Tommy Kapai: It is okay to cry

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Photo/Getty Images

When we were born we cried, and everybody else was happy, and as we got older we as men got hardened to crying for whatever reason - most of it macho.

We book end our lives with boo hoo. Our tears come easy when we are young and beginning the world, and again our tears come easy when we are old and about to leave life behind.

It's an interesting observation to see what triggers the tears of joy and sadness, and I have been monitoring my boo hoo barometer to find out why I cry, more so now than my macho days.

For me, I get more emotional as I do empathetic for those in need and sometimes a tear is all I can give, but it feels good when I cry.

Like most Kiwi kids we were brought up on the myth that a man doesn't cry and the tag sooky bubba was a common curse for many tangiweto (cry babies) who were more emotional and empathetic than some of the other hard-ass kids who were taught toughness was all that mattered in life.

My boo hoo barometer has had a good work out this last winter with all the hardship I have seen but so have the tears of joy when I see random acts of kindness.

There was a time when I would bite the bottom lip and send the boohoo to the back of the memory hard drive, then deal with it in the privacy of my own thoughts late at night, when the highs and lows are downloaded while waiting for the good night kiwi to karanga me to sleep.

This last week has been good for a few boo hoos and sometimes I see life as an onion - as you peel back the layers you get a true sense of what is going on around you - and it's hard to hold back.

So sometimes we weep.

Friday night was worthy of a tear and I shed it for the Christian community of Kai Aroha who came out and fed the masses as they do every Friday night in Greerton. If only more of our followers of Jesus would be more like him, as they profess to be, from the warm comfort of a church pew.

Then we could seriously take away the tears of homelessness and hardship.

If you get the call to help with kai or koha please come on down to Te Tuinga at 190 Chadwick Road before 5-30 on a Friday night and help us help the homeless.

Saturday night had tears of joy flowing like the mighty Waikato River itself. We all needed a little bit of emotional rescue after the embarrassing display of downplaying the degradation of woman, by a team of Chiefs, who acted like school boys at a stag night, and not men of mana.

Surely Dave Renner their coach could have had a shave and taken off his tee-shirt when he fronted the media with Steve Tew? But then again, maybe that says it all about the culture of the Chiefs.

Watching the test from a scalped seat scored on the off chance someone wouldn't make the match, my emotional moment didn't come from watching the ABs slice through the Pumas like hot knives through butter.

Nor was it from watching the streeties catch Beaudies conversion as it landed outside the stadium - and then share it around with each other like a toanga dropped from the heavens.

It came from listening to the crowd going wild with a waiata, tutira mai nga iwi, during a stoppage in play.

When the world has learned very little from 9/11 and we have refugees in our own back yard, sometimes the warm words of a waiata can bring out the best in us all, and it did when we all sang like kids without prejudice.

How far we have come as a culturally cool country when we can sing together and normalise te reo Maori.

That was a magic moment worthy of a bit of boo hoo.


Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Tā-tou tā-tou e E!!
Hi aue hei !!!

Line up together people
All of us, all of us
Stand in rows people
All of us, all of us
Seek after knowledge
and love of others - everyone
Think as one
Act as one
All of us, all of us

All of us singing together, even the streeties standing outside joined in. And not a tear in the house for Argentina who wouldn't have wanted us to cry for them, as they did their country proud against a hangi hot team of AllBlacks.

broblack@xtra.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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