Tommy Kapai: Some sound advice from TED-X

By Tommy Kapai

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Calista performed at Ted-x Tauranga
Calista performed at Ted-x Tauranga

It has been hard to make sense of the world in light of what has happened this last week. It's a little too wacky, weird, sad and scary so I have done what Talking Heads suggested in their song Stop Making Sense, and that is to go out and find a little or a whole lot of love in the beautiful minds and beautiful music of likeminded souls.

I found them at a TED-X conference held here in Tauranga on Saturday night.

TED-X is more or less an open mic filmed live, which allows people with a passion for bringing about positive change to a planet that has separated itself from the natural world, to share their solutions. Each speaker has a 15-minute window to express their ideas to an audience - in this case 500 gathered at the ASB Arena - and to a world audience of many millions who are members of TED-X.

When we try and make sense of what is happening on the ground in Gaza or what happened up in the air over Ukraine, there are common factors as there are for many of the problems of this planet.

Land and religion usually play a role followed closely by money and power and if these are the precursers to the problem then the solutions were ever present on the stage of TED-X on Saturday.

Or as Calista, one of the amazing musicians who played during the 12 speakers said in her timely song;

It's not about the money, money, money

We don't need your money, money, money

We just wanna make the world dance,

Forget about the price tag

Seems like everybody's got a price,

I wonder how they sleep at night

When the sale comes first

And the truth comes second.

The common thread to the korowai of TED-X speakers was we have put profit before people and if we don't 'flip the script' soon, according to one speaker, who has started a cool kaupapa known as Gangsta Gardens - teaching kids to grow kai, we all may end up foodless. His quote of "Make sustainability sustainable" is a keeper for my book of cool quotes.

Dr Ian Mclean spoke about the need to develop coping strategies, practical ones for kids who are struggling to find where they fit in, where they belong and where is their Turangawaewae - their place to stand on this planet. In America there is a tsunami of youth suicide and in our line of work at Te Tuinga Whanau we know there is a youth quake of lost young kids here in Tauranga Moana coming our way.

They are living in cultural and social isolation like many of the clients who walk through our door looking for help.

Another spoke on how gluten is the silent killer and for us Maori sitting side by side in the audience the inconvenient truth about cheap food has a huge health invoice attached to it.

It gave us the soup bones of a rap song Dollar bread makes you dead.

The good news was a boil-up of fresh watercress and in fact any kai that was straight out of the Gangsta Gardens is "all good for a mean munch".

Ben Warren painted a sobering picture of what the pesticides and chemicals are doing to our whenua and whanau and how the 18.7 per cent increase in cancers over the last 10 years is - in his professional opinion - because of this spray and walk away mindset.

No surprises there for me.

Why we poison our whenua and our people for profit when we can grow spray-free organic kai as our ancestors did makes no sense.

If we as tangata whenua are so concerned about the copper remains buried out on the reef with Rena then let's show some equal concern about the thousands of litres of copper-based sprays and other agrichemicals we pour on our whenua and into our harbour every month.

Sheldon Nesdale, who I would vote for Mayor in a heartbeat and his team of Ted-X disciples, gave us all in the audience, cool kai for thought.

It was served up by beautiful minds and beautiful music and it came gift wrapped in a whole lot of love.

Tu meke Ted-X

- Bay of Plenty Times

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