Mr Philip Arps stood to be elected to the board of Te Aratai College, a school which has educated his sons. Mr Arps holds some views which are concerning, and some which are highly racially charged and extremist. They are unspeakable – I will not speak of them.
The election results came out today and Mr Arps’ view of the world was firmly rejected by voters at Te Aratai College. Whatever we can say about New Zealand, we have proven that, in this little corner of the world, Philip Arps’ beliefs do not attract support.
The image in Sharon Murdoch’s cartoon above has not come to pass, at least not at this school. The idea that the work of boards of trustees would be deliberately disrupted for the ends of racial or political disharmony is pretty alien to us – and will remain so at this time.
The sun is shining a little brighter. The world looks a little bit more friendly. Democracy works to shut out the extremisms. I am sure this will be the case in local body elections all over the country.
I doubt Philip will take this well. He calls me the gorgon, a play on my name I last heard at primary school. Actually the gorgons were pretty amazing as demi-gods go. There were three of them. Medusa, my fave, had snakes for hair (much preferable to my candy-floss locks) and had the cool ability to turn to stone everyone who caught her eye. I wouldn’t mind being a gorgon. She was also incredibly beautiful – go figure.
Were I to indulge in name-calling, which is far beneath me, I assure you, Mr Arps’ name would have for more interesting connotations than my own. Then I wondered if that was the root of the problem. Perhaps, as a child, Philip was name-called and rejected by his peers. That is the fate of so many children in Aotearoa.
I know you are reading this, Philip, and I want to say to you, hate is not the way forward. Whatever has led you down the path of racial hatred and fear, the road to prison and being so rejected by others, there is a way back into the light.
I cannot support or condone the beliefs you have displayed to the world. But there must be more to you than that. Love is so much more a powerful emotion than hate.