AS I SEE IT : Kieran Brown

• Ko Ngati Raukawa me Muaupoko nga Iwi.
• Recent graduate of the New Zealand Leadership Institute’s Future Leaders Programme. • Studying law and commerce at Victoria University. • Involved in youth and social R&D. • 19 years old.

How would you describe the New Zealand identity?
More than ever we are wanting to embrace individualism and see the death of the tall poppy syndrome. We want to be fabulous, to be Kiwi proudly. Our everyday identity takes into account our growing multiculturalism, our open nature, our whanau, lifestyle focused living, love, and who could forget good food and wine. We are so lucky. There has never been better time to start thinking about what makes us uniquely Kiwi and how that makes us stand out internationally.

Who are we as people?
We are just trying to get on, managing our own lives, our family, our finances and all that comes in between. I love the simplicity in the life that can be as New Zealander. I also revel in the complexity that comes with being young and excited with options galore. We are, young and old, starting to get past the traditional ways of being as Kiwi. We are now being challenged by new and dynamic ways that are filled with personal satisfaction – ways in which to think and live as individuals and as wider community.

What can we learn from our past?
A firm grasp on New Zealand history, its tangata whenua, its roots and its treaty are invaluable to all New Zealanders. Our past has shaped much of New Zealand and modern social dynamics. The value in our past lies in our ability to get on with each other despite adversity, pain, struggle and hurt. History has shown, especially in the case of Maori, that it is never too late, you are never too low, you are never too hard-done-by to draw support, get determined and after some careful reflection become raging success. We need more raging successes among us.

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