Proud to be a Kiwi
by Raymond TeKoroako Ruka
I belong to the people of Waitaha. I am Maori, an Indigenous New Zealander, who has been happily married to a Yellow Springer and living in Yellow Springs, Ohio for the last 17 years.
I am writing to express my horror at the event that happened in Christchurch, where an armed, foreign, self proclaimed, white-nationalist terrorist surreptitiously, or otherwise, entered two sacred Mosques where he shot, killed and wounded, scores of defenseless, innocent, worshippers.
His insane rage and missiles could well have been aimed at myself and all tenderhearted Kiwi’s or American’s for that matter…
As John Donne wrote: “For no man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”
So deep had been my initial disbelief, shock and sorrow on hearing this atrocity having being visited upon newly arrived, seekers of shelter to our beautiful Isles of Aotearoa – New Zealand.
To our new, Muslim, New Zealanders, having fled the terrible conflict of their original homelands to seek the promised safe haven that so many others had already found in ours, I would like to profoundly apologize. In our naiveté we had wrongly assumed, that in our geographical isolation, we were immune from that, from which you were fleeing.
I offer you all, on behalf of our Waitaha Nation of Peace, our deepest of heartfelt condolences. Wherever we may be situated in the world, your fellow Kiwi Kin, I would suspect, are in mourning for your losses – which in truth are our losses as well.
With that aspect of Muslim within me, for if we are to be truly called Rainbow Children, I would humbly submit, we must first recognize our ability to appreciate each other beyond the restraint of faith, origin or politic. This simple capacity I believe has been aptly demonstrated to the watching world by our incredible young leader, Jacinda Ardern as her high office rightly confers upon her the motherhood status to lead our united family of New Zealanders through the grieving process.
My spirit has been lifted up by the swift and courageous action and display of true leadership by our Prime Minister Jacinda and her Labor Government with the full support of the main opposition National Party.
She had stated that there was no reason for New Zealanders to own these types of weapons and there was a broad consensus of agreement. An immediate ban has been placed on all military style semi automatic weapons and assault rifles just six days after the attacks. A buy-back period will be implemented, after which time gun-owners who have not complied will be fined, or face up to 3 years of imprisonment.
New Zealand has a world-renowned tradition of seasonal game hunting that attracts both national and international hunters from around the world. As well, our sporting women and men compete at the highest levels in most of the shooting disciplines at the Olympics. Even with that amount of public profile, and participation, New Zealand Law simply states that, no citizen has the right to own or possess firearms including for the purposes of self-defense.
Granted, measured statistically, New Zealand is only one small, insignificant, drop of water in the bucket of our world’s community. But – one drop at a time, the bucket of our humanity is being filled.
And, come a time, when that bucket of water finally gets to be emptied, after all the mix and matching has been completed – guess what’s going to be left at the bottom of the bucket all re-arranged…the Last drop!
“If we could resist our ingrained, initial reaction to assert our national sole possession of it, I wonder which part of that precious, no-longer insignificant last drop, each of us would claim and frame as our own if we were blessed to be given a “do-over, a 2nd chance?”
“I suspect though, that droplet may simply be humanities last tear.”
In sweet memory of our fallen Innocents in Christchurch, New Zealand;
May they forever rest in Peace.
“…if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less as well as if a promontory were. As well as if any manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind…”
Raymond TeKorako Ruka
Son of Waitaha