I wish to be considered for the Women’s vice-president.
I am the Māori representative (rep) for Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), a member of Te Uepū and also the Māori rep on the National Women’s Committee in the Tertiary Education Union (TEU). I am an academic staff member at EIT in the School of Nursing. There are two roles I undertake, Lecturer and Kaitiaki Māori.
In the Women’s VP role, I would advocate for gender equity and equality by ensuring that our voice is heard throughout the decision-making process, always looking in through a bi-lingual lens. A vision I have is for all things Māori to become normalised throughout everyday practice. The notion of all whom reside in Aotearoa New Zealand being bi-lingual – speaking te reo Māori and te reo Pākehā excites me. Not only does speaking te reo Māori and embracing Te Ao Māori demonstrate meeting the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations, but also allows for people Māori, and in turn all, to see their worth – that who Māori are, what they know and bring culturally is valued. I look forward to seeing kaupapa Māori interwoven across various sectors.
The recent launch of the TEU framework - Te Koeke Tiriti include the same values I envision. This union acknowledges that indigenous views and way of life should be practised equally, and recognises and values diversity. There is an appreciation for the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and acknowledgement of and that both Treaty partners have obligations to meet – side by side.
I am a mother of four daughters aged 12, 11, eight and almost one, and fortunately for my partner – I am his companion and friend. My ethnicities include Pākehā, Scottish and Māori. I enjoy knowing that my make-up includes multiple lines. And … while I have not exhausted my whakapapa, there is every intention to delve deeper into my heritage. This is a hobby I have.
Linda Tuhiwai Smith noted – Māori women belong to the group of women in the world who have been historically constructed as ‘Other’ by white patriarchies and white feminisms. As women, we have been defined in terms of our differences to men. As Māori, we have been defined by our difference to Māori men, Pākehā men and Pākehā women.
As wāhine Māori, I acknowledge there are various issues that we face in the tertiary sector, along with others. While there are positives of working in our sector, we bare a load that is onus. This can include being a minority in the space, expected to lead karakia or deal with issues arising for students Māori just because we are Māori.
While I have addressed some matters for wāhine Māori – I amquite aware of the challenges for our gender on the whole. Within the tertiary sector, there is the issue of ongoing gender inequality, and in particular inequalities and prejudice exist for wāhine Māori and our non-Pākehā sisters.
I look forward to working alongside women who bring with them - stories and experiences that will only empower me.
Nā Jael Reiri