I write this having just returned from our local Anzac Day dawn service.

It is one of the events that makes me proud to be both a member of this wonderful East Coast community we call Uawa/Tolaga Bay and also a citizen of this paradise we call Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

When I grew up in Central Hawke's Bay this annual commemoration of our part in the world's major conflicts was a revered day on the nation's calendar.

Since that time we went through a period when the attendance levels dropped away dramatically and it was feared this special day of remembrance might disappear altogether due to lack of interest.


No worries. For some reason, the younger generations have embraced this part of our birth right and each year supported it in growing numbers. So much so that here on our own patch almost half the town's population turned out on a cold, wet morning.

This year our guest speaker was one of the Defence Force senior officers who just happened to be a local and perhaps more surprisingly, also happened to be a woman.

Brigadier Lisa Ferris is evidence of a changing world even in the military. Needless to say, based on her generous contribution to our service, we can understand why she is able to compete for promotion in a field traditionally dominated by men.

It is also evidence that our society has matured enough to recognise people on merit in all walks of life irrespective of age, sex, religion or ethnicity.

But is it enough?

This apparent coming of age should allow us as a nation to turn our attention to more pressing problems that are restricting growth in all aspects of community life.

We could start by concentrating more on what we should be doing in the best interests of the majority of our citizens than by going out of our way to oblige the ideological persuasion of an influential few.

For example, we seem to spend far too much time debating the morality of sexual persuasion or the misguided opinions of some sections of the community who want to control the way we enter or exit this life irrespective of the fact that most of us usually have no choice in the matter and probably that is the way it should be.


We are our brother's keeper and having accepted that responsibility to our fellow human beings wherever they live, we should all just get on with honouring the memory of our forebears who l'm sure would have wanted us to make choices that were constructive and based on common sense.

Being unnecessarily selective in the ideological pathways we choose isn't one of them.

A classic example of this incredible bigotry is the Green Party's refusal to allow a discussion that might lead to implementation of a groundbreaking development involving GM ryegrass.

It has been established that this plant species has the ability to significantly reduce the methane gas emissions of our national cattle herd.

The implications of this scientific breakthrough in New Zealand's fight to reduce our overall emissions with minimal disruption to our current economy are enormous.

Yet we are being asked to indulge the fantasies of one sector of the government while they hold the country to ransom.

I can't imagine any of those who paid the supreme sacrifice regarding this act of vandalism being an appropriate way of honouring their memory. Nor should we.

Sometimes l wonder if we have learned anything at all.

*Clive Bibby is a fourth-generation member of a CHB farming family who has been living in Tolaga Bay for the past 40 years. He is a social commentator, community worker and heritage consultant