Last night over 400 adults and 300 children turned up in torrential rain and storms to celebrate Matariki (the Maori New Year). They came to enjoy performances by the school children and eats lots of fabulous food.
They also came to shift their reality and grow a new world.
As inhabitants of an area rife with poverty, violence and substance abuse, it has been easy for people to believe they are bottom of the social pile.
Well meaning experts (and the appalling NZ media) have fed this belief with piles of statistics and stacks of in-depth reports and articles. Label after label has been stuck on the consciousness of the inhabitants including: The Hood, Crime Block, Gang Haven, Tinnie House and P-lab ghetto.
The agenda of last nights event, was to do something different. The people of our community have been provided with a distorted mirror that only reflects pain, fear and suffering. It is the stuff of nasty fairy tales.
Using exercises, peformances, visuals, and good old fashioned fun and games everyone was encouraged to celebrate what is good, positive and functional, and in between lightening bolts and hangi smoke the foundations of a new mirror was built.