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Youre either an armchair expert or an armchair critic - lets get on with the job

Idiocracy - the movie that shone a light on a whole new level of stupid

Talk to anyone - everyone has a plan on how to beat COVID19 and for us to all go back to the times before. Since this pandemic began suddenly, we have become experts in a multitude of fields. Some of us are now armchair experts in epidemiology, others are economists and others still are health professionals. We have experts in the field of education, inequality, science, and technology – if its one thing we are not light on – its having experts. And with each armchair expert we have the armchair critics – those who don’t agree with anything anyone else is saying, often don’t really have many ideas but just want to spend time and criticize everyone else. And then there are the actual experts – to be honest we have experts for Africa who know this stuff, ply their trade in this stuff, know what needs to be done and just want to get on with it.

There are of course the politicians – the group of people who think they too have all the answers. Those in Government, those in the Opposition parties and even those in Local Government – each one of them different, each with plans for Africa themselves all plying for time in the media to get that message across to us all that their ideas are better than the other lot.

Then there is the third group. Those who are all good with vaccinations and just want to get through this and then there are those who do not. You have those who question the morality and the science (or medicine) behind the vaccines and those who make the point that its all about my right to choose and they choose to not be vaccinated. You have those who scream freedom and those who say its colonisation all over again. They get out the streets to protest their rights are somehow being impeded upon. They share posts on social media decrying the actual experts with others who, lets face it, are youtubers and so-called influencers. In fairness many of them are not idiots – they should know better because some of them are highly educated people.

Its like everyone over the course of the last 18 months drank from the fountain of stupid and this whole pandemic, and this is what it is a pandemic – has now descended into a form of ideocracy. And I do not mean the actual definition of Ideocracy I mean the movie where a bloke gets put into some sort of hibernation only to wake up in a world of stupid.

So, lets again deal in some facts:

Right now, 242,220,245 people have contracted COVID19 and those numbers continue to rise. 4,926,362 men, women and children have died of COVID19. That is nearly 5 million people around the world and people are going to keep on dying. The only reason that more people haven’t died in Aotearoa, New Zealand, is that death has not visited our door like it has in other countries and there is a reason for that – because whether you agree with the Government or not – we have dodged a bullet. We have dodged a howitzer gun.

Does that mean we have got everything right? Absolutely not – of course we haven’t. We haven’t cracked the but of what to do with MIQ and we could have embarked on a Maori Strategy month and months ago. We could have done this that or the next thing but here we are – like I said at the very beginning everyone had had plans for Africa since day one but could have and should have been not going to win this fight right now.

The only way we are going to win this fight is through kotahitanga. Kotahitanga is a Maori word that means unity, and Kotahitanga movements aim to unify Māori on non-tribal grounds. Its time that practice became mainstream. Its time all those experts with their big degrees and qualifications, all those politicians and academics, policy makers and business leaders got in under the same tent (and yeah I get its COVID so maybe ZOOM) and pulled themselves together with a single and unified plan.

Because quite frankly, I am all experted out. I am tired of the first thing I think about when I wake up on the morning is COVID19, turn on the TV or the radio its COVID19, look at Facebook its COVID19 – throughout the day all I hear is COVID19 and then when its time to go to bed all I can think of is “god I hope no one I know gets COVID19.

We need that plan for now, but we also need to start turning our attention to the plan we will need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with living life once more.

Oh – and by the way, we can get ourselves together to knock up drugs to beat a coronavirus – why can’t we do that for cancer again? For diabetes, for heart disease, for asthma? Sheesh, imagine what we can achieve as a human race by working together. It beggars’ belief.

Matthew Tukaki is Chairman of the National Maori Authority


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