Turning mindfulness into meaningfulness


On the 20 January 2022 I decided to undertake a task in mindfulness; a task to fold 1000 cranes. I had been inspired in part by a passing comment online and then by the book ‘Senbazuru’ by Michael James Wong. I was delighted to read that the author had some New Zealand ‘roots’ too which ultimately connected me even more with the concepts he was sharing. It was Michael’s beautifully sculpted and thoughtful book that truly began my journey into this mindfulness practice. Though the thought of actually putting it all into action and folding 1000 cranes was a little daunting to say the least. I wasn’t sure what the end date would be or even if I was capable of completing it within the suggested year however I began, endeavouring to fold at least five cranes each day. This way if life presented me with any ‘hiccups’ I would be ahead in my folding rather than getting further and further behind

I knew I had some washi paper in the cupboard, left over from making washi eggs many years ago, so I decided my first cranes into the world would be folded with this and be as beautiful as I could muster. To begin with I took the cranes into the world daily , leaving them places and hoping that they would be ‘adopted’ into someone’s home or at least bring a smile to someone’s face. It wasn’t long though before the mental list of places I felt I could leave my cranes began to be exhausted. Whenever we went somewhere different I took the opportunity to deposit them somewhere new. In restaurants, cafes, libraries, shops, bus stops, music gigs and even laundromats my little birds remained. As my ever increasing collection of cranes continued though the question on everyone’s lips was ‘What are you going to do with them?’

23 July 2022. Finally 1000 cranes!

It was a question that I constantly played with in my mind. What would I do with them all? The story behind the cranes had been a topic of conversation a few times during my folding journey so the fact that the 6th of August fell on a Saturday this year felt a little serendipitous. Quietly I made a decision to complete my 1000 cranes before the end of July. This way I could send the cranes in to the world on the day they were linked with in so many minds. I could gift the cranes into the world, hopefully raising some money for a peace based charity too, on the anniversary of the devastating Hiroshima bombing which in a way triggered the popularization of origami cranes internationally.

Many thanks to Kevin Jones and Warwick Halcrow of Paraparaumu Beach Saturday Market for assisting me in turning my mindfulness exercise into a more meaningful one along with answering the question in everyone’s mind. This past Saturday, 6th August, Kevin and Warwick very graciously allowed me to have a stall in their market so that I could gift my cranes to the community; hoping to spread a little joy on a winter’s day and if anyone wanted to ‘pay’ then to pass the money over to UNICEF. With a date set I began thinking of everything I would need for the day.

Thanks to my amazing daughter and her friend for creating beautiful strings of cranes

Despite the threat of rain and a cold breeze blowing, Kevin and Warwick had thought ahead and offered me a great spot, protected and under cover. After all paper cranes aren’t that hardy. Despite the occasional gust to tempt my cranes into flight they thankfully all stayed put until some generous souls came to collect them. There were in fact many generous souls that day. I found the generosity of the community immense and thoroughly heartwarming. I would like express my thanks to everyone in the Kāpiti who supported me, both in ‘adopting’ a crane and in donating money for me to pass on to UNICEF. Ultimately the later was an act of trust and faith, on the part of people, which I am grateful for.

Market Day

Getting home that afternoon we were delighted to count up $268.40 in donations, which we have now passed on to UNICEF. Just as the folding of 1000 cranes is believed to bring good fortune I know that the donations made by our amazing community will help bring a little good fortune to many children in need both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the world. As an added bonus, later that day, it was fantastic to see one of my cranes adorning a cash register in a local store. Their daughter had gifted it to them after being at the market that morning.

Thank you so much everyone who played a part in turning mindfulness into meaningfulness.




What can we do?


As most of you have seen we have had the most horrible event here in NZ last Friday.  Such a senseless act of violence and terrorism has seen so many families and communities, not only here but around the world, left with loss, confusion, grief and fear.

our culture

It was in my hometown and while I no longer live there it made me feel so confused that anything like that could happen in Christchurch.  I also felt incredibly powerless to help in a meaningful way.  Then this came into my inbox and I thought it is actually so good I would share.

While it is obviously targeted to the Christchurch terror attack it has valuable message for being able to put your grief and confusion into action while creating a compassionate future.  Already here in New Zealand good discussions and law changes are coming out of this horrendous attack.  Sad though that we had to wait until so many innocent lives were taken.  Maybe you can find something the email below to help you process your feelings and the world around you feel a little better.

‘ Like many New Zealanders, I have spent the weekend absolutely devastated.

Friday started off with so much hope. I joined our young people for their school strike against government and corporate inaction on climate breakdown. I watched as thousands of rangatahi took a collective stand for Papatūānuku in Wellington’s Civic Square. I cried happy tears.

