Sean Plunket: Life is short, fragile, and full of adventure

Opinion 10/12/2019

By Sean Plunket, Magic Afternoon host.

We are as individuals just tiny specks in time and space, our lives are short and our lives are fragile we measured against the forces of nature and indeed the march of time.

Nevertheless we value our own existence and the existence of others so when others lives are lost unexpectedly, surprisedly, we collectively share a sense of grief, and of course we collectively mourn.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by the eruption on White Island yesterday.

The injured, the bereaved, and those who are still working so hard to recover those who remain there.

Already of course the Prime Minister has promised an inquiry; well that's what we do isn't it?

But I really do hope we don't look for someone to blame.

This wasn't a coal mine operating beyond prudent levels of safety, it wasn't a crazed nutter with an arsenal of firearms, and it wasn’t an orchestrated litany of lies to cover an incompetent corporate airline.

This was Mother Nature at her most fickle, feckless, and brutal.

We can debate till the cows come home whether tourism should have been allowed on White Island to the level it was.

We can look for a scapegoat or an answer as to why this tragedy occurred, but I for one urge caution and moderation in that search.

As I said, nature and our desire to test, explore, and understand it will not be changed by recommendations or findings or Royal commissions.

Of course we feel for all those caught up in this and we hope they eventually find peace and somehow get through it.

Let's not let the perils of life, the risk of getting outside our comfort zone, or taking a walk on the wild side be snuffed out in the interest of at a plastic wrapped zero risk health and safety bubble.

Tourism is a major part of New Zealand's economy and indeed our culture.

We welcome people from all corners of the globe and invite them to share and experience all our country has to offer.

It seems many are eager to take up that invitation to fly halfway around the world to a country on the edge and share in the vitality and joy that is New Zealand.

You can jump off a bridge with a rubber band around your ankle, tumble from a plane strapped to someone else, ride breakneck speed on a jet boat in a few inches of water, climb a mountain, walk a bush track or just sit back and sit on an excellent Pinot Noir.

None of that is without risk, but hell neither is walking down to the corner dairy for a litre of milk.

Our short lives are defined not what we didn't do but by what we did, what we experienced, and what we strive for.

Long may that be so.

Sean Plunket is host of Magic Afternoons weekdays noon to 3pm.