Thirteen years ago, we came out to New Zealand from South Africa. We wanted a fresh start and a future for our two boys. In New Zealand, you can become whatever you want to be without discrimination. The so-called land of milk and honey.
A few days after arriving, my brother-in-law took us across Auckland’s harbour bridge. We saw a police officer who pulled a guy over. I wanted to stop and take a photo. It was a rear site seeing police working on the roads, not hiding in the police stations, like back in South Africa. Please don’t get me wrong. Not all South African police are bad; just the majority are corrupt.
For the first time in my life, I felt safe. My husband took it too far once and left the garage door leading into the house, the front garage door, and both the cars open one night. Needless to say, he was sacked as the minister of security in our home.
I hated watching police shows demonstrating how people disrespected the very people who were tirelessly serving and protecting us. I had so much love, trust and respect for our men and women in blue.
However, all this changed. Many will blame the lockdowns, mandates, stress, fear of illness, or whatever the reason one tell oneself for their own bad behaviour. It took one act to destroy my trust and respect for the institution supposed to protect us.
Orders were given…
But we all still have a choice. With every action one takes in your occupation, we must stand by the choice. Because our choice today will influence others around us tomorrow.
I remember that I wasn’t given a choice at my work on a few occasions. My managers wanted me to do a test on a young child that could be potentially harmful to the child. I phoned a pathologist in South Africa who agreed with me not to do the test. I questioned my manager. I even asked the New Zealand Nursing council what I could do to prevent this. They told me that I had a choice. I didn’t need to go through with it. My manager wasn’t happy. It was madness that my work still wanted to force me to go through with it. It took one, yes, only one of our pathologists to stand up with me. It was a hard time for me back then. I had no support from my colleagues. I wasn’t sleeping. And I was in constant fear of losing my job. The truth of the matter is that nobody can force you to do anything against your will. If you go along with it, you are just as guilty as the person forcing you.
Another time we had a patient collapse on us. I wanted the man to go to the hospital. The team manager and others wanted him out of the centre to focus on the other patients. I was placed under great pressure. Letting him go was the easier way out of my situation. My conscience convicted me of doing the right thing. I insisted and convinced the patient to go to the hospital. A few days later a woman came and brought us beautiful flowers, chocolates, and a card. ‘Thank you for saving my son’s life. If you sent him home, he might have died,’ it read.
Today we find our right to make our own choices violated. Our rights are being taken away by the institution meant to protect them. According to The [our] Human Rights Act (1993), nobody can discriminate against you because of your sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status or sexual orientation.
On their own website, they proclaim that “it’s unlawful to discriminate someone on these grounds in the following areas of public life:
*access to public places
*provision of goods and services
*housing and accommodation (The Human Rights Act, 1993)
The police of all people should know all this information. Yet, they do nothing to help prevent the massive Human Rights violation from occurring. Instead, they become the very perpetrators.
Also, the Interislander ferry, which is state-owned, is violating the rights of New Zealand Citizens to cross between the two Islands. By refusing their services, paid, and sustained by the taxpayer of New Zealand. What has happened to kindness, humanity, generosity, and courteousness? Or was it just a thin veneer being chaffed of in the face of adversity?
To the people protesting all around the country, you are the heroes! You stand up for those who don’t know, don’t understand, and are vulnerable. It is hard. I do understand. But one day, we will all look back and say, “I was part of that because I believe in a better New Zealand.”
I will end this piece with: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, KJV).
Bible. Romans 8:31. n.d. King James Version.
Ministry of Justice. The Human Rights Act. 11 March 2020. Website. 12 February 2022.
Thank you to my cousin Linda Willows, a wonderful freedoms fighter. Fight the good fight. Victory belongs to the people of faith. Love you all.