Resetting priorities: Peter Townsend

We all know it was an odd run up to Christmas.

Peter Townsend, Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct Chair

We saw couriers racing around delivering goods, and the stifling presence of shoppers in unprecedented numbers in retail outlets right across the Canterbury region.

For others there was a different scenario. Spending constraints were palpable. We witnessed the pressure on charitable institutions desperately working to improve outcomes for many who were facing a tough festive season.

Demands on food banks and base level accommodation, pressures on mental health providers and anti-social behaviours were all increasingly evident.
These sad and challenging aspects of society are more acute every year and seem to show no signs of abating.

This year there was also reinforcement of the new dimension – families prevented from getting together because of Covid-19 infections, or the lingering threat of Covid-19. Or possibly worse, families getting together with the best possible intentions and maybe creating a super-spreader event.

The ongoing direct and indirect ramifications of Covid-19 on travel and service delivery, particularly in the hospitality sector, were unprecedented.However, we got through, and paradoxically all these disruptive dynamics made us more aware of what we really should be celebrating.

For many the “fluff”, the tinsel, the indulgences, the extravagances took second place to simply enjoying time with others, valued friendships, good company, and positive family interaction. There was a realisation that health issues (not just Covid-19) can compromise what the festive season is really all about.

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