Through the past few months never has home been so important to so many people.
During my childhood home was a simple concept. My parents moved into the house I knew as home when I was about four and lived there well into my adulthood. I left to travel at age eighteen and lived in a number of different countries. For some of those years home was still a simple concept, it was the place where my parents lived. Having children didn’t change our travel habits, but the idea of home expanded to become the place where we lived as a family and also where my parents lived and I’d grown up. After all, home is where the heart is, and home is far more than just the house. The dwelling is an important element definitely, never more so than now, but home is also the people we love.
After just a few months of living here, I came to a realisation of yet another type home. I love New Zealand and it is also home, as is the house where we live, and not forgetting where I was born and where my parents lived. My home is not just the physical building, but also the people I love and the country where I chose to live.
New Zealand is a small island community of five million, and at this time we are fortunate in having a Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, who communicates clearly and with compassion. Concepts like ‘the bubble’ to describe our home and the people we could remain physically close to during lockdown instantly became embedded in our conversation. “Be strong, and be kind,” was a constant. How many leaders consider that? How can you not love a country that places emphasis on being kind?
I’ve seen “Kia Kaha” (te reo Maori for be strong) drawn in chalk on the pavement and on paper posters in houses and shops. During lockdown we had a nationwide game of I-Spy looking out for teddy bears that people placed in their windows for children to see as they went out for their daily exercise.
I recognise that I am fortunate in having a home: a dwelling, a family and a country that I love, and that not everyone has that. I hope that you and the people you love are keeping safe in your home. Kia Kaha.