Change is the one thing we can be sure of and when change does not go our way we can be shocked and downheartened. The ancient Stoics taught that it is not what happens to us that matters so much as how we respond to  life’s adversity and challenges.

So much happens that is beyond our control and we have every reason to be sad or angry at the amount of injustice, violence and inequality in our world.

But let’s not be overwhelmed because it does no good to ourselves or those we care about. It’s more useful to focus on what we do have control over. We can control how we respond to adversity or things that don’t go our way.

Managing our inner self and reactions is the way we can best help others. I have sometimes got this the wrong way round and have been unhelpful despite my intentions. We don’t know what’s next and yet by holding true to our values and not holding back from being our best selves, we can demonstrate the peace and positive direction that others may have lost sight of.

Along with my colleagues – trustees and staff – at Arts Access Aotearoa, I mourn the loss of our Kaumātua, Bill Kaua, who died on Saturday 9 December. Supported by his beloved wife, Doris, and whānau, Bill lived well through a long illness, lived a long life and left behind a huge family.

In 2018, Bill’s services to Māori, Education and the State were recognised when he deservedly became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He was also a beloved minister in his faith community.

Somehow, he squeezed in being the kaumātua and cultural mentor to Arts Access Aotearoa. Bill Kaua was his best self for us and demonstrated the living power and wisdom of te ao Māori. We changed because of him and although I am sad, I feel deeply grateful and empowered.

Read Arts Access Aotearoa's tribute to our Kaumātua, The Venerable Wiremu Kaua ONZM, JP (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu).

Responding to change


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