When we planned our trip to New Zealand to cover “The Polo” (you’ll have to read the cover story to understand if you’re not from New Zealand), we could have never guessed that our eight days of polo, parties, and glam would be followed up with a ghastly massacre a few weeks later in Christchurch.
It’s nearly impossible to know what to say to someone when a tragedy like that strikes. "Kia Ora," the traditional Maori greeting, literally means to "have life."
To the executive director of "The Polo" in New Zealand, I simply sent a message that said, “Unfathomable what happened in Christchurch. Look for love and light in dark times. Hugs.”
What happened next had nothing to do with my text, but when the people of New Zealand, led by their prime minister, showed the world what love and light looks like in dark times, I was speechless. A nation that was one in celebrating victory for Team Tiger Polo a few weeks earlier became a nation that was one with their Muslim and minority brothers and sisters.
As we honor the victims in Christchurch, we also honor the people of New Zealand, whom we had found just weeks earlier to be some of the warmest, most inviting people on the face of the earth.
This issue is all about New Zealand – from "The Polo" to the partners to the ends of the island where we found the most delightful cities and wine country. This issue, therefore, honors the people of New Zealand whom we met, who we will meet someday and those we will never have the chance to meet, but who inspire us anyway. You and your country are heroes in a time of darkness.
Writing about the tragedy in New Zealand has helped me process my emotions. Staff writer and mental health advocate Joey Velez addresses this timely issue this month in his column about journaling. His ah-ha moment in Philadelphia was a result of ongoing journaling. When we don’t have all the answers, many of us turn to spirituality, and Jyoti Paintel Bowles addresses the process of discernment while Raphael Dapaah is back with another spiritual, artistic being, the talented Oliver Enwonwu.
Kia Ora, Josh