Mahurangi Matters - 30 September 2020 - Readers Letters
Black lives matter
Thank you for the story you wrote (Campaign helps free American black man after 44 years (MM Sept 16). I have received a number of very positive comments from friends and family in your circulation zone. Your commitment to bringing to the attention of your readers the injustice served to Ronnie and his eventual vindication is greatly valued. He is so grateful for his release, but the injustice has its lingering effect in the eyes of supporters such as myself. Tonight, I have been advised that if he had been pardoned, Ronnie would have been entitled to a payment of USD750,000. However, because the State of North Carolina vacated its prosecution of Ronnie, following the finding of the US Federal Court of Appeal, he does not qualify for compensation under this scheme. Meanwhile, Ronnie and his team have posted the link to your article on his Free Ronnie Long FB page. Mahurangi Matters is getting international coverage. The reward of your determination to uphold truth.
Owen Mansill, Texas
The idea of making Matariki an official public holiday in 2022 sparked quite a few negative comments on social media, mostly from a political or economic viewpoint (MM Sept 16). Let's look at it from a cultural perspective. Aoteaora doesn't have many celebrations that have their roots in the natural cycle of the year, as Christmas and Easter are tied up to the seasons of the Northern hemisphere. Matariki could brighten up our dark midwinter time, celebrating this turning point in the year when the light conquers the darkness once more. That it is important to connect with nature and the land we live in might have become more obvious again during these Covid times, when we are all thrown back on to our own private little spot on this earth, craving our stroll through the park or our walk on the beach or rediscovering our own backyard. For our wellbeing, it is not only important to connect with the land and its natural rhythms, but it is equally important to connect with each other. This is where the special strength of a public holiday kicks in, allowing us to come together and celebrate as families and larger communities. It's through these communal celebrations that we shape our culture and traditions and that we create memories for ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren – through centuries and across generations. Making Matariki a public holiday is therefore not only an appropriate way to honour Māoritanga, but it is also a beautiful gift to everyone living in New Zealand today, whatever our ethnicity may be, as we all move through winter at the same time in this particular spot on earth. Our complex society desperately needs new, respectful ways to connect with our natural environment and with one another. What makes it even more meaningful is that this “new” way is at the same time a very “ancient” one. A wonderful circle completed