New Zealand is a dynamic nation, one that has grown from humble beginnings to where we are today, a country with a brave new vision for the future. This could not have been possible without a strong foundation, a foundation called community, one that is held up by the diverse pillars of leadership, industry, gender, sexuality, age, religion and ethnicity.
These pillars have come under attack again and again and again in the young history of our nation, and yet we continue to stand firm in the communities we are part of. Finding unity in the the world today is a beautiful thing, one that should be nurtured and cherished, one that is crucial in ensuring that our people thrive. Tonight, this will be our goal.
When I turn on the news, more often that not, much of what we see is death and destruction, heated arguments, and very limited progress. But if we look past that, if we can critically evaluate the differing opinions, I see a glimpse of a bold new world. One where a difference of opinion is welcomed, one where we can debate issues that matter, one where we can accept that while we may not be right, we certainly aren’t wrong either. A world that is not black a white. In the words of Jimmy Carter, we can be different people, we can hold different beliefs, we can all have different hopes and different dreams. Within all of us, we hold the key to what our society can become. We are not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic, swirled together in what this bold new world could be.
And at the center of this bold new world is finding unity in diversity. Unity and diversity. Two words that completely contradict one another in a literal sense. So how can both of these ideas co-exist? How can we find that balance? How do we make sense of this proverbial yin and yang?
As I was pondering this, I consulted the ancients, the minds of great men, the men who first helped bleed colour into the global mosaic that we have found ourselves part of. I stumbled upon Aristotle, and he once said this;
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
And in my experience with Millennials, I have found this to be one of our greatest traits. This is a powerful idea. One that helps to shape Seed Waikato's definition of diversity.
If we approached every interaction with an educated mind, I believe that we would see a very different mosaic on the news. Sure, there may still be death and destruction, I don’t think that will change over night, but the way we approach our conversations with people who have a differing opinion would look different. Instead of heated arguments and limited progress, we would see spirited conversations, ones that are centered around one fundamental truth; that we are unified in our quest to make this world a better one.
I know that this a big call, one that may not account for the outliers; the far left and the far right. In a world that is becoming more and more radicalised in our beliefs, it is important, now more than ever that we find unity in our diversity. History teaches us that when a nation of people are fighting one another, it creates a vacuum of power, one that can be filled with radicalised ideas. History also teaches us, that when a nation comes together in a unified course, progress is not only achieved, but taken boldly. I speak of the Black Civil Rights movement in America, I speak of the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand -- one that gained woman the right to vote, I speak of Gandhi's peaceful protest in India against the British. And I speak of what we are doing right here, in Aotearoa.
We are a group of youngish people. When I look at Seed Waikato, I see so much diversity. I see female and male, I see entrepreneurs and artists, I see teachers and tradies, I see people who are so very diverse in their backgrounds, in their beliefs, and in their hopes and dreams. And yet, here we sit. Together. Unified in common goal. A community that is striving to create a more vibrant Waikato.
This movement may be small, but isn’t that how all good movements start. They start small, a quiet rumble in a loud world where we are all trying to find our place. We are apart of a global mosaic, one where diversity is our strength and an educated mind is our greatest weapon. One where finding unity in diversity will give birth to the bold new world we all seek.
It is our belief at Seed Waikato that dreaming and doing together is what makes our community vibrant. I encourage you to be brave. To dream loudly and brightly. The point is not to put a spotlight on your dream, it is to show that we are not alone in our journey, that we are apart of a global mosaic. That we are unified in our diversity.
Kendyl is Seed Waikato's Head of Learning and Development.