They say when the pōhutukawa blossoms early the kina will be fat — and the kai moana plentiful.
Right now, writing this and looking out across the harbour from where we live up on Hamaruru Hill, there is a kōrowai of crimson ever-present everywhere.
This morning the same can be said about our majestic maunga Mauao when we walked around it. It was as if Mother Nature had put on her finest rich-red frock, and a better sight you will struggle to see anywhere in Aotearoa.
Our kōrero as we walked and talked around Mauao was what most other Kiwis would have been talking about that day, and that was what took place on Tuesday when protest marches were held to say “taiho!” to the incoming government.
When you understand what the anxiety levels are out in the community — as we do who have been working on the front line for the past few years since, as they say, the bat and the cat bumped into each other in a Wuhan wet market, you get a sense of what could be coming next.
Some would say we have had, and are having, the perfect storm of pandemic-fuelled anxiety with a Covid pandemic, P pandemic (Tauranga is chewing through a kilo of meth a week), poverty pandemic (again take a look through our lenses and see what poverty really looks like for hundreds of families in our own back yard) and now protests.
Throw in a couple of cyclones and crap weather for the last two Christmases and what you have is a powder keg of pandemics that could go boom.
Election night on October 14 for us was surreal but scary once the results started rolling in like a long white cloud over Aotearoa. We were basking in the beauty of Paris; World Cup fever was in full flight and protests by pro-Palestinians were starting to flood the streets.
I knew then what would be coming back in Aotearoa when we got home, once the promises pledged by the three winning parties were brought to fruition.
And now here we are, only a few weeks into the new government and the flags of freedom are flying and the banners of discontent are growing faster than any movement prior. If the Springboks or the Foreshore and Seabed are a benchmark, then what I believe we will see here in the coming weeks and months will make them look a boy scout doing semaphore in comparison.
Sadly, we could collapse into a chaos not seen in this country before.
So, if that’s the problem then what is the solution?
For my two bobs worth of worry warts, it will be Captain Chris who will have to fly the country’s party plane through the turbulence ahead.
And he will need the control tower of the 72 iwi to guide him with both kings Tuheitia and Teheuheu as co-pilots.
I have never been a fan of the word boss; it reeks of slavery and there are more than enough bossy people on the planet. We need leaders who can connect to the people and guide them through with hope for a better tomorrow.
All aboard Air Aotearoa, strap yourself in and prepare for three years of unsettled political weather.
“What can I do,” you may well ask? It’s what you don’t do that will matter most and that is te taniwha ki roto te whare or the elephant in the room. Apathy is the elephant and hope is the ying to apathy’s yang.
How do we harness hope? Great question. What I do know is when you get to celebrate the broken being put back together again — as we see on the front line, it gives you great hope for a better tomorrow.
Haere mai hope, cover our country in a kōrowai of kindness, each one of us one feather in a cloak of 5 million.
Hope can be like a pōhutukawa in its crimson glory — sending us hope for a better tomorrow and a puku full of kai moana for Christmas.
Tommy Wilson (Ngāti Ranginui/Ngāiterangi) is a recently retired executive director for Te Tuinga, columnist and bestselling author.