Think carefully when other people's lives are at stake.
The Whanganui Science Forum organised an excellent talk from our Medical Officer of Health, Dr Patrick O'Connor, that got much less publicity than the actions of a few self-appointed experts - anti-vaxxers - spreading misinformation outside a secondary school.
We understand how news works and the Chronicle's reporting was responsible, but this really is a matter of lives that could be saved or lost.
People need to choose who to listen to when making decisions about vaccination.
Against the science and medical experts all over the world saying there is a serious pandemic, we have a diminishing group of conspiracy theorists peddling their stories.
Scientists and doctors are overwhelmingly clear that vaccines are by far the most effective tool to save lives and suffering.
Anti-vaxxers think they know more than the WHO, CDC and virtually every country's medical authority.
Parts of the United States more influenced by anti-vaxxers have recently been suffering greater death rates than highly vaccinated states.
One could call it an "unfortunate experiment", but the results are so clear that attitudes are changing quickly.
No one is questioning the freedom to choose here, but we want Whanganui citizens to ask themselves who they believe.
It is hard to imagine the Delta variant not getting out in the community at some stage, and we know it is the community level of vaccine protection that will decide whether we will have our freedom curtailed by long lockdowns.
There is a huge volume of data from hundreds of millions of carefully monitored doses given around the world showing side-effects are rare and mostly minor.
You are personally much safer vaccinated.
Now you can help protect your whānau and friends by keeping up that team spirit that inspired the world in 2020.
WHANGANUI SCIENCE FORUM
Unteach Racism not a divisive act
The Teaching Council Aotearoa New Zealand is not a perfect collection of people, nor is it the strongest anti-racism institute in this country.
Having the courage to launch Unteach Racism surely makes it one of the most bold.
Contrary to a recent letter to the editor on this issue, this brave initiative seeks to root out personal and structural racism as a huge learning obstacle for learners and teachers.
The council states, "Addressing racism is a journey the entire country is on, but in schools, kura and early childhood education centres, bias and prejudice will either be confirmed, or it will be challenged, by you."
As a pastor of a Baptist church and a teacher working in a secondary school, I see the wisdom the council is providing.
The process wisely begins with the biggest influencers, us adults.
The council goes on to say, "This initiative is for teachers and education leaders - it's optional and not intended to be taught to your learners."
Hardly the push for separatism opinionated by the recent writer.
"We don't need this," writes Mr Calvyn Jonker.
Who is the "we" that he represents?
I agree with his observation that this country is in danger of being split up by disunity.
Mr Jonker may well know from history that this country was literally split up by colonisation and assimilation.
Those realities encourage and mobilise racism. In this context, racism, separatism, and division have already been foisted upon "us".
I see the Teaching Council Aotearoa New Zealand doing their very best to repair the initial harms caused and instead committing to unteaching racism; surely this is a better stability for our country to depend on.