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Celebrating our people

Riwai Grace, our MC for the night and an amazing Human of Ōtautahi (2018)

aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Humans of Christchurch Ōtautahi recently celebrated reaching our 50 stories milestone with an exhibition event that bought our humans together in one space.

Little did we know how powerful this experience would be; for the humans and for our team of volunteers.

Like our counterparts around the world, Humans of Christchurch Ōtautahi aims to share honest stories about everyday people, but of course, with a Christchurch flavour.

Many of the stories resonate with some familiar values – resilience, creativity, self-acceptance innovation, to name a few. We’ve also found that by asking people to tell their stories it can encourage others to share, and knowing that such stories can empower others in this way is a huge driving force for us.

A quote from Aristotle goes a bit like this… “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

So we knew each story has heart. Each human has something special to contribute. But when the stories, the humans, their friends and whanau were bought together, something truly magical happened.

There were tears. Laughter – laugh out loud belly laughs. Emotional… there were moments happening everywhere. Group hugs as humans met other humans and felt a need to make that physical connection over their shared experience.  

We heard from four of our humans what having their story told meant to them, how having someone take the time to sit, listen, be with them to help share their words, changed their lives.

Fred had brought three generations of his family with him; while his mokopuna danced he expressed his gratitude for being able to share his story with family before he left this planet.

For our team of photographers and storytellers, it was very humbling to realise, that such a simple act of taking a photo can have huge meaning to others – to the Freds of this world.

We finished the evening with kai and music, both provided by more talented members of our humans whanau. The amazing grazing table became a gathering place for conversation. People dropped in for ‘five minutes’ and stayed for an hour; including our re-elected Mayor Lianne Dalziell.

We were asked “Will you make this an annual event for our humans alumni?” The answer must be a resounding yes.

Many thanks once again to our amazing speakers who shared with us their stories, Jessie @ Happiness by the Picowatt], Di Foster, and Maria @ The Butterfly Musketeers.

Thanks also to the BECA Christchurch Heritage Festival, Turanga for hosting us, Amiki New ZealandChristchurch Foundation – NZMicrofilm Digital Print, Peek Exhibitions and Displays, Kai Connoisseurs for the amazing kai, Three Boys BreweryGood Buzz Kombucha, Jesse Rogers and Laura Hay for the entertainment, and Avenues magazine for all of your support and involvement in making it such a memorable night.


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