Hundreds of Welllington children in poverty

It’s a wild and blustery day in Wellington today and this morning’s Dominion Post  warned us to leave our brollies at home. Certainly great advice in these winds. Then I flicked over a few pages and came across the Genesis Energy advertisement asking us to muck in to help our neighbours in Christchurch and fly down courtesy of Genesis – a fantastic idea to assist those who were and still are devastated by the earthquake.

As I looked out into the grey day my mind also strayed to all those children at home on this first cold day of their school holidays. Then I began reflecting on the many children in poverty here in Wellington. So many young people that I work with have no idea what a brolly is and have never been on a plane to anywhere. Their families have large overdue Genesis power bills, live in cold houses and probably won’t have as many slices of cheap bread as they used to for breakfast and lunch and tea today – even it’s gone up.

Hundreds of these families live here in the Wellington Region and live through  unnatural disasters – poverty, injustice, exclusion and alienation. They form a raw underbelly of New Zealand Society who are not seen or heard except by those who work with them.

And what the response to the natural disasters has shown us is that New Zealanders are a great people who will respond, give and support others when called upon – it’s what we do as a nation at the personal, local, national and international levels.

These are challenging economic and social times for everyone. They are the most challenging and deadly for those at the bottom of the heap – the  brolly – less poor wherever they live who are the victims of unnatural disasters.

Poverty is the single destructive tsunami. It seems so big and yet:

  • If we each examine our personal situation first – what can I do to help, prevent, ameliorate, transform the way I live?  and
  • If we examine the groups, businesses, communities we belong to- what can we do to help, prevent, ameliorate, transform the way we live?

And then we act like we have so many times before and keep on acting to change the lives of our Kiwis stuck in poverty – I am convinced that Aotearoa New Zealand can be a country where all share in the wealth that we have.

That wealth will make us all well and healthy regardless of the conditions that assail us.

Kitty McKinley


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