In 1992 Bill Clinton famously said "it’s the economy stupid." With the Copenhagen climate change conference, it might be asked if this has been replaced with “no, it’s the environment stupid.” I think the focus has to shift beyond either, or even both. I would like to propose as the most useful framing: “it’s the implementation stupid”.
In my work (academic and community) I’ve felt increasing disquiet about the frequency of calls for a leader – someone who can take charge, someone who “we” can follow, someone will lead us from the wilderness, from the uncertainty, someone who will know what to do, and someone we can rely on to look after our interests...
I feel more comfortable with community-based forms of exchange, where there is a natural process of giving and receiving between people who know one another or are in environments or networks where diverse forms of care and reciprocity can exist and flourish.
For a long time I have thought Maori have much to teach the rest of us (in Aotearoa/New Zealand and in general). Maori have had many generations living with each other and the environment, and have had to retain, adapt and develop their culture through tough colonial, post-colonial and now global times.
I am speaking here today on behalf of the School of Sociology and Anthropology. Steve was an important member of our community and your loss, following the recent celebration of the award of his PhD, and the promised publications flowing from it, is also our loss.