Then a man with a murderous weapon, inflicted with the ideology of white supremacy, shot, hurt and killed Muslim men, women and children who had gathered to pray. I cried mournful, sorrow-filled tears and it’s been hard to stop ever since.

Below is a list of ways that may help you channel your anger and grief, as well as show solidarity with the Muslim community and the people of Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

Donate to the victims and families

The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform for Muslim people) with all funds raised distributed to the victims and families affected by the Christchurch attack. All proceeds will go towards helping with their immediate, short-term needs.

The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. Victim Support says it will use all donations received to the page to provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. This one has already raised $3 million from everyday New Zealanders, which I think is a bright spot in an otherwise very dark time.

Attend a memorial vigil

In Māori culture, one of the most important aspects of losing a loved one is the tangihanga or tangi. The word means to weep, and to sing a dirge (a lament for the dead).

People travel from all around the country and world to come together at these funerals to share in the grief of loss and memories of those who pass. They are an important part of our culture. I see public vigils as serving the same purpose. Here are a few happening around the country over the next week:

  • Invercargill – Sunday 17 March from 11am – 12pm.
  • Wellington – Sunday 17 March from 6pm – 7pm at Basin Reserve.
  • Christchurch – Thursday 21 March from 8.30pm – 9.30pm at Cathedral Square.
  • Dunedin – Thursday 21 March in the Octagon.
  • Auckland – Friday 22 March from 6pm – 7pm at Aotea Square.
  • Nelson Race Unity Day – Sunday 24 March 24 in Victory Square.

Listen to the perspectives of Muslim people

Like with any religious, ethnic or age group, there are multiple perspectives and experiences within the Muslim community. Muslims are an ethnically diverse demographic hailing from 80 different countries around the world. They have been in Aotearoa since 1860.

Widening the articles we read, and the podcasts we listen to, to include a range of Muslim writers or producers is one way we can begin to understand these different perspectives. Here are a couple of pieces that have been written in the wake of the Christchurch attack.

Here is a podcast that came out in 2017, but is essential listening for anyone wanting to understand what life is like for a Muslim person living in New Zealand today.

  • Public Enemy is an award-winning four-part podcast series from RNZ looking at the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and how elections, counter-terrorism policies, war and xenophobia have changed lives.

Condemn racism

This violent attack on Muslim people who were praying peacefully was based on the gunman’s idea that white people are superior to people of colour. This idea was fuelled by the renewed rise of neo-Nazis, xenophobia and far-right extremism all over the world.

For the last few years, powerful people with platforms (some politicians, some media commentators, almost all giant tech corporations) have stoked racial division to sell ads, generate headlines and create fear among us for cheap votes and clicks.

This racism and hate was also allowed to fester, because we have not been doing enough to condemn casual racism when we see it.

Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments when you see them. Read this guide from Amnesty International on how to tell someone you love they are being racist.

This is a good book for people working through how they might be complicit in white supremacy.

You can also check out the NZ Human Rights Commission’s toolkit on their Give Nothing To Racism website.

Volunteer to teach former refugees and migrants English

English Language Partners New Zealand has a volunteer teaching programme providing free English lessons to former refugees and migrants. They will train you to provide those who need it with the language skills and confidence necessary to integrate and participate fully in Aotearoa.

Volunteer for The Red Cross

Contact your local Red Cross and see what they need. Volunteer tasks may include setting up a home for a refugee family, helping them with everyday admin such as enrolments, budgeting and shopping, and generally welcoming them into New Zealand.

Take action to end hate speech

For the last few months, our team has been researching the links between online hate, online misinformation and the rise in hate crimes.

One thing is abundantly clear: Extreme words lead to extreme actions. We need to do all we can to stop both.

Sign this petition that we’re delivering in a couple of weeks if you want our government to crackdown on online hate and misinformation:

I support an end to hate speech and misinformation online.

Take action to ban semi-automatic weapons

A member of the ActionStation community, Nik Green, is calling for a ban on all semi-automatic firearms. You can sign his petition today:

I support stronger gun laws

There are many other ways you can take action. Find your local Muslim community support group or mosque and reach out to ask how you can help.

Some people have been pledging to form human chains of protection around mosques so Muslims can worship and pray. Others have offered to accompany Muslims to wherever they need to go if they do not feel safe going out in public. We will be in touch again soon with other ways you can help as we find them.

Sending aroha (love) and kaha (strength) to all at this horrific time. Especially to our Muslim, migrant, and refugee communities,

Laura, Madeleine, Eliot, Leroy and Kassie, on behalf of the ActionStation team.

P.S. If you need someone to talk to about grief or trauma you may be experiencing, please call or text 1737. Both are free, confidential and available 24/7.

With special thanks to The Spinoff who originally published some of these ways you can help.’