In a world filled with silly fads and viral dances, it’s cool to see something finally take off that isn’t smacking your phone camera with a bottle and saying lesgoooo (y’all know who you are). That one thing I’m talking about e hoa mā is diversity. And at the moment, it’s as relevant as ever with the number of elections going on, both locally and nationally.
Gone are the days where anyone has to be solely represented by middle-aged white men, and that’s a good thing. I’m not hating on them so don’t @ me if you happen to feel attacked. But let’s say you’re making a fruit salad, but you only have apples. It’s fine, gets the job done. But it’s bland and starts getting boring very fast. Then you realise, oh shit, I can add oranges, watermelon, pineapple etc and suddenly you’ve got a dish that has way more flavour and texture (think I’m lowkey hungry as I write this but you get my point).
As one part of a trio of Māori that were voted into the top 3 leadership positions for the WSU this year, I’ve felt lucky. Lucky that more Māori are standing for more leadership positions, but also lucky because it’s usually such a rare thing. And if that’s the case, then I’m actually not sure if lucky is the best word because with more diversity, it would just be…normal.
Now, having a strong Māori voice is great, but diversity only truly works when everyone is represented. If we look at our own student body, we are a community that excels and thrives in this melting pot that is Waikato. People want to see a face making decisions on their behalf that actually looks relatable. And I felt like a proud uncle seeing each WSU candidate stand up to speak and seeing diversity out in full force. If more organisations showed diversity, who knows; we probably wouldn’t have had to wait ‘til 2019 to hear that NZ history will finally be taught in schools. Most of us knew, that’s who.
You may have even noticed there’s a major lack of diversity in our local city councils, especially with age. I’m sure you’ve all heard the classic line “those young people are always causing trouble”, usually said by someone who texts with their index finger. But those people are wrong. Rangatahi are coming in hot and ready to prove that we’re tired of being treated like kids and we actually might know our shit!
If you’ve made it this far in my rant about diversity, times are changing! And if you look at those representing you and you can only see a bunch of bruised apples, then maybe it’s time you become an orange and change things up.