Stories of people power for October

Are you looking for that extra dose of hope in your life while alert levels have your head spinning? As we listen to announcements, and adjust our plans, we hope you find a moment to take a deep breath in and feel the ground beneath your feet.

So put on a cuppa and read about communities using their people power for good during uncertain times. Kia kaha e te whānau. ❤

🤝 Solidarity with Afghan whānau 🤝

Showing our aroha and solidarity to communities facing hard times is something the ActionStation community does best.

When the situation on the ground in Afghanistan started to unravel in August, over ten thousand ActionStation members came together in just one week, sending an urgent call to our government to help as many people as possible to safety. We then combined efforts with Amnesty International NZ and Oxfam Aotearoa, delivering a 20,000+ strong petition to Minister Phil Twyford at an online event.

We also sent the Government an open letter, and launched an easy to use email tool so people can write to their local MPs in support of action for Afghanistan. Will you join the 800+ people who have already used our email tool to ensure Aotearoa does all it can to support the people of Afghanistan at this terrible time? Yes, I’ll send a letter.

💭 We’re bringing rangatahi together to envision their dream Aotearoa 💭

We all descend from dreamers. For some of us, we descend from the dreams of our tūpuna who guided us across Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa and enabled us to survive and thrive. For those of us who arrived beyond this moana, we descend from the dreams of families who kept us safe and promised us new opportunities.

Our communities are living at the limits of what a profit-driven system can do for our people and the planet. The intertwined housing, mental health, public health, inequality, and climate crises are impossible to ignore. It’s time to dream up something better — a future where every single person is valued, loved, and cared for. Where all our communities — disabled, trans, refugee, indigenous, queer, taktāpui, Muslim, migrant, rural, urban, young, old and in between — can thrive. Where our lakes, rivers, and oceans flourish.

We brought an incredible group of rangatahi together to design a process of visioning and realising an Aotearoa that puts the wellbeing of people and Papatūānuku first. This month we’re hosting a series of online hui, a survey, and interviews with the rangatahi and their communities to ask: what’s your dream? What’s possible for your mokopuna (descendents)? Next, we’ll turn the community-powered vision into a series of stories, campaigns and collaborative tactics to make it reality. Watch this space.

⚡ Coming together to learn, be challenged, and tautoko ⚡

ActionStation members are tackling the hot and topical issues through the Tautoko webinar series, a welcoming space to hear about different kaupapa (issues) and their associated campaigns. So far over 500 people have come together to learn, find out how to tautoko (support), and to engage in follow up actions. Ka rawe! Awesome!

So many of us are curious, and want to learn about the history of Aotearoa and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, about the health and wellbeing of our Māori whānau, and how we can make sure our rangatahi thrive.

On Thursday night we came together for the latest conversation about ending streaming in schools. The team from Tokona Te Raki: Māori Futures Collective looked at why streaming has such negative outcomes for our tamariki, especially Māori and Pasifika. Teaching professionals shared their experiences of how they ended the use of streaming, and the difference it has made in their classrooms.

You can check out the previous conversations:

🎥 Real Talk: Honouring Te Tiriti in the now: what honouring Te Tiriti means in this moment, with Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho, Kahu Kutia, Dr Veronica Tawhai and JJ Carberry.

🎥 Health and wellbeing: tuning into the Māori Health Authority, with Dr Huhana Hickey, Dr Glenn Colquhoun, Dr Emily Gill and Dr Maria Baker

Thanks to InternetNZ for making this series possible.

🙌 A victory for migrant workers 🙌

For many people in Aotearoa, the border closures made it difficult to dream of the future, or plan our lives with some security. Some of the hardest affected are people living and working here on visas, but without access to the same support as citizens.

Beside this, people living in Aotearoa long-term have also faced high barriers to getting permanent residency. Anu and her team at Migrant Workers Association urged the Government to create a new pathway to residency for anyone currently on an essential skill or graduate job search. They also called for normally resident New Zealanders stuck overseas to return to Aotearoa. Over 17,000 of us joined the call to be kind to migrant workers.

And they won! The Government announced a decision last week to offer a one-off, simplified pathway to residence to an estimated 165,000 people who presently call New Zealand home.

Anu says that, while disappointed there’s no plan for those stranded offshore, the announcement is a huge victory for the campaign and she’s happy for the many that can now dream and plan ahead again. To stay in touch for future developments follow Migrant Workers Association on Facebook.

💜 #GrowthePsychForce 💜

In times of uncertainty we all wish for an accessible, well-staffed and just mental health system when we need it. Access to support should be equitable and help should be timely.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Many mental health services are understaffed and their people overworked. For example, it’s estimated that we need more than 1000 psychologists to fill the gap, and the need is growing.

Lucy Mclean is a clinical psychology student. She realised that it’s taking people longer than six months to see a psychologist, and private psychologists are turning away up to 60 people per month. But only 10–15 students are admitted to each university’s clinical training programmes every year.

Together with fellow students, Lucy launched a campaign calling on the government to increase funding for our clinical psychology programmes, and double the number of psychologists being trained each year. They shared stories of people most affected by this workforce shortage. Their petition gathered over 14,000 signatures, and was delivered at an online petition handover supported by over 100 people. At the event Lucy and her team talked about the waitlists, the stories of desperation people had bravely shared, and the statistics which illustrate the extent of the problem.

Lucy’s petition will be considered by our elected representatives at a Select Committee. Add your name to stay in touch and and #GrowthePsychForce.

Thanks for all you do, and all you are!

Kassie, Madeleine, Yvonne, Ali, Andrés, Ruby, Nimisha, Eilish, India, Aiko, Ann and Eliot — your ActionStation team

We work together to create a society where people and planet are more important than profit and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is honoured.