Te Kōtuku rerenga tahi

A white heron’s flight is seen but once

As we find ourselves back at work after the one-off public holiday for Queen Elizabeth II, which brought to an end to the most extraordinary fortnight, possibly something we may never witness again, certainly on such a magnitude, it is perhaps an opportunity to pause for reflection. Over the past fortnight, I have listened to recollections from important New Zealanders, and anecdotes from friends and families describing their chance sightings of the diminutive monarch. In a chance meeting, a Victoria Cross recipient proudly shared photographs with me of himself with the Queen and with the new King and I fully admit to being tired last week because I stayed up and watched the service in Westminster Abbey.  To state that our relationship with the Crown is not without complexities is to understate the irreparable damage the Crown has subjected Māori to. The long arm of colonisation still affects Māori today and will continue to do so for yet another generation, this I am certain of. And yet with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II I find myself in somewhat of a conundrum and can’t but still admire some of the qualities of the Queen. A working mother, who dedicated her life to service is something to be admired. Yes, ok she had servants……  but she is also from a time now gone. It simply blows my mind that her first British Prime minister was Winston Churchill! So, for some people the one-off public holiday was a chance to farewell a beloved monarch and for others a welcomed extra day of leisure to help us ease into daylight savings and for others, it was yet another uncomfortable reminder of our imperial past.