AS I SEE IT : Megan Barclay

What is New Zealand’s identity?
We are young, promising, wide-eyed and eager nation of people as diverse as our national topography. We are perceived as hard-working, creative and sporty, easy going with good traditional values, desire to do the right thing and with good diplomatic credentials.
We have strong do-it-yourself attitude, are easily lured to anything new, clock up untold hours at sporting fixtures and voluntary activities, and guard our independence fiercely. We are incredibly hard on ourselves and unfortunately large proportion of us tend to live like there is no tomorrow and ignore the big issues that affect New Zealand and the world.

What will be our next major challenges?
The face of diversity in New Zealand is shifting with new migrant groups bringing fresh flavour and perspective, compelling New Zealanders to face differing inherent values and beliefs. Additionally, our Pacific border is widening with free trade agreements and the need to work globally on sustainability issues. Our inherent Kiwi values of egalitarianism, free speech, equal opportunity, honesty and fairness will be challenged.

What do we need to do to prepare ourselves for this?
Collaborative groups are coming together in multiple frames across New Zealand to think collectively and creatively of ways to tackle issues around community leadership, taxation reviews, gang drug dependency, health and sustainable business. We must create similar think group for clear national strategy with input from all New Zealanders to provide clear vision and the desire to build our national strength and culture of healthy, aware Kiwis who use diverse tactics to reach all New Zealand, fostering safe, healthy, prosperous, sustainable and empowered communities.
We should invite global experts to mentor, guide and advise on our weaknesses, in return for positioning ourselves as the global “broker” of creative thinking in the technological, agricultural, food, water, energy and sustainability space. And we should celebrate. There are amazing Kiwis doing great things to tackle major challenges and basic needs. They are doing this domestically and taking their expertise to the world. We must build media culture that communicates and celebrates progress and achievement, instead of highlighting weaknesses and failures, and that fosters our collective desire to create New Zealand in global world that is fit for our grandchildren and beyond.

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