In this global plague time, it is worth pondering the folk story about how Maui pulled up new lands with his grandfather's jawbone. In fact, if you draw a picture of New Zealand, turn it upside down and add a couple of details, you will have a cartoon of him in his waka hauling up Te Ika a Maui.
Folk stories are rather like newspaper editorial cartoons; their exaggerated graphic details are shortcut ways of highlighting profound truths of our own times, although we can miss their truths by focusing on the unbelievable details instead of asking what truths they symbolise, as fundamentalists and atheists do when they take the graphic details of Hebrew folk stories literally.
This Maui jawbone story told Polynesians that when their population grew and their island's resources were exhausted, they had always been okay because a succession of grandfathers had spent years "jawboning" into the young leaders' heads all the technical information accumulated over the centuries for building large ocean-going boats and navigating them hundreds of kilometres to "pull up" new islands from over the horizon.
The elders of our Western civilisation have also jawboned their accumulated centuries of technical knowledge into our own generation's heads: agriculture, metallurgy, medicine, engines, aeroplanes, electronics. Every time our consumer society grew and our land's resources were consumed, we have been okay because we could always turn more forests into farmland, factories, family homes, and rubbish dumps.
However, there is another Maui folk story we should take notice of in these rapidly changing times: Maui hatched a cunning plan to escape death, by climbing back inside a sleeping Hine-nui-te-pō and exiting from her mouth. But it was so ridiculous an activity that a little fantail laughed "Twit-twit-twit", the goddess awoke and Maui died.
Right now our leaders are hatching cunning plans to prevent the death of us oldies, the death of cheap mass travel, the death of our international tourist trade, the death of our worldwide consumer society ... there's been an extraordinary numbers of fantails around recently, eh? "Twit-twit."
Twelve days ago I sent the Chronicle an email regarding a Canadian friend's report on a doctor's visit to Quebec - upon returning home, the doctor did not self-quarantine and had contact with 50 persons of whom five have contracted the virus.
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My friend's final comment was "how is NZ coming through?". Mine was "with bated breath I will reply shortly".
Wow, didn't have to wait long for the Government and its bureaucrats to show yet again their ineptitude, and she'll be right and lack of transparency attitude.
Someone or all are telling porkies. Will there be repercussions? I await with bated breath.