Tui Motu | December 2017

Every Child is Precious – He Taonga te MokopunaAnn Gilroy — Dec 1, 2017

Jacinda Ardern is the only contemporary world leader who has taken the elimination of child poverty in the country as a personal responsibility. It is a bold and courageous undertaking. It highlights a new ordering of priorities and a new pro-life emphasis in our country.

Yet it is a goal she cannot achieve alone. Fortunately there are already organisations with practice and research to advise her on how to proceed with this transformation, such as the Child Poverty Action Group. And there are enterprises on the ground working to relieve poverty and its flow-on effects through food, shelter and health initiatives, education, mentoring, spirituality and family support endeavours. We will need their concerted effort.

Child poverty is a new evil in Aotearoa, one allowed to grow because of the low value children in “underachieving” families have in a monetary-focused political hierarchy. They’re the “collateral damage” of an ideology of personal success.

Christianity cannot tolerate the impoverishment of children. Matthew warns about putting a stumbling block before children (Mt 18:6-7) and today we might consider poverty as such a block. The scripture readings through Advent and Christmas encourage us to refocus on God among us. They culminate in the nativity stories in which the inhospitality, poverty and danger surrounding Jesus’ birth are overcome by the Spirit-prompted efforts of his parents and the local community — the shepherds — and the wider community — the magi and Egypt as a refuge.

The Christmas season can motivate us to join the new stand against the acceptance of hopeless poverty in our country. It gives us a new edge in working for the common good. It challenges us to love our neighbour in our attitudes, societal structures and the funneling of resources. It will require little groups and big government departments to work together without losing focus. It is our moment to act — we must keep our courage.

This 222nd issue explores in a range of articles, reflections and art how every child is precious. We thank all who have contributed through writing, art and craft.

We farewell with gratitude three of our regular columnists — Jim Elliston, Louise Carr-Neil and Elaine Wainwright. Louise and Elaine will continue to be occasional contributors.

And we are doing our annual promotion encouraging you to give a Tui Motu subscription to family or friends as a Christmas gift this year. Thank you for participating!

As is our custom our last word is of blessing — a blessed Christmas to you all!

Tui Motu Magazine. Issue 222, December 2017:2.