International Women’s Day Report by Kyro Selket

IWD 2017 REPORT

I want to begin by saying, THANK YOU to everyone who got involved in my crazy International Women’s Day idea. 2017 saw Kirikiriroa Hamilton offered a number of events throughout the day, which acknowledged local women and women’s communities. Before I expand I want to take this moment to thank our sponsors: Countdown (Bridge ST), D V Byrant, Kaivolution, and Hamilton City Council. Also thanks to Ivan from Nivara for opening his space for an evening of entertainment.

As I stated there were a number of events organised for the day.
IWD 2017, began with breakfast at Fairfield Community Centre. Thanks to Eddie Neha and a superb crew of cook’s, guests were offered a variety of food. This included a wonderful hot breakfast, along with muffins, fruits and cereals. Rangatahi from Fairfield Intermediate, who were participating in their week long leaders program, welcomed guests and spoke with them about their hopes and dreams. Participants also included teenagers from St Pauls School. So again a BIG SHOUT out to all those who organised, cooked, and participated in the event. Thank You.

After weeks of scorching temperatures and sun the weather decided to be problematic, unleashing a barrage of extreme rain and wind. Sadly, this saw us cancel the Women’s Market which was to be held in Garden Place. Probably the hardest event to organise, what with so many women’s organisations struggling to stay ahead of the onslaught of neoliberalism policies. Nevertheless, 12 individuals, tertiary and women’s organisations confirmed their interest. Stalls ranged from yummy food to information of consent. Whilst the weather beat us in 2017, it will not in 2018.

Furthermore our women’s workshop ‘’A Powerful and Purposeful You, “which was to be run by Sue Kohn-Taylor, a leading personal development and wellbeing coach was also cancelled. The event was to be held at the Hamilton Business Association on Victoria St, however due to an increasingly strange noise coming from Sue’s engine, she was driving from Auckland to Hamilton, Sue was forced to turn back. The professional that Sue is meant she ensured she caught up with all those enrolled guarantying they received all the workshops information. So THANK YOU Sue and I hope the car is ok now.
Important to any International Women’s Day is events that express the creativity of women. With the support of Creative Waikato and Yasmin Davis hard work, IWD held an exhibition at Creative Waikato. it was a snapshot of 12 local women’s work, presented in different mediums and from different cultural backgrounds. Whilst the exhibition was only for one day, I am sure that those who managed to visit would have been as humbled as I was by the beauty of the works on offer. Next year we are ensuring that the exhibition run for a week.

At 1pm I found myself at the Lunchtime Recital Series, held in the Dr John Gallager Chamber, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Hear participants were entertained by talented women from the music and theater department. Organised by Stephanie Acraman, herself an Opera Singer/Voice Teacher at University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music, the programme included Sonta Op 27 No 2, Sexy Lady, Symphonie Espagnole, as well as extracts from ‘Gender Equality is Your Issue Too and quotes by famous women’, such as Kate Sheppard. The recital was a feat, more so because according to Stephanie, it was the first time lecturers, tutors and students, all female, had performed together on International Women’s Day.

An essential aspect for IWD in Kirikiriroa Hamilton was to highlight women who have played an integral role in shaping communities in Kirikiriroa Hamilton, as well as local women’s lives. With the help of Tracy Robinson, Margret Evans and a small team of librarians; Celebrating Local Historical Heroines was offered. This involved reproducing prints of drawings commissioned by the previous City Council of local local women. It included Hilda Ross (displayed at DemiUrgos – Victoria St), the Māori Queen Te Atairangikaahu, and others which were displayed at the Hamilton Library Popup. Continuing on this theme, Kim Samphier, manager of Momento on Victoria St, elected to profile Dame Malvina Major.

In conjunction with the displays, Margret Evans organised for Dr Diane Gordon-Burns (Ngati Mahuta) to share the story of Tainui’s 14th Century Whakaotirangi. The presentation also explored research she conducted on other local Waikato women.
To end the day participants, whanau and friends were invited to the IWD closing event at Nivara Lounge. Sixteen year old musician Mouse Varcoe and Raglans Parabola West preformed for a somewhat small but intimate crowd. It was the perfect way to end the day.

