• Carol Barron

Transforming the World by Taking Notice

This article was first published in eMessenger in May 2021.

Bill Manhire said that Ralph Hotere, “transformed the world by taking notice of the world around him.”

Hotere’s Black Phoenix was made out of the burnt remains of a fishing boat and part of each plank has been sanded down to reveal the natural wood underneath. Some of the boards are inscribed with the Māori whakataukī, “Ka hinga atu he tete-kura haramai he tete-kura” which loosely translates to, “As one fern frond dies, one is born to take its place.” The work is BIG…5m x 13m x 5.5m. It has a certain majesty and presence. I also think it indicates a journey.


I think Hotere’s Black Phoenix reflects the work the Methodist Alliance members do in Aotearoa. The Methodist Missions and Parishes work in their communities and see the strengths and natural beauty of what is often hidden by years of damage. The staff in our Missions & Parishes see the through the layers to the person at their core - their true self. They see the potential for transformation, for change, and the journey to a better place.

The people that work in our Missions and Parishes take notice of the world around them and transform it. It may be small incremental change, but it is change. An example of this is the people that work in schools with tamariki and whānau. The tamariki may have anxiety, may have difficulty managing their emotions, may be struggling making friends, being bullied, or may be dealing with grief and loss. The staff who work with the tamariki listen to their concerns, and are then able to provide a variety of resources that best suits the tamariki and whānau. Working with these resources the staff is able to teach the tamariki skills that promote their wellbeing and positive mental health. You can read more about the Mana Ake programme here:

At the last Methodist Alliance Forum in 2019, our members took notice of the world around and decided to transform it. A working group was established to campaign for increasing benefit rates and abatement rates. This group continues to meet regularly and some of the members of this working group also meet with ActionStation, a collaboration of agencies that are also working on this issue. Our working group has the voices of lived experience – real stories from real people who have experienced how hard it is to live on a benefit and the hard realities of financial constraints. Benefit levels have steadily declined in relation to the average wage over the last 40 years. This has resulted in people becoming trapped in poverty which impacts on their health and wellbeing. The members of the working group are continuing to work to transform the world around them.

The Methodist Alliance has another Forum coming up in July 2021 which will focus on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the bicultural journey. The Māori staff from our Missions form one of our five communities of practice. This group, called Te Amorangi Tāngata, has worked with the Steering Group on the progamme for the Forum and will continue to help lead us on our bicultural journey during the Forum.

If you would like more information about the Methodist Alliance, the Forum, or to join the campaign workgroup, please feel free to contact me.

Carol Barron, Methodist Alliance National Coordinator

1 view0 comments