We headed to the beach on Monday for a Wellington Day Celebration put on by the Hutt City Council. We are living near Petone Beach, recognized as the location where the first organized settlers to New Zealand landed aboard the ship Aurora, on January 22, 1840. The first settlers were welcomed by the great Maori Te Atiawa chiefs. The Aurora brought nearly 150 New Zealand Company settlers, who had made the four-month voyage from Gravesend, near London. Our 12-year-old looked up at us and said, “I have heard this story before.”
As we walked through The Petone Settlers Museum, we could not help but think of our time in Plymouth, Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower, just six months ago. Our time at Crazy Horse learning about the Native American Perspective of Western Settlement also came to the forefront in this moment. Although we recognize and talk about the importance of what makes cultures distinctive from one another, what our children are so good at highlighting are the ways we are all connected.
As the day ambled by, our kids participated in many new things such as 10-pin bowling, cricket, and traditional Maori weapons training. They also found many familiar games such as grain sack races, tug-of-war, and coffee can stilt practice. Six hours passed, and as the festival was breaking down the kids were splashing in Wellington Bay with fast friends.
It all felt so familiar in a foreign land, and it made us wonder about common threads. It seems the more we connect with people and their history, the more connected we feel. The world gets smaller as our understanding of it expands. Although we fumble through and celebrate cultural differences, what is becoming more vivid the further we go is that we have all made many of the same mistakes and relished similar accomplishments. We have awakened new eras of discovery and found joy in simple pleasures along the way.
As Maya Angelou so profoundly writes, “… I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike …”
Today’s Tweetable: The world gets smaller as our understanding of it expands.