I have been wracking my brain about how Socialink can best tautoko or support our Muslim community at this horrific time.
Tears well up regularly and I expect they will for some time as I hear the stories emerging of what happened and how people and communities are responding to what has happened.
We cannot deny that there is an under current of hate and discrimination in our communities, whether that be targeted at Māori, LTGTBQIA community, Muslim, Jewish, the list goes on and it exists here in the western Bay of Plenty.
Events such as what happened on the 15th of March emerge from this dangerous under current and must be challenged.
These are hard conversations to have and this is, I think, how SociaLink can contribute, not just now but for years to come. Let me start today.
I am a Pakeha, middle aged (hard to face up to but true L), middle class, heterosexual woman which is a common demographic group in the workforce of the social sector. By virtue of being born into a middle class Pakeha family I have benefited from the colonisation of Aotearoa and being a part of the dominant Pakeha culture.
I have benefited from and had access to New Zealand’s schools and health services and have not experienced discrimination because of my race or sexuality. Not only this, the schools and health services are delivered according to my cultural frame of reference and at a cost that was affordable to a middle class family.
This is not the case for most Māori who still suffer from the impact of colonisation, including being the victim of terrorist events in the 1800’s. Māori and other minority groups have not had the same level of access to education and health delivered in a way that understands and reflects their culture nor in a way that is affordable. They have also suffered as a result of systemic and unconscious discrimination. The suicide rates, high levels of incarceration and poorer health outcomes are a testament to this.
So what do I do. For a start I own and acknowledge my privilege and do whatever I can to redress the power imbalance. I continue to learn and will continue to do so for the rest of my life about Aotearoa’s history, te Ao Māori , te reo Māori as well as about other minority groups and use any opportunity to raise awareness. The more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know, like peeling an onion, as I learn about one layer I discover ever more layers. I think this alone is one of the most important things that we can do, the dark under current of discrimination and hate thrive in ignorance which then cultivates fear.
I do my best to pronounce Māori names correctly. I challenge discriminatory views or acts whenever I hear or become aware of them.
As I go on this journey, I can assure you I don’t get it right all of the time, it’s a work in progress. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues who take the time to teach and advise me about their culture and their experiences so I can better understand life from their perspective.
I challenge you to reflect on and think about how you expose, challenge and ultimately eliminate the under current here in the western Bay of Plenty. I challenge us to think about how we tap into the huge outpourings of aroha at the moment and foster this so it remains and becomes our ‘new normal’.
Haere Mai to our new staff members!
Liz Stewart has taken on the role of Research, Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Liz brings decades of experience in undertaking social research, particularly in drugs and alcohol and mental health. Please contact Liz if you want to access the findings from the Mapping the Social Sector project, assistance with undertaking, using or accessing research or in undertaking advocacy on issues close to your heart email@example.com.
Anneke Grogan has started an internship with SociaLink as part of her degree in Health and Society, Psychology and Physiology and Health Management and is assisting Liz Stewart in her work. It’s great to be able to offer a student an opportunity to learn about and contribute to the social sector.
Dale Johnson is taking on the role of Māori Engagement Advisor in late June to help SociaLink build relationships with Māori social service providers, iwi and hapu and look for opportunities to add value to the great work of Māori providers. Dale brings a lot of experience in the social sector, particularly the disability sector, strong networks with local iwi and hapu and a passion for improving Māori social outcomes. To contact Dale email Dale@socialink.org.nz.
Mapping the Social Sector
On the back of the launch of the Mapping the Social Sector findings we are out and about sharing the findings with the social sector via presentations to local networks , funders and stakeholders to encourage discussions and find ways to enhance the social sector. Get in touch with me if you would like SociaLink to present the findings to your organisation or network.
We are delighted that we are getting requests for organisations wanting to use the findings, please contact Liz Stewart if you want to access the findings.
We are diving deeper into the findings, in particular looking in more detail about sub sectors e.g. health, disability, Māori providers etc. As this information becomes available we will post them on our website.
Ever thought about the link between trees and improved health and wellbeing?
Research recently released of 50,000 New Zealand children suggests that living in greener areas with more exposure to native plants and a wider variety of vegetation may reduce the risk of being asthmatic. A report by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Services identify many more social, health and educational benefits of living near trees and plants. Read the research https://www.ttophs.govt.nz/vdb/document/1973
Our friends in the environmental sector, Envirohub, are obviously tree huggers and have many trees available for you too to embrace. Got room for a tree, a space to plant trees to realise the many benefits of trees? Don’t have space? Envirohub will find space to plant them. Go to Envirohub’s website https://envirohub.org.nz/buy-tree/ to purchase Pohutukawa trees for the low price of $11.50 per tree.
By Stefan Doll of NZ Institute for Diversity and Wellbeing.
People are different. I am not only talking about visible differences like age, gender or ethnicity. I am also talking about different needs, fears, habits, backgrounds, values, and different ways of thinking. No one is the same. The diversity in our communities continues to grow with an increase in global migration. How can a Not-for-Profit organisations best cater to the needs of our diverse community? How can we effectively engage with them and do our work in their best interest and the most efficient way?
We will have to overcome falling into some common traps:
Trap 1: We assume that people are similar to ourselves and neglect our differences.
Trap 2: We are holding stereotypes and assumptions based on the differences we recognise.
Trap 3: We are biased towards a person based on very little, often irrelevant information.
Trap 4: Unconscious bias is impacting our actions, often against our conscious believes and intend.
Differences among people are a fact of life and we cannot resolve them by trying to make everyone the same. If we deliver our service always in the same way no matter who we provide it to, the chances are high that this works well for some clients and not so well for others. So how can we stop falling into those traps and understand, acknowledge and appreciate the differences between people instead?
If you are interested in a one day workshop on how to successfully engage with our diverse community, reduce bias and unconscious bias in ourselves and others, please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org