It's 2024 and we all seem to be wondering, well, what's next? What is life after Gabrielle? I know I most certainly am.
Cue, Tairawhiti Tomorrow Together Summit.

Last week, Senior Cabinet Ministers, officials, and regional leaders came together with that question in mind, 'what are we doing next?' I'm not sure we answered it, and I'm also not sure we had everybody who needed to be there represented but it's a start. You know what they say, better to get started where you are than not start at all.

Tairawhiti Tomorrow Together Summit 2024

I've seen projects never get past the planning phase, too many people around the table scared to make the next move. I don't want to be part of a Council that doesn't act, and thankfully I'm not.

Since I've been elected I have seen this Council stand, fall, be whooped side ways, bounce back and get back up on the horse. We have no choice, we must. The point is learning from the mistakes.

It's important for me to be honest and not loose myself in this process so I will also acknowledge that both Ngati Porou and Te Aitanga a Mahaki were not present at the summit. This again I think is a learning for us all, though the question here is 'what does genuine partnership look like?"

We have more to gain by working together, but until we get the right here at home, we cannot hope to influence or demand change elsewhere. We must all be dedicated and steadfast in this pursuit.

Whilst I did not feel any profound answer at the Summit itself, I did see, speak to and listen to some of the most brilliant and influential minds in Te Tairawhiti. We're all working on it.

But in the meantime, if you are reading this and thinking 'I've got an idea', 'I have issues nobody is talking about', please, I implore you, reach out. Your voice is important, your thoughts are important, your situation deserves to be heard.

You have 13 councilors, reach out to the one who resonates with you the most, heck, reach out to us all.

We cannot help what we cannot see. I can not understand what I've never been told. So tell me.

. . . by Rawinia Parata - GDC Councillor