Find strength in each other, we have much to be grateful for, even now

March 31 2020 by Jim Boult, Mayor of Queenstown Lakes

Find strength in each other, we have much to be grateful for, even now

Council CEO Mike Theelen described the past week as the strangest many of us would have lived through. I tend to agree and would add that it was also the longest, and most transformative of weeks as our way of life will indeed change dramatically from here on in.

Many of you will have heard the recent radio reminders advising that thankfulness equals happiness. The message is to focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t to maintain good mental health. The sentiment is extremely well timed. And while we are all nervous, uncertain and worried for the future, right now we have much to be grateful for.

Even from the isolation of my home office, a glimpse out the window reminds me of what hasn’t changed, something completely unaffected by Covid-19, our number one attraction – our outstanding and unique natural environment. Because of this, we can be assured that eventually, visitors will return, that jobs will open up again and that the pioneering and innovative spirit of those who live here, will not be broken. This is the only place in the world I’d want to be virtually imprisoned. Just a short stroll from the front door and freedom floods in with the fresh air and mass autumnal beauty on offer. The weather is still good. And we can still take a walk or go for a bike ride to clear our heads and start to feel inspired.

I’ve also been rather grateful this week for technology and all that it allows me to do from home. In particular, it has enabled the conversations with Central Government to continue. These will bring south some of the aid we desperately need. These established and trusted relationships with many Government officials are another thing I’m thankful for right now.

On Thursday I met with Minister of Immigration, the honourable Ian Lees-Galloway via Zoom to discuss assistance for our migrant workforce. We know this group are hurting acutely. Within days of going live, the QLDC Community Welfare page had almost 500 registrations for help with the essentials. With seemingly endless energy and compassion, many of our QLDC staff along with dozens of overtly generous individuals and community groups, coordinated some much needed relief for these folk. That we care for each other and share our resources in times such as these is something I am enormously grateful for.

Family. Whether they be your blood relations, your whanau of flatmates, pets or houseplants, no matter what the composition, the ones sharing your bubble, at home and online, are something very special to be thankful for. Whilst being sensitive to the fact that stress is likely to be heightened for us all right now, take the time to appreciate togetherness and the fact that you are sharing this important moment in time with these very important people. Find strength in each other’s differences and be grateful that you are part of a diverse community of caring and compassionate people.

Kia kaha Queenstown

Jim Boult, Mayor of Queenstown Lakes

- Jim Boult, Mayor of Queenstown Lakes
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