The end of a year is a great time for reflection. I’ve had over 70 guests on Kelli from the Tron in 2018 ranging from politicians, environmental and social advocates / activists, event organisers and bands. For the last two weeks of the year, I’ll recap some of the bigger stories and themes covered in the show and share tracks from 10 of the bands I’ve been lucky enough to interview.
She should have been safe, but she wasn’t. That’s the message our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern relayed to Grace Millane’s family on Monday as her suspected murderer faced court. The outpouring of sorrow, grief and guilt from Kiwis led to two candlelight vigils being held in Hamilton and throughout the country on Wednesday, and in true 2018 fashion a torrent of attention on social media focused on how this could happen here.
I found it hard not to think back to the case of Margery Hopegood who unfortunately found a similar fate here in Hamilton in 1992, days after arriving in the country. It reminds me that she should have been safe, but wasn’t. We should all be safe, but aren’t. It’s a reminder to us all that Aotearoa has an secret uglier than our less than 100% pure image – which is our rate of physical and sexual violence towards women. I feel compelled to discuss this today due to #notallmen trending online. No, it’s not all men. But, it’s too many men, and this is one instance where you don’t get the luxury of putting up a wall to deny blame. We all have to take responsibility for this.
Whenever we read an article about violence towards women there is an element of victim blaming. Why was she travelling solo? (How dare she be independent). We check what she was wearing in her last photo. (Skirts a little too high, Dear). We give well intentioned warnings to our daughters to, keep a phone with them, not drink too much and stay with friends. What we don’t do is spend enough time telling our boys and men that they have no right to touch a woman without express permission, that “no means no” and that it’s not okay to “keep trying lest she changes her mind”. Violence is never justified. I was pleased to see strangulation and assault towards family members highlighted in the Family violence Act. We don’t spend enough time telling the #notallmen brigade that it would be more useful for them to be pulling up their friends or family members who act or talk out of line. Speak up against the violence. Intervene.
If you find yourself wanting to direct your anger and sorrow anywhere – it should be at changing our culture that is currently accepting violence towards women. We all have a responsibility to keep women like Grace safe, our daughters safe, my daughter safe.
Golriz Ghahraman, an Iranian-Kiwi became the first refugee to be sworn in as an MP in 2017. She is a member of the Green Party of Aotearoa and is spokesperson for a raft of portfolios including human rights and corrections. I really admire the work that she is doing and felt privileged to have the opportunity to speak with her this week.
I asked for her views on the Grace Millane case, which has stunned the country this week. We discussed violence towards women and the need to stop tolerating devaluation of women. She gave her advice to women looking at putting themselves forward for governance roles – pointing out that there needs to be a change in culture and systemic changes to make working within those roles possible for those with a family.
We discussed human rights, in terms of the right to vote, which Golriz is advocating we return for prisoners; the UN migration pact and the CPTPPA.
Have you seen that cartoon with Santa taking his sleigh of gifts straight to landfill called ‘Cutting out the middle man’?. Sadly this is reality and it’s not good for Papatūānuku or our wallet.
I don’t want to sound like the Christmas Grinch but, I do worry about the pressure Christmas puts on us to buy gifts that we can’t really afford and then have them end up in landfill in the next spring clean. Where is the sense in that?
Most of us don’t have dedicated funds to call upon at this time of the year and clock up credit card debt, skip bills or do without to get through. Yet we do it, every year – because we want our loved ones to know we care… It’s human nature and it’s habit. But, I’m calling on Hamiltonians to make some small changes this year for an ‘as ethical as possible Christmas’.
Consider buying secondhand or “vintage”, diverting quality, unique items from landfill, supporting charity and saving you loads of money. You’ll be amazed at what you can find at the Dump shop, or Sallies. Spit, polish and wrap.
A little bit crafty? Make something useful like a reusable bag or produce bags from an old t-shirt or fabric lying around. Youtube has numerous DIY videos to help you out. Your friends and whanau will appreciate it immensely in less than 6 months when the plastic ban kicks in. Yipee on that.
Our tamariki will remember that time they went to the zoo, movie or theatre more than they will another expensive plastic toy. Make memories not waste. I know that 90% of the fun is unwrapping, so make a game of it. But remember that foil wrapping paper isn’t recyclable so stick to the paper stuff (which is cheaper anyway).
I also think it’s time we called ‘time’ on the dreaded workplace Secret-Santa. It’s always novelty crap that has no function. Why not change your workplace tradition to be $5 or $10 towards a charity, you agree on. Win Win.
Christmas doesn’t have to be about debt, gifts destined to landfill and stress. But, it will take some changes. What will you do differently this year?
9:50m NEW music “Death you brought to me” Loudhailer
13m Hamilton Fringe Festival NZ committee members Macaila and Chris join me to talk about the festival opening. We then heard from Ben whose exhibition ‘Coloured Sound’ runs alongside Chris’ ‘Sensory explorations into Quantum Imaginary Spacetime’ at the Beggs Wiseman building. <Warning, big words>
Situation Vacant: Hamilton City Councillor. Fixed term role starts October 2019. Remuneration starts at $71,638. Job description: To represent and lead the community, set policies, make regulatory decisions and review council performance. Preference: Female.
Women hold a mere 25% of the seats in our current city council. Did you notice? Probably not. We’ve become used to our local government lacking diversity in gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. But, imagine how different the dynamics and decision-making process of a council that truly represented our city would be. I’m not asking for quotas to achieve diversity, we don’t need them – but we do need to support more women to put their name forward for next year’s local elections. Will you join me?
Are we lacking strong female community leaders? Are we short on ambitious, strategic professional women? Would Mums with young families prefer to stay in the home? Heck no, definitely not and no thanks.
The under-representation of women in our council was the topic of a kōrero I initiated last week. I was interested in barriers to women standing and what other women could offer them to help. The experiences of women are different, but in general we are reluctant to stand for family reasons, financial reasons and because, rather sadly we don’t back ourselves enough. Women ponder over a longer set of criteria than males before considering themselves ‘qualified’ enough to stand. Basically, women don’t rate themselves as highly as a similarly or even lesser ‘qualified’ male would. Go figure.
The shining beacon of hope from that kōrero was that a group of strong, capable and passionate women have offered experience, skill, creativity and knowledge to support other women to stand next year. This is exciting, encouraging and could be transformational for how public service looks going forward.
So today, I’m asking the women of Kirikiriroa Hamilton to consider themselves worthy of representing our city and to know that there is support for them to do this. If it’s not your cup of tea, make sure you shoulder tap an inspirational wāhine to put themselves forward and then join us in supporting them to succeed.