We’ve had floods, cyclones, and torrents of water running through our streets here in Queensland. Lives have been lost, homes carried away down rivers or flooded to the eaves, roads have been destroyed, crops flattened and families torn apart by one of the most violent acts of nature witnessed here in many years.
Just as we were getting over this, clearing up, hosing down, rebuilding homes and cleaning streets, Northern Queensland was hit by a cyclone – and now Christchurch, New Zealand, has suffered a horrendous earthquake. Claiming many lives and the destruction of homes and historical buildings that tell of New Zealand’s past, that have born witness to the events that have formed and shaped the city and people of Christchurch, buildings with a history that can never be replaced. This is a tragedy that has torn at the very heartstrings of the New Zealand and Australian people.
Yet through all this, the one thing that is continually referred to in the news, is the great Aussie spirit, the great Kiwi resolve – the ability to come back when all is against them. Queenslanders are already standing together as one, shoulder to shoulder, united by the disaster and determined not to let it destroy them, their lives or their heritage. New Zealanders will do the same, they will not be beaten.
It is this resolve that we have been looking at through Metamorphosoz. The resolve of a people with a history, a culture, a way of life, that was almost eradicated from this country, not by a natural disaster but at the hands of fellow human beings, who held to a belief system that could not see the Aborigines as humans, as similar, as equals. The Aborigines had a culture full of music, dance and colour. A legal system that was unbiased and worked. A respect and understanding of the earth and its animals, that allowed them to eat and live well.
They nearly lost it all due to the disaster that struck them, a disaster that would remain for decades. Not a one off, but an ongoing trauma that would see much of the richness of their heritage lost. Yet they are winning. They are able to practice their culture, their music and enjoy parts of their past. It is through the resolve of a few Indigenous men and women, not prepared to give up their past, that the many Aborigines will have the opportunity to experience their deep cultural roots. It is this resolve that appears to be within us all and has the ability to guide us from adversity to victory. Sadness, despair, humiliation, terror, depression make way for joy when we start to re-build, re-focus, learn from our past rather than dwell in it – and move on.