, Avonside Blogger and favourite CanCERN ‘revolutionary’. More about Lawrence in the newsletter below under ‘Leadership’ because that is where he should be honoured.

 This week we joined with other grassroots community leaders and attended a luncheon hosted by CERA CEO, Roger Sutton to meet the Governor General, Sir Jerry Mataparae. Firstly it has to be said that it is heartening that the Governor General asked to meet and talk with people working in the community. Recognition as being considered a valuable and crucial part of recovery is good for the soul and the energy levels. Secondly, it has to be said that we were treated like kings and queens and that was much appreciated too.

Sir Jerry Mataparae said he had heard of the way communities were contributing to the recovery and engaging with others to ensure Canterbury was a great city (our summary; he was far more articulate) and then he asked for our comment – did we feel that was how things were or did we want to tell it differently.

 There are not many opportunities that CanCERN miss to tell the resident story but unfortunately, this was one of them. As we looked down at the table of community leaders, the lovely meals they were about to eat and the few nervous officials in attendance, it was very difficult to blurt out a different truth. It was a weird and uncomfortable silence in the room and the fast thinking going on in the minds of wonderful community advocates was written all over their faces.

 It absolutely is a truth that needs to be told to the Governor General and we will make an opportunity for us to have this discussion with him. But in that time, in that place there was never going to be enough time to do that conversation justice. People have told us they don’t feel engaged or more specifically, they don’t feel the efforts of their engagement have gone anywhere. They struggle to see their vision, hopes, solutions, concerns being reflected back to them through decisions and planning.

 So apologies for missing this opportunity. Hopefully we will be able to respond to Sir Jerry Mataparae’s request for the resident story in a place where we have time to pass on another truth and look for solutions that would mean all residents could feel as valued as he made us feel at the luncheon.

 Kia Kaha Everyone.

The CanCERN Team