With everything that's been going on this week and with the year in general, it's quite a challenge to know what to write about in the column this week.
Throughout the year it's been impressive to see how much everyone in Hawke's Bay looks after each other.
This week has been no exception - with people taking the displaced into their homes, opening up higher ground to park cars, and providing food, clothing and other support to those who need it. This is a community that can hold its head high.
It's fitting that today marks the beginning of Diwali – a festival that symbolises triumph over evil and light driving out darkness. The word Diwali literally means "row of lights" in the ancient classical language of India; Sanskrit and is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity.
At MTG Hawke's Bay, the Children's Holocaust Memorial display also reminds us of the importance of doing the right thing and standing up against evil.
This poignant display highlights the tragic loss of many young lives by focusing specifically on children murdered during the Holocaust. A total of 1.5 million buttons are on display, representing the 1.5 million children who died during the war.
This week, Thursday, November 19 at 6.30pm, we will be showing the film A Courageous Heart (suitable for ages 13 and older). Featuring New Zealand's very own Anna Paquin, this movie relates the true story of Irena Sendler who is credited with saving many Jewish children.
Part of the Polish underground, Sendler smuggled children out of the Warsaw ghetto and, in doing so, saved nearly 2500 young lives. Following the film screening, CEO of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, Chris Harris, will lead a questions and answers session and welcome any questions you may have.
Having heard Chris speak before, I can highly recommend him as an approachable, articulate, engaging and knowledgeable speaker.
Museums hold many objects that represent stories of courage, hope, battling for rights and striving for positive change. These stories can be big or small but all serve as reminders that knowing, understanding, remembering and learning from our past is critically important.
Also on display, from our Hawke's Bay Museum's Trust collection, is a small piece of wood.
This innocent looking object is actually piece of flagstaff which was souvenired from Kororareka (Russell) in 1844 when Hōne Heke cut the flag pole down in protest at the Crown's disregard of the key principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi).
This object represents Ngā Puhi chief Hone Heke's determined fight for the rights of his people. Like the buttons, the flagstaff fragment acts like a time traveller reminding us of the importance of standing up for positive change.
With all that the community has faced this year, a celebration of light and goodness is a welcome positive message.
Wishing you a Diwali that brings happiness, prosperity and joy to you and all your family. Stay well, stay safe and keep looking after each other.
Laura Vodanovichis MTG Director
Film, A Courageous Heart, based on the true story of Irena Sendler who saved children from the Warsaw Ghetto, followed by a Q&A session with Chris Harris, CEO of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. Suitable for people 13 years and over. MTG Century Theatre, Thursday, November 19, 6.30pm. Free event.