Christmas won't be cancelled, then?
All this talk of Christmas being cancelled because of Covid. Because of anything, you just can't cancel Christmas. Christmas and summer are here to stay.
We plan for it all year long. We share these plans with family and friends. We change our minds often enough too. The thought of Christmas; lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer sustains us throughout the whole year. And this year we are still able to travel and experience Christmas and summer like any other year.
Only it will be different. Months of Covid level restrictions have prevented us from travelling about the country. We couldn't hold and attend the family functions and other events we had planned. Sadly, this included attending funerals of loved ones. So we're primed for take-off. Watch out as New Zealanders set out to celebrate Christmas and summer like never before. With the thought of having to stay put in our homes now gone New Zealanders will be on the march for a good time.
Even last year, shortly after we went into our first lockdown the advertising commenced. Travel brochures and newspaper travel supplements and articles started appearing. Extolling the virtues of different locations around the country. Cities, towns and regions we should consider when thinking of holidays and taking a break. And once we knew there would definitely be no escape from New Zealand to holiday overseas, the travel supplements went into overdrive. They gave the opportunity for any who may have forgotten, to plan to see and experience our own country's incredible attractions. "Don't leave the country until you've seen New Zealand" was forced upon us, like it or not.
I think it made us appreciate more, the wonder and beauty of our own country.
I must have changed my own mind a dozen times. I looked longingly at different regions in the South Island. Marlborough, the West Coast, Southland too. Regions I have only visited briefly over the years and never stayed long enough to experience what they had to offer. I even contemplated a six weeks' tour of the South Island. But finally, I decided. Made up my mind that home is really where I want to be this summer. I'll be staying put.
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The one thing I realised this year (it started last year in fact) is that I don't miss travelling. Even if only within New Zealand. The last eight years have been hectic. I have had to travel extensively as the chairwoman of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency. Not just to Auckland and Wellington, but to many places around the country. Every week I was somewhere, getting up at 5am to catch the first flight. Returning home later that day hopefully, a quick turnaround and off ago later in the week.
Lockdown forced a rethink.
Zoom meetings took over and now I can sit comfortably in my home office and still undertake the necessary work without having to travel. This may change again as things slowly get back to normal. But what will that normal look like anyway? Most businesses have had to do a reset of how they undertake their work. It may not have been what they wanted to do but, "this is the way we have always done things" doesn't apply when you are looking to survive. Having put a great many changes in place I bet most businesses now wouldn't necessarily change back to the way things were done before.
This summer I'll let everyone else enjoy travelling and rediscovering New Zealand. I'll get around to it at some other time. I'll be at home welcoming family and friends, whether they stay or just call in to visit. I'll be shopping locally and visiting local cafes and attractions. But I do want Aucklanders to know we look forward to seeing them. They will be out in force and who can blame them. They, in particular, deserve those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
- Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is chairwoman of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, a Lakes District Health Board member and Rotorua District councillor.