Perhaps we should take a chance

21:08, Feb 05 2014
Pat Veltkamp Smith
Columnist Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.

How scarily risk-averse we seem to be becoming, at-risk women having double mastectomies to avoid breast cancer, church buildings priced out of the insurance market, the Anderson Park art gallery now closing to:

A Keep the pictures safe.

B Stop any falling on anyone who happens to be inside.

Really, how worried are we?

What is happening to Dunedin's art gallery on the edge of the Octagon, Nova cafe next door?

What of the Oamaru stone Victorian edifice that is Oamaru's art gallery?


Are they as worried up there as we down here or are we becoming too concerned?

The tragedy of the Christchurch earthquakes proved such a wake- up call that half the south's churches have been closed - deemed "earthquake risks" - although I don't recall anyone worshipping in a church being killed there in an earthquake.

On holiday we saw parish churches closed in Blenheim, Timaru and Hokitika - places we happened to visit - and probably loads more have been closed because they are deemed unsafe. Although many of these churches are open only one hour a week.

First churches, now art galleries, a few schools and probably a museum or two, a beautiful store perhaps and on it goes.

If the cut-off time is say 1930, then the frontages along Dee St would go and the whole centre city could become a vast paddock, parking space for cars that won't want to come. Insurance has been sold as a comfort but now it seems like a threat.

People don't put money in the plate at church to swell the coffers of insurance companies.

It could be that we are better to take a chance on life now and again.

Everything we love - our children, parents, partners, everything - is a hostage to fortune and our material possessions can be too.

The true price of love is the grief loss brings.

Looks like we must live with optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect - and then take whatever comes.

The Southland Times