Chlöe Swarbrick: Auckland Central MP

As Peter Burling led our top-notch sailors to an historic win, an estimated 1.5 million New Zealanders tuned into the America’s Cup final on free-to-air livestream.

Thousands more crowded the Waitemata waterfront from the Viaduct along to Silo Park. Even I got an enthusiastic education on the engineering and technological prowess of superyachts from an old-school Greenpeace activist while we were out on the Hauraki.

In a world still reeling from Covid-19, in a country well attuned to our ‘team of five million’ sacrifice and successes, there’s an especially profound sense of pride in watching our people win.

These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Team New Zealand and their effortless, necessary trust in each other’s skill built on tens of thousands of hours in training, Council and coordination of its associated organisations, Government and the firing up of Ministries and Departments, news media and their extensive coverage, New Zealanders and our dogged support. Heck, even the almighty wind had to be on side.

‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’, so the saying goes. You identify what you want, work towards it, get knocked down and keep getting back up again. While opportunity is closer at hand when you’ve got the money, connections and social cache, sometimes it also literally comes down to which way the wind blows.

Just like that America’s Cup win, tackling the challenges facing our communities across Auckland Central won’t happen through mythical luck.

Which is why it’s easily one of my greatest privileges to work with people organising to end homelessness on our streets (special shout out to Bernadette Brewer for leading the charge forward on Karangahape Road), those mobilising for meaningful climate action and the folks researching, submitting and acting to protect the Hauraki Gulf – among so many other kaupapa. On just that first point alone, across these past few months, we’ve worked to tautoko Bernadette in bringing together neighbours, service providers, local businesses, government and council representatives and officials concerned with ensuring everyone has the support they need and a warm, dry, secure bed at night, plotting a pathway to achieve exactly that.

We can, and we will, win. Remember that it was unfathomable for polls and commentators to imagine a ‘third party’ candidate could win an electorate to represent our home of Auckland Central. Remember that our plucky, tiny nation at the bottom of the world invests in and hones its sporting excellence to excel against countries twice, thrice or ten times our size. Remember that so often, change takes a little imagination, a lot of coordination and a pinch of earnest naivety to take on the world. (Chlöe SWARBRICK)

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