Ayush Sharma - Rutherford College

What Makes West Auckland Great?

Tamaki-makau-rau, the city of sails, the most densely populated and ‘wealthy’ city in Aotearoa. A ‘wealth’ not only seen from an economic point of view, but also, more significantly, from a perspective of enriched culture, values, and sense of community. Where do we see this ‘wealth’ the most? Well, West Auckland of course! It’s true what they say – West is most definitely the best.

Now, my family has not been in West Auckland for generations on end. As a matter of fact, I am the first generation of my family to actually have been fully born and raised right here in the West. In this short time however, I have really been able to realise and acknowledge just how lucky I am to be a part of a geographical zone so tight knit by bonds of love, acceptance, openness, and togetherness. A, family so tight knit, in which refuses to be ripped apart at the seams by the strong, and sometimes seemingly uncontrollable forces of hate, discrimination and exclusiveness.

Right from primary at Western Heights, through to intermediate at Rangeview, and finally up to high school at Rutherford College, I have continually been taught the invaluable lessons of making sure to include everyone in whatever it is I am doing, to say please, thank you, excuse me and sorry, and to show love and kindness to all those around me who have already done so much. Over these years I have learnt that, in every finger painting we made, song we sang, sport we played, challenge we faced and success we gained, that we would be inclusive to all those around us, collaborate, and be humble in our victories, and gracious in our defeats. But most importantly, we would do this all together. There wouldn’t be any exclusion of anyone for any particular reason – no. From the moment I got declined into private schools from all over Auckland, that my parents thought would be more beneficial to my future, but instead got accepted into schools that recognised my willingness to learn, grow and get involved rather than cut me off because I don’t come from a specific background; both my parents and I knew I was going to be a part of not only a school, but a family. This sense of community and togetherness has only continued to go from strength to strength as the years have gone by, and made me immensely grateful to be a part of such an indiscriminate, open, yet tightly-bonded community.

These invaluable and timeless values do in fact reach further than the reaches of schooling, however, as I have been able to see the depth to which our diversity has been able to further bring together the racially, religiously and idealistically unique wider community of the west. This has been exemplified through a multitude of cultural events; e.g. the annual Diwali festival. Going to these events every year never fails to continue to make me proud of being a part of this… family.

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