A Samoan woman coming to New Zealand on a seasonal work visa had a baby on the plane over. She left the baby in a rubbish bin before coming through immigration.
Questions are being asked (understandably) about why no one noticed she was pregnant – how she came to be granted a seasonal work visa, how she got through immigration on the Samoan side, why Pacific Blue staff did not question her before putting her on the plane.
Someone once told me that, no matter what her appearance, you should never assume a woman is pregnant unless you see an actual baby appearing between her legs. That’s good advice for social interaction, but surely immigration and airline staff are expected to take a little more responsibility?
Apparently both mother and baby are in hospital in Auckland and are doing well. But surely questions should also be asked about whether a woman who tossed her new born baby in the garbage to ease her passing through immigration has the willingness and ability to give this child the ongoing love and care it deserves?
When I first read about the Baz Luhrmann tourism ads for Australia, I shared Andrew Bolt’s concern that they were both unattractive – ie, not likely to attract visitors to Australia, and that they sent the wrong message about Australia. They sounded dull, even morose.
Of course, I hadn’t seen them then.
I was watching TV a couple of nights ago when one of those ads came on. It wasn’t immediately clear what it was. I thought it was a station promo for a movie or a new series. And without knowing what it was, Amanda and I both decided that it looked interesting and that we would check the time and turn the TV back on to watch it later. I was astonished when I realised it was an ad inviting people to visit Australia.
OK, so there are no well endowed young ladies bouncing along Bondi Beach. There’s no Paul Hogan throwing another shrimp on the barbie. But Australia is more than buxom blondes, beaches and practical jokers.
As a nation, Australia clings to the edges. There is a vast blankness inside, which can be both scary and liberating. A journey to the geographical heart of Australia lends itself to being a journey of self-discovery – through the vast wrenching dust and hopelessness to the sacred rocks and waterholes. This is part of what it means to be Australian – it is more authentically ‘us’ than the Gold Coast. It is a gift we have to share.
It has been a long road, but we are almost home. Amanda and I left Wanganui yesterday and drove up to Auckland, where my brother David manages a complex of 114 apartments in the city CBD.
It was a difficult few days leading up to leaving Wanganui, not only because Amanda is still not well – that will take months – but because of practical matters from packing up her house, to finding a new home for her cat, to saying goodbye to her friends.
The day before we left I had a meeting with leaders at the hospital – the CEO, DON, Chair of the Board and others, to discuss aspects of the hospital’s care for Amanda, including this summary I had written of observations of aspects of managament and clinical care at the hospital: Standards of Care at Whanganui Hospital
I was encouraged by their response, but the hospital has a long history of ‘taking advice on board’ and listening carefully then sailing on unchanged, so it will be interesting to see if there is any real committment to changing the culture and improving levels of service.
But here we are in Auckland, and the sun is shining. Four more days and we will be in Brisbane, and another three days and we will be home on Kangaroo Island.