Kia ora, hello everyone. Happy belated Mother's Day to all our mums out there. It's with pleasure that I return to take up this column again.
I am now proud mum to two young boys. They are the light of my life and the reason behind all that I do. This is true not only for my children, but also for the children of others.
I work in the public realm. I am a councillor or board member of the Hastings District Council and EIT. I am also a board member of the Hawke's Bay District Health Board.
I see things.
I see things in my constituency work. I see things in my board work. I see things on TV. Many of these things are hard to see.
I see children walking to school in bare feet, in the cold, whilst my children have myriad options for shoes and an array of socks the colours of the rainbow.
I see statistics of how six out of 10 children born in our Hawke's Bay Hospital are born into high-level deprivation.
I see news accounts of yet another child harmed in our atrocious nationwide child abuse statistics, a situation that any country should be ashamed of, yet seemingly our system isn't doing a lot about.
I also see the meth problem and the mental health problem in our communities threatening epidemic proportions if we do nothing about them.
I see NZ talking about building a Maori prison, when really we should be talking about how to stop Maori going to prison in the first place.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the negative state of some of these affairs and what goes on in our society and community.
I know I have from time to time.
At times I've felt like throwing my hands up in surrender to the frustration of it all. I mean what's the point of trying to empty the ocean of humanity's problems with merely my proverbial teacup?
It's at these times of reflection upon humanity, however, and all its issues within, that I've also noticed something else about the state of human nature and its affairs.
That being that each and every one of these challenges also gives each and every one of us the opportunity, individually and collectively, to rise to its occasion.
Darkness must recede when light shows up.
We have a plethora of examples of initiatives and people in our community that are shining lights.
We have EIT with almost half its student population being Maori and under the age of 25 and achieving successfully. We have a Napier city looking vibrant with its attractive murals and seaside living. We have the somewhat more industrial Hastings city with its productive soils and manufacturing heart.
Of course we also have Wairoa, CHB and our coastal and rural communities with their respective unique charm.
It's this positive state of affairs that gives me hope, courage and confidence to keep fighting the good fight of faith going forward, as I hope it does likewise for you.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that significant change is in the air and to come worldwide with the likes of Trump entering the political scene. I sense also potentially significant change for Hawke's Bay going into the future also.
I believe in the future we will be required to work together better, as a region and as a people. We will need to find a way to better assimilate our interests to the betterment of us all.
We will need to keep seeing the light, to keep pressing forward and to keep pursuing the good fight of faith, for all our children, for our environment, for this generation and those to come.
Jacoby Poulain is a Hastings district councillor and a board member of the Hawke's Bay District Health Board and EIT.
Linda Hall's Middle New Zealand column has moved to Wednesday.