"On one hand, a disappointment on the lack of interest, the lack of push, the lack of future from the diplomats and representatives. But on the other, rejuvenation through the depth of heart, the strength of fire, the power of purpose from the scientists and those personally attached to the ocean."
Elie Wiesel famously said, "To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice". While a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau is difficult and emotionally exhausting, its also a must-do, if only to confirm our commitment never to forget what happened there.
This poem is primarily inspired by my friend’s love of ngā wai. However, as children of the Pacific we know that ‘love’ can never encompass the breadth of connection to our taiao. While witnessing the World Heritage Committee attempting to grapple with the crises affecting alongside celebrating with pure joy the addition of Taputapuātea as a World Heritage Site for the whole Pacific, this poem rings true over and over. It is a reminder that for us, nature and culture will never be split into arbitrary categories. Enjoy.
“Sorry Mr Chairperson, my plumber in Paris is calling me as I have a problem with my toilet in my apartment, and I have to take this call because it is much more important than the decision that was just adopted.”
Okay, so if yesterday I thought the UN was a dramatic soap opera, today it’s reached a whole new level. I’m currently watching four grown men in suits stand at a podium, seconds away from a punch up. It’s kind of like Courteney Place on a Saturday night. In fact the conference chair (whose role in this situation seems to be resident UN bouncer) just screamed into the microphone ‘call security, call security!!’. So, here’s a quick summary of what’s being going on over the past four days:
Sitting in on the UNESCO proceedings is a little like watching a live soap opera. To be honest it’s a real saga - yelling, debating and an incredible amount of schmoozing. There’s love, hate and relationship breakups - you should have seen the glares between the Philippines and the United Kingdom on Tuesday afternoon. So, with this in mind, here are the top 5 things I’ve learnt so far.
This week our UN Ocean Conference Head Delegate Emily was interviewed by the University of Auckland, where she is studying toward her PhD! Read their article here to find out the five actions she believes New Zealand must take now to protect our oceans.
I care about making it clear once and for all that the protection of heritage sites is so incredibly important and taking that away is stripping away our connections with the land. It is trying to erase traces of a civilisation and a people by way of erasing their history. There needs to be a bigger movement, a bigger push to educate the world on the importance of protecting heritage.
Ever since hearing the brilliant speakers at our training weekend talk about different aspects of the politics of cultural heritage and public history, I’ve been thinking about the questions they raised. And if I’m honest, a lot of that thought has been devoted to puzzling over how to tackle this blog post.
I wanted to pick on one recurring theme during the ocean conference that is Ocean Literacy, a term I hadn’t heard prior but simply defined as ‘an understanding of the ocean's influence on you—and your influence on the ocean. There are literally hundreds of organisations working on providing easy to reach and appropriate platforms for marine education, raising awareness to create change.