IWD has not been celebrated on such a scale for a number of years. Therefore the goal of bring this important event back onto the local map was certainly achieved. Since the event there have been a number of enquiries about what will happen in 2018 and many of those who participated have said that they would like to be kept in the loop for IWD 2018. For me the most exciting aspect of the day was engaging with a diverse group of people. It felt good to be engaging with women of all ages, sharing their hopes and dream for their lives and the future of Kirikiriroa Hamilton.

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Waitangi Day – Living Wage & Mobile Retail Trucks

On Monday the 6th of February, Poverty Action Waikato joined with the Waikato Living Wage network to commemorate Waitangi Day. It was a privilege to be part of the community day hosted by Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa and The Western Community Centre.

We spent time talking with the community about the Living Wage and the difference it would make in our lives and communities. One woman reflected to us that she was able to make ends meet only because of the sharing that happens amongst her extended family. Making ends meet on her minimum wage salary alone was just not possible. Another women shared her concerns about the low wages that school support staff receive, and how vital they are to the functioning of the school and particularly to children whose needs are often over and above those of others. The Waikato Living Wage Network is now even stronger with these women joining us in our advocacy!

We also spent time talking with people about the Mobile Retail Trucks. The message was clear – people want them gone. We gathered submissions from people and our working group is now collating these into a report that will be delivered to Hamilton City Council. We will also publish this report on our website. Hamilton City Council maintains that there is very little that they can do to curb the operation of the trucks in Hamilton City. We are not so sure. We are continuing our research and advocacy in this space and listening to the voices we heard on Waitangi Day.

Thank you to all those people who shared their ideas and passion with us, and to the tamariki for painting beautiful Living Wage banners.

 

 

Submission – Oranga Tamariki: Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Legislation Bill

Submission sent – Friday 3 March 2017


1. Acknowledgement

Poverty Action Waikato appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Oranga Tamariki: Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Legislation Bill.

 2. Background

There is a very pressing need to ensure that children and young persons throughout Aotearoa are cared for in appropriate ways that enable the best possible transition to adulthood and to full participation in whānau/families, communities and society in general.

Consideration of this Oranga Tamariki Bill sits in a wider social and political context that currently operates in ways that will act against the ideals and principles outlined in the Bill. For example, the low wages people are paid, the cost of housing, the paucity of employment opportunities for young people, the individual cost of tertiary training/education, along with the rise in cost of living people are experiencing means that there are large numbers of children and young people living in households where there simply isn’t enough income to meet the basic needs for a family to live simply and well.  These factors along with the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth have certainly increased the vulnerability of any person in lower income brackets.

One of the changes that Poverty Action Waikato has noticed in their research (see Neglect and Nurture Report, May 2016[1]) in the Waikato is the increased concern about scarcity of access to housing either through Housing New Zealand or Rental Agencies.  Insecure tenancies, where the average stay in a rental property is eleven months (Howden-Chapman, 2015[2]) and the costs associated were also concerning as they have consequences such as difficulties in maintaining social connectedness, whānau relationships and often for children disrupted attendance at school.

3. Submission points

This submission will highlight some of our concerns about the Oranga Tamariki – Children, Young Persons, and their Families Legislation Bill and the general direction of CYPF.  We note that there are inherent contradictions operating when the same organisation is required to offer care for and control over the lives of children and young people that come to their notice.

 

3.1 Extension of age for young people

We endorse the recommendation to have the age of a young person extended by one year and to have the State outline an increased degree of engagement with and responsibility for young people who have been in their care until the age 21.

 

3.2 Colonisation impacts and Te Tiriti o Waitangi

3.2.1 This legislation and the operation of the Department have a long history, largely as a part of a monoculturally driven system of government, which has had a detrimental impact on Māori peoples[3].

3.2.2 Will this latest iteration of a Bill serve Māori and thus all New Zealanders with equity and support the well-being of Whanau and communities by looking after the welfare of children and young people effectively?

