We made it

Published on 21 December 2020


We’ve made it! I feel like personally congratulating everyone in our District. We’ve made it through a year like no other: through fire, flooding, drought and pandemic, through social and economic lockdown and the impacts they had on our local economy and our mental health.

Reflecting on the events of the past 12 months, I am astonished at how far we’ve come, and how well we’ve managed to survive the past year. I won’t say we’ve recovered, because for many of us, the effects of 2020 will be felt for a long time to come. What I will say, is that the resilience of our community and the human empathy I saw during lockdown, has left me even more in awe of our people than ever before.

Every year, I love having this opportunity to thank the volunteers of our District, people who selflessly give of their time and energy to make our community a better place. Our marae volunteers, Lions and Rotary Clubs, charity and not-for-profit organisations, community groups and those individuals who simply choose to help where help is needed. You are the lifeblood of our District, the heart of our communities.

I’d also like to make special mention of those people who stepped forward to play an integral part during our District’s lockdown. Neighbours looking out for neighbours, frontline health workers, first responders, our infrastructure and water teams, Council staff, recycling and waste teams, tradies, bus and taxi drivers, supermarket, dairy and pharmacy staff, couriers and posties and all those who continued in their business-as-usual roles even when it was far from ‘as-usual’. Your sacrifices and selflessness allowed the at-risk, vulnerable members of our community to stay home, and stay safe.

We reacted hard and fast to COVID-19, and now we are enjoying the rewards of those early hardships. While we can’t afford to become too complacent, we can still relish the freedoms that are longed for in other countries. We can gather with friends and family for Christmas, relax in our parks, beaches and city centres, and travel freely throughout our country. Things that only a year ago we would have taken for granted, have now become a recognised luxury. I say well done to you all – you deserve it.

We still need to be vigilant however, especially over the summer season. I hope to see you out and about at our Endless Summer Festival events, just remember we all have a part to play in keeping Northland COVID-19-free, so please: track your movements, stay away from others if you become ill, and get tested if you think you or your loved ones are showing symptoms. Our other health and safety messages remain the same as every other year: be careful on our roads, use water sensibly, stay fire-wise and protect yourself from our strong Northland sun!

Meri kirihimete to you all, nga mihi nui

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