In the run-up to the NZ election, we are profiling our Green Party candidates and sharing their messages with Kiwis around the world. Today we have a message from Bridget Walsh, our international candidate.
I’m a touring musician, based mostly between the UK, the USA and Aotearoa. I’m also the founder of a social enterprise and online community for artists and musicians (www.indhe.org) and humbled to have been selected as the International Candidate for the Green Party of Aotearoa. I’ve taken a summer off festivals and shows to focus instead on “political touring”, rallying together overseas-kiwis in cities around the world, and helping to get them ready to #votefromanywhere ❤
My Number One Goal in Government:
My main goal this year is to get as many of my incredibly talented, wise, brave and inspiring friends and colleagues into parliament as possible, by mobilising and uniting our overseas community of kiwis and empowering them to use their voice to vote this year, and help us to change the government. I believe that, if I myself was to be voted into parliament, it would be a really positive sign for the wider Aotearoa community, that someone like me was being brought to the table, given that my background is not terribly typical of those with political aspirations. I am political by nature, and believe wholeheartedly in communities working together, making positive choices and speaking up for the things they believe in. My background is in the arts, media and education, so creating collective experiences and spaces for expression, exploration and having your voices heard and your feelings reflected is something I’m hugely passionate about.
My favourite thing about being a Kiwi:
It is a privilege to call a beautiful land like Aotearoa home, and the rich and diverse culture, history and mana of New Zealand is something that I am truly grateful for, and carry humbly with me in everything that I do wherever I am in the world. I think that we as a nation have a lot of work to do to get things back on track, but I believe the essence of Aotearoa is something truly special, and that if we can work together to look after each other, to honour and cherish the stories and experiences that have shaped us, and to truly care for the world around us, that we will all be able to be truly proud to call ourselves Kiwis, wherever we are in the world.
One lesson we can learn from overseas:
I learn new things from people, places and experiences every day, which I suppose is the answer to the question – there is such a big, wide world out here waiting to be discovered and explored so my piece of wisdom is to “show up”. Take part in life, be open to meeting new people, learning new things and seeking new experiences – whether it is simply going a few streets beyond where you’d normally stroll and saying hello to new faces, getting on a train and taking a little adventure to a new part of Aotearoa, or backpacking your way across the other side of the world. Show up and take part in life. There is SO much to be found, loved and learned from!
My favourite place overseas:
Oh my gosh. I couldn’t possibly name one! I really strive to, when I’m in a new city, connect with locals and experience things as if I live there. I’m not great with the “tourist” vibe – it stresses me out a bit with so much consumption, jacked-up prices and excessive “stuff” everywhere. Of course I love to see and experience all the historic and significant landmarks and sites, just like everyone else, but I’m not a great “tourist” as such. Which is probably why some of my favourite places are say, Broadway Market on a Saturday morning in London, around the corner from where I used to live. And Champs vegan diner in Brooklyn. Singing with jazz musicians in Philadelphia or Cuban musicians in Mexico.
There’s a beautiful city in Switzerland called Basel, which is a joy to visit, explore and perform in, and a crazy little spot in Wales called Southstack, near where one of my producers lives, which feels like the edge of the world. I stayed in a capsule hotel in Tokyo, which was just as ridiculously wonderful as I expected. I LOVE going to little Cantonese eating spots in Hong Kong, with friends there who are locals and can order delicious vegan food for me, that I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to order myself! I love walking around Montmartre in Paris, and I always enjoy efficient and affordable public transport. Like I say… I can’t even begin to try and name just one! Everywhere has got a little bit of magic hiding somewhere – you just have to go out there and find it!
My favourite place in New Zealand:
I grew up in Auckland, but moved to Wellington in 2008 to do my Post Grad in teaching, before moving to the UK in 2009. I love Wellington, a lot – the food, the coffee, the art, the music, the people, the vibe. But I also really love standing in the middle of some of Aotearoa’s natural beauty and absorbing the magic of the world around me. Somewhere like Karekare or Muriwai, or the shores of Lake Taupo. But there are little hidden miracles everywhere in Aotearoa, some of which I haven’t even scratched the surface of, which is why I feel so passionately about helping to look after it all!
My message for International Kiwis:
I know first hand that “home” is wherever you choose it to be. Home is about a little bit of comfort, a little bit of security and a whole lot of love, and you can find that or build that in any corner of this beautiful planet, if you so desire. But if you identify Aotearoa as having some meaning to you as “home” in your past, present, or future, then I would urge you to please help us work together to look after it.
It doesn’t take much research to see that things have slipped in the last few years, and that our “100% Pure” imagery isn’t quite what we’d like it to be. New Zealand (and the world as a whole) is facing some real challenges at the moment, with people, communities and our wonderful natural resources not receiving the care they need and deserve. I met up with a wonderful kKwi couple in Brooklyn this month, and we discussed that this election isn’t really about getting New Zealand back to it’s “former glory”, it’s about acknowledging the REAL work that needs to be done to get us back on an even keel – this work that must be done before we can start focusing on the bells and whistles.
We have to protect and restore our land, our water and our people as a top priority, before we can get back to work on the proactive stuff. The Green party is committed to doing the mahi that is desperately needed to truly help Aotearoa back onto a path that will help us be a global pioneer for kind, progressive, sustainable and joyful living, but we need your help to do so. This is no longer a matter of a “fresh lick of paint” approach – we need to tackle the big foundational issues of our time, and tackle them now… and THEN we can do the redecorating!
Follow Bridget on Facebook here.
International voting is open until September 22!