As I waaahed about in the introduction to yesterday’s tuakana, today is my last day working at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. I’m such a sook when it comes to change, even when the change is exciting and new and something that I’ve wanted for a long time. However, to get me through the thought of leaving all the great colleagues that I’ve worked with in the past year, today’s Fast Five is all about reflecting on some things I’ve learnt during my time at MCH and the kaupapa that I will carry forward with me into my new mahi and on Tusk. (Also I know that my photo and gif choices are pretty hard out but we just finished Stranger Things and Wino Forever for real).
1. The Asia-Pacific Century
I shared this link on twitter earlier in the week and it is so good I’m sharing it again. The conversation between Emma Ng and Ioana Gordon-Smith on Amy Weng’s Hainamana site is such a refreshing perspective on the multi-cultural future that is coming for Aotearoa. This is a future that we need to be braver about and willingly embrace. Diversity has been a recurring theme during my time at the ministry as it is not an ethnically diverse ministry and sits within a broader government system that has pockets of diversity but is generally not reflective of the wider population. Diversity needs to be re-framed as the positive future for a more accepting New Zealand society and I will continue to think on how I can help make that happen.
2. Women’s Network
Through a Q&A forum at work, colleagues and I heard about the Government Women’s Network, a network across government agencies that aims to provide support for all women in the public sector. My workmate Ellie came up to me after the forum and suggested we set up a women’s network at work. So we talked to some mates and went to the CE who approved it immediately. Since our inception, a mere few months ago, we’ve held four events and created an environment where women within the network are getting to know each other better. As part of this we’ve also had the opportunity to meet with other agency reps and other women working in government who are keen to support us. One of these women is author Hannah August who is hella smart and a right laugh. She has a written a review in the most recent Listener of four recent publications by female authors that is so probing, I highly recommend you tracking it down and reading it!
3. Cheque please!
This Spinoff article about internships is so spot on and covers a lot of the same critiques that Jess mentioned in her Formation article on the same topic. The reason that I bring this up is that as a museums studies student I undertook three 200-hour placements. I was lucky that all three ended up being really positive experiences where I learnt a lot and met some incredible people, in fact the placements are the reason why I have work today. However, the same cannot be said for other industries and I am so shocked to hear how terrible they all have it. On that note, I think that institutions need to give back to interns in some way whether it be allowing them to work on a project that will end up on their CV or to reimburse them somehow, the latter point being a contributing factor to the lack of diversity in students. This year I had a student, Chelsea Torrance, working with me who was so fucking onto it and really went over and above her brief. We all learnt a lot from her which really illustrates the reciprocal effect the internships can have on all involved.
The ministry has a flexible working arrangement, something that I think is pretty standard throughout the public sector. This is invaluable when you have two young kids at home, do you even know how often their little bodies can get sick? We’ve endured multiple vomiting bugs and two rounds of chicken pox in the last year, not to mention various colds and ourselves getting sick. Thankfully, taking time off has never been an issue (probably because the work would still be waiting when I got back ;-) ) which makes for a happier employee. So, on a completely unrelated note, here is an article by one of my fave lifestyle bloggers on a series she does called Motherhood Around the World where she profiles expat Americans in their new overseas homes. The latest one is from Jordan and is so interesting. It is such a great lens to see another culture through as having kids means that they’re integrated into their new societies and cultures in a way that is very community based.
One of the many colleagues that I will miss working with is someone who I have referred to as my Tūhoekana, a loving portmanteau of tuakana and Tūhoe (because we both rep te kohu). Leanne will be featuring in a future tuakana profile so I’ll let that speak for itself BUT to foreshadow, the main reason that I’ll miss working with her is because of the frank conversations we have about culture, diversity, things from home and everything else (because mātauranga Māori is limitless!). Leanne is from Waimana and recently shared this great piece that featured in the Salient about cultural identity. I hope to still receive links like this Leanne!!!
That’s me for the week. That’s me for the ministry too I guess. Waaaah. When I was emailing my colleagues about an appropriate waiata tautoko to sing at my leaving do, one person suggested I go with this gem: