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Letter to Manukau - Issue 47

Friday 7 November 2008 - Issue 47

In this update:

Restoring humanity

This is Foster Care Awareness Week in celebration of the remarkable men and women who, in my view, are the real modern day heroes in our community.

At an event earlier this week I was honoured and humbled to meet foster parents who kindly shared with me their stories. All self-effacing, these people have for many years cared for children, who have either lost, or been rejected by, their natural parents. Nurturing up to 10 children at any one time, the foster parents repair damaged lives with attention and affection. They restore humanity.

There are many families in our community that struggle and some implode, putting at risk our young people, our future. Childhood scars, physical and emotional, can last an unhappy lifetime.

We often hear stories of young people going off the rails and wasting their own lives and those of others €“ their victims of violence and other criminal activities. Such wasted lives are not only a crime against the potential of their own humanity, they also wreak economic and social havoc within our society.

If it were not for the extraordinary contribution of foster parents, the financial and human toll would be far worse.

It is a shame that the success stories of the saved children and their special mums and dads are not told at least as often as the train wrecks that dominate media coverage. Privacy trumps publicity when it comes to the reality of fostering but I will, once again, be doing my bit to celebrate their contribution next March when the Counties-Manukau Foster Care Association holds its annual Children's Day at Papatoetoe's Dingwall Home. For at least one day of the year, the light of thanks will shine on foster parents as we recognise their extraordinary love and humanity.


Live the dream_

My hope for the young people of Manukau is that they can enjoy safe and happy lives with nothing holding them back from achieving their personal and professional dreams.

I encourage them to find and follow their dream €“ whether it is to become a top sportsman or woman, business leader, entertainer, parent or teacher.

Growing up in Manukau, my dream was to become Mayor and if I can realise my dream then anything is possible.

We care_

Political roles rarely come with job descriptions but, if they did, the most important task would simply be to care.

We are not only guardians of the environment and the city's purse strings; our role as leaders is to care for our community and their aspirations.

Together, we can share those dreams:

• · To live in a safe, crime-free society

• · To find satisfying employment

• · To achieve our educational goals

• · To live a healthy, long life

• · To live together in peace.

Think of the possibilities!_

I urge you to visit www.tellusyourmanukau.govt.nz and help shape the Manukau of tomorrow, today. At Manukau City Council, we've designed this website to allow you to comment on the big issues facing our city.

Next March we'll ask Manukau's communities to make submissions to the council's draft Long Term Council Community Plan (10-year plan). This will cover everything from climate change, oil prices and shortages, housing affordability and growth. There are also important issues such as town centre revitalisation, roads and transport, our natural environment and city development.

From next Monday, 10 November, you can provide your feedback online on what you think is important. Please visit the site to register and we'll keep you posted on the next steps to the draft 10-year plan and public consultation.

See you out there!

Len Brown

Mayor of Manukau


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