Industrial and Professional Committee
Candidate Profile Sheeanda McKeagg E aku nui e aku rahi Nei rā te mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa kei roto i tēnei mate urutā.
Ko Ngati Pōrou, Ngai Tūhoe, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi oku iwi.
Tēnā koutou katoa
I grew up in a little village, my centre of the universe, on the east coast of the North Island. I knew at an early age what oppression and subjugation was like, having seen it firsthand. I moved away to work in Wellington. I returned home for Christmas and compared ‘work’ stories with my dad, a farm labourer. I soon learned that as a 17 year old I made 5 times more in a week than my father’s monthly wage. I made roughly $4 an hour and was always given overtime. He made $1 an hour; had to walk for an hour to get to work and home again; started at 5am and finished at 10pm; no holidays or holiday pay. I now understood why we never had enough to live on! I am so proud of my dad. From our conversation he left his job. He walked into our local pub and said he needed a job and was hired by a farm manager who treated his workers well. It seems that my dad had a reputation for being a hard worker and his work ethics were second to none. So it is my dad I have to thank for allowing me to use my ‘voice’ to help him. My job in Wellington also introduced me to my first union. I have been in unions ever since. That’s several decades of unionism! As Hemi Houkamau once said, “union and Māori fit like a glove.” I found my voice in those various unions. Not that I didn’t have a voice before, just that no one seemed to be listening. When you have a group of like-minded advocates, activists (sometimes), one way or another you get to sit at the table, rather than becoming part of the menu.
I joined Massey in 2004 and was a member of AUS, which then merged to become TEU. I became involved in the Massey TEU Branch Committee in 2009 and elected as Branch President in 2016. Union representation provides many opportunities to give ‘voice’ to our members via advocacy, supporting members in meetings and numerous restructuring hui. During these times, I have been privy to some of the best and worst within tertiary institutions and the role that unions have to play in keeping our members safe and sane. During COVID-19, it is even more telling as communications across units and areas get misinterpreted, watered down or used against others to push an agenda, that we as union advocates have to unpack, unwrap and demystify for our members, pressure to use annual leave being one such case.
I currently sit on the National Industrial and Professional Committee and would like to continue to be an advocate and voice for you, our members.
Kia haumaru te noho