President’s Column: October 2023 02/10/2023 0 Hello everyone, Contrasts: In recent days I have been struck by the stark contrasts in our current world between some obvious examples of conflict, confusion and unpredictability on the one hand, and some equally obvious examples of calm, stability and consistency on the other. In the less preferred corner, we find ourselves in the middle of an election campaign that is (predictably) characterised by loud, constant, confused debate and often acrimonious argument and direct conflict between various groups who are all attempting to gain our votes. Hopefully the worst excesses of this may subside following 14 October. In addition, we seem to be beset by significant public protest about one issue or another which is inherently designed to convince us to think in a particular way that might appeal to a particular group, but which may not be acceptable to others. And then there is the weather! Unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unforgiving in its worst extremes, which can and does (seemingly more frequently these days) cause considerable and widespread consternation and disruption. By contrast, in the more favoured corner I have seen today in nature some very reassuring examples of consistency peace and calm that remind me that the whole world is not lost in confusion. I was struck by the stunning sight of a gorgeous full moon at dawn today, which gave me a clear reminder of the constant and reliable enormity of the universe in which we exist. And on a somewhat smaller scale, I was captivated by the sight of the mother duck taking her seven very young ducklings for a walking lesson across the golf course this morning. They were watched from the surrounding trees full of blossom and emergent leaves by a pair of beautiful keruru enjoying the warm sunlight which made their blue and green colours almost glow. And that sort of activity and interaction repeats itself every year. Finally, at a more human level and directly relevant to the Friends, I am reminded of the peace, calm and quiet learning that can be derived from a visit to the oasis of tranquility, consistency, and certainty that is Te Papa.