One in five million: Find where you fit in New Zealand
There are 12 marae in Taumarunui.
The population is down to 3500. A century-old school has closed. And many of the young people must leave to find work.
But still, there are those marae and the communities that define them. The people in Taumarunui know and care about each other. Could we say that about our country as a whole?
When Stuff asked a focus group about community connections, there were some strong responses.
"New Zealand is moving from a country that cares about its neighbours to one that only cares about the individual," said Adele, from Canterbury.
"There is becoming less of a social conscience and care for our fellow man," said Sarah, from Wellington.
And Jon, from Taranaki, said: "Social media has made people more opinionated - irrespective of knowledge or experience on an issue - and more inclined to attack others who share a different view."
These sound like the kind of concerns you might hear about Donald Trump's America. But this is our country.
TAKE A MINUTE
On the night Donald Trump was elected US President, many were in shock. Few (in the media, at least) had recognised the depth and breadth of sentiment Trump had tapped into. The country did not recognise itself.
The US has continued down a worrying path since. The population is increasingly divided and more people seem unwilling to consider any perspective other than their own.
… AND CHECK YOURSELF
You can select multiple groups
- In a partnership
but not married
Sometimes the best way of appreciating what life is like for everyone else is to take a hard look at your own lot. When you see how your circumstances compare with everyone else's, perhaps you'll be more willing to think about what it might be like in somebody else's shoes.
The One in Five Million project is our little go at helping New Zealanders with this.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
One in Five Million is an informative tool. You answer some questions about yourself then see where those answers place you against other Kiwis.
This is not a survey or a poll - we are not collecting the information people enter. The information you see about everyone else comes from pre-existing data sources like the census.
We've only drawn from reputable data sets and we've taken advice from the experts at Figure.NZ.
SO WHAT'S THE POINT?
We hope, with this project, that New Zealanders will pause to think about their place within society.
We have explicitly chosen to do this in the heat of the election campaign. But this is not an attempt to guide you to vote in any particular way.
It's simply an attempt to encourage thoughtfulness and tolerance in our democracy.
No party has a monopoly on considering other people's perspectives.
You might notice the absence of politicians and election talk in the articles we will publish in this series.
Stuff journalists around the country were sent out with an open brief to collect interesting yarns about living in New Zealand in 2017.
The result is a collection of surprising, funny, sad and challenging tales. Some are personal stories, others are about communities.
There are two contrasting stories to start with today. Donna-Lee Biddle and Christel Yardley have spent time in two Waikato spots with totally different stories: Taumarunui and Rototuna, a suburb of Hamilton.
ABOUT THAT TITLE
Yes, we know the official population of New Zealand is currently 4.8 million, which is not the same as five million.
Firstly, we're moving rapidly towards five million - a point made by Prime Minister Bill English in the Newshub Leaders Debate last week. And secondly, if you count expat Kiwis, of whom there are at least 600,000, then we're past the five million line already.