Member Q&A - Caleb Gordon and Maddie Duggan

Each month we talk to a PSA Youth member and find out about their work and passions.

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Caleb Gordon and Maddie Duggan

Caleb Gordon and Maddie Duggan

This month we talk to the new PSA Youth co-convenors, Caleb Gordon (Wellington Museums Trust) and Maddie Duggan (Department of Corrections, Hamilton)


What were you initial thoughts on signing up to do this Q&A?

Caleb: I hope I don’t embarrass myself with any awkward confessions.

Maddie: Where’s the spell check button again?


What is your job and what do you do on an average day at work? 

Caleb: I’m the Visitor Service and Functions Coordinator at City Gallery Wellington. Which sees me managing the FOH team at the gallery, working with venue hire clients for the space and a little bit of retail along with anything else that I might be able to help with.

Maddie: I have been working with the Department of Corrections for almost 7 years. Started as a prison officer at SpringHill, and am now a Probation Officer. My day to day job varies, but my end goal is to reduce re-offending and the amount of victims within our communities. I do my best to obtain this by managing a case load of people who have committed crimes and been sentenced to Home Detention. I also manage a select few women who have been released from Prison who have an entrenched domestic violence history. I work with the wider community in various capacities to ensure the offenders develop the tools and ability to live a life free of crime.

I additionally write reports to the District and High Courts on recommendations of sentencing for those who have been found guilty to a crime; whether or not prisoners should be released into the community, and any conditions they should adhere to.

What was a highlight at work for you in the past month?

Caleb: We are currently preparing to open a new show Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation. As new shows approach I prepare a resource pack for my staff which means I get to do a whole lot of reading. (It’s a good thing I use to be a librarian who studied art history.) Fiona has created a number of works that look at sex and desire from a feminist perspective so the reading has been quite a bit of fun.

Maddie: Highlights I have in my work are witnessing my offenders make changes to their behaviours. Seeing a shift in their lives. For example, where they once might act violently when frustrated or confused, to stop and ask questions for clarification.

What would you say is the hardest thing about your job?

Caleb: People asking ‘Where’s the art?’

Maddie: Seeing how painful peoples lives can be and them not willing to ask for help.


What brought you to join the PSA and the PSA Youth network?

Caleb: My mother is a primary school teacher and has been an on and off again delegate through her working life so I absorbed conversations about the benefits of a union from a young age. For me it seemed like a no brainer to join a union when I entered work. I joined the PSAY as a way to get more involved with the union.

Maddie: Nothing inspirational here unfortunately. I joined when I worked for New Zealand Customs 8 or so years ago, at 32, I’m chuffed to be considered Youth.


Name one (or more) things you like about the PSA Youth network

Caleb: Meeting other people from across the public service is always amazing. It is always particularly satisfying to have a solid rant with someone about an issue that your friends and flatmates are sick of hearing about.

Maddie: After attending the PSAY Leaders Hui this year, I am blown away with the passion and desire that is evident within our young people today. We have some fantastic leaders in our midst who should maintain their dream to better our country and working environments. And it’s fantastic that PSAY encourage and provide a space for our voices to be really heard.


What is your vision for youth in the PSA?

Caleb: I want to see young PSA members get more involved in the formal structure of the PSA. The network is fantastic and we have a large number of highly engaged and involved members but I want to see us seed the ranks throughout the PSA now. This way we’re not just there to take over ‘when our time comes’ but that we are at the table and part of the conversation now.  

Maddie: To encourage a space to develop strong leadership and advocacy within the union and in our communities.  To ensure equal rights within our workplaces regarding diversity; whether that’s gender, race, background, religion, sexuality, beliefs and upbringing.


How about when you aren't at work?  What else do you like to do with your time?

Caleb: Baking and finding cats to Snapchat.

Maddie: My dream for a number of years has been to go to Thailand for a 6 week kickboxing programme. I am trying to get my fitness to a level where when I’m there, I can compete. So Im trying to be disciplined regarding gym work, football obligations and boxing training.

I also do volunteer work every second Monday night, where I take donated food to lower social economic areas within my city and feed the children. Whether that’s sandwiches, fruit, chocy bars, hot milo, and soup. We also give eggs, milk and vegetables to the parents. Often our children go without food, and its nice to know that we can help with filling up their bellies.

Other than that, I take my cats for walks out into the bush out the back of my house (have been called “The crazy cat lady”), and of course my active social life….not enough hours in a day.


What are your three favourite foods?

Caleb: Hummus, falafel and a bottle of pinot gris.

Maddie: Thai food, pasta, is beer a food group? No? Well then summer salads


What are your three loves?

Caleb: Cooking, reading & art galleries

Maddie: Peace, friendships, diversity


What are your three pet peeves?

Caleb: The short battery lives of phones, uninsulated homes & heteronormative patriarchal hegemony,

Maddie: People who say “something” ”anything” with a ‘k’ at the end.  Grrrr. Close minded people. Finding the toilet roll not changed.


What advice would you give your 18year old self?

Caleb: That it’s not too late to start causing more trouble.

Maddie: It’s ok being different, don’t be who others want you to be, find out what makes you happy, and strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.  Also, don’t have that last tequila shot on your 21st.


Anything else you would like to add?

Caleb: Thanks!

Maddie: “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”