Hone Harawira's comments in support of Israel Folau this week over Folau's anti-homosexual stance were intelligent and well thought out.

Harawira gave context to Folau's views, and identified multiple ironies.

''Fa'afafine and māhu are naturally accepted in a Pacific context, but in Australia and NZ we pass laws to accept them and then crucify anyone who disagrees,'' Harawira said.

Read more: Hone Harawira backs Israel Folau's right to speak
Hone Harawira: Pacific Christian faith to be respected


He pointed out the irony of the pride we have in our Pacific Island community, and our ignorance of their beliefs based on old-school fire-and-brimstone Christianity.

Society admires many of the attributes that Pacific Islanders exhibit, attributes nourished by their Christianity, but it "seems it's okay to believe in something as long as we don't ever say it," Harawira said.

Beliefs that have sustained Pacific Islanders during "the dawn raids, the low wages, the job dismissals, the name mangling by sports commentators".

For someone who, when it comes to racial issues, tends to fight fire with a flamethrower, it was a measured departure from the norm.

I am neither Christian nor homosexual.

I don't agree with Folau, I often don't agree with Harawira, and I can see how someone who is gay or does not identify with their gender, finds Christian views offensive.

Just as I can see how a Christian finds the idea of same sex partners repulsive.

What I liked about Harawira's comments were that they made me stop and think.


And I think that if we have evolved toward greater tolerance of people with a point of difference in society, when, I wonder, will we evolve toward a scenario that sees mutual respect for each other's views, without hate speech from either side, so we can just get on with life?

Moving on

After 10 years as the Northern Advocate editor it's time to move on.

Having left Northland before, for Rotorua, this time my family and I are pushing a little deeper into the North Island, to live in Napier in Hawke's Bay where I'll be editor of Hawke's Bay Today.

Like the Northern Advocate, it is an NZME newspaper, and it's our biggest regional paper in the group.

So it's a promotion. I'm keen for the challenge and excited about the prospect.

When we know who the new Advocate editor is, we'll let our readers know.

My family is planning on living in Napier, bar our 19-year-old daughter who is embarking on the exciting journey of going flatting for the first time.

We won't be here but a lot of support will be.

Like many people, I have researched finding a flat or even buying one, and been dismayed at the barriers in front of our young people these days.

And not just young people. Renting or buying a home is beyond the means of many families.

Our daughter is lucky to have the support of a grandfather, who in turn is lucky enough to own a flat that he has offered her. But I feel for people struggling to find accommodation. It's hard.

I'm here for another five weeks, and will be travelling back to Whangarei at weekends to reunite with the family, until we have sold our house and bought in Napier.

I'll say goodbye properly at some point. Editors and newspapers are only as good as the staff who work with them and the paper's readers, and I have been lucky in both regards.

Thank you to the people who have emailed to say something nice about me leaving.

And those of you celebrating my departure in the social media nests that trolls frequent, please make sure you spell my name correctly, it's upper case D on the Dick and same with the H on Head.