3.2.3 We recognise the cultural richness and resourcefulness of he tangata, whānau, hapū and iwi.  We acknowledge there are situations where children and young people really are unsafe and not well cared for in their immediate/nuclear families and need to be supported by state care systems in conjunction with the whanau and communities they are connected to.   At times, however, the welfare or well-being of children appears to operate out of a system where children are taken from families as a form of punishment for transgressions rather than an assessment of the best interests of either the child or their family.

3.2.4 We are concerned about the ongoing reference to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Principles do not feed or safeguard children in anyway and they do not by implication ensure that equitable relationships with Māori whānau, hapū and iwi as Crown partners are a requirement of any engagement in the process of caring for children.

3.2.5 We propose that in line with many of the recommendations in Puao-Te-Ata-Tu (1988[4]) that Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the three articles contained within this document be referred to in the Bill, rather than the ‘principles’.  In particular, the third article of Te Tiriti (the Treaty of Waitangi) which explicitly states: that the Natives of New Zealand (Māori) are extended Royal Protection along with the “Rights and Privileges of British subjects”.

3.2.6 In practice the Crown as the other party to Te Tiriti o Waitangi has systematically failed to deliver to Māori equitable and culturally appropriate rights and privileges since 1840.

3.2.7 We are concerned that the changes being proposed in the Bill that will remove a requirement to prioritise the placement of tamariki Māori within their own whānau will not help tamariki Māori to maintain connections with their whakapapa.

3.2.8 Further this proposed change will potentially limit the role of staff to explore the wider whanau/family relationships that could potentially support and benefit a child or children to remain within a whanau/family network.  Building and maintaining whanau connections with children were highlighted in Puao-Te Ata-Tu and reinforced in every report since that time so that any tamariki in state care have placements prioritised within their own whānau first, and failing that within their hapū or iwi, and not severed from their whakapapa and tikanga.

 

3.3 Social Investment Approach

3.3.1 We are concerned that the Social Investment approach currently being adopted is not based on a substantial evidence base that offers an analysis of the effectiveness or otherwise of this approach.

3.3.2 From a community perspective it seems that the focus of the social investment approach will mean that the areas of contracted support that are more likely to show some immediate success will be preferred to receive funding as they will be deemed to meet outcomes criteria.   He tanagta/people, whānau/families, communities, hapū and iwi who have far more complex and at times intergenerational situations of deprivation and need will continue to struggle on the margins of society as they require support and services across agencies.  This is the situation we are currently witnessing with the social investment approach to housing where people are experiencing issues of availability of and access to affordable housing with assured tenancy arrangements over time. The safety net of state housing provision that has been available for past generations is being systematically withdrawn.

 

3.4 Poverty and Inequality    

3.4.1 A recent UN report has documented our failure in Aotearoa/New Zealand to care for those most disadvantaged in our communities and the need for a systematic plan to alleviate poverty. [5]Addressing inequity in our country is an essential part of preventing young people coming to the attention of government services.

3.4.2 We agree that there needs to be a radical and significant change in the way children, young people are supported and are kept safe. This includes supporting whānau/families and communities to overcome generational poverty and neglect so that they can provide safe places for children be raised and nurtured.

 

4. Conclusion

Poverty Action Waikato supports the resourcing of people and communities so that children and young people live, learn, and grow well within their whanau/family and community environments in ways that strengthen their cultural learning and connections.

Dr Rose Black

Poverty Action Waikato

[1] Casey-Cox, A. & Black, R.  (2016). Neglect and Nurture: Window on Waikato Poverty Report 6 Kirikiriroa Hamilton, NZ: Poverty Action Waikato. www.povertyactionwaikato.org

[2] Howden-Chapman, Philippa. (2015). Home Truths: Confronting New Zealand’s Housing Crisis. Wellington, NZ” BWB Texts

[3] Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Māori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare. (1988). Puoa-Te-Ata-Tu (day break). Wellington, NZ: Department of Social Welfare

[4] ibid

[5] Committee on the Rights of the Child. (2016). Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of New Zealand(21 October). Retrieved from http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsrXsJ3pRx9xOCak0Ed1mLEkIUHtKTSHNWA9ddXmo8oiUgGuB9JUoxS6ES4ymmXawE3W7Z52o%2b4tn33VBe09mSo1PELAebMOgBS4BCR%2fv23Ao