Young leaders take over Palmerston North for PSAY hui

A hotel on the main drag in Palmerston North might seem like an unusual place for the future of the union movement to set up camp, but for three days in August that’s exactly what PSAY did.


This year’s PSAY Hui saw around 50 young leaders round on Palmerston North to talk about their priorities and passion for our union movement. The hui was opened by a Kaumatua on behalf of Ngaati Rangitane, Manawatu, Horowhenua and Tararua. Our own Kaumatua Kiwhare Tukupunga Mihaka responded, thanking the region for hosting us.

Conversations about how to activate and empower people within their workplaces, their union and their communities were woven through the hui programme and continued into dinnertime discussions.

We were lucky enough to have guest speakers across the hui. The CTU’s Sam Huggard, Green Party candidate Chlöe Swarbrick, PSA general secretary Erin Polaczuk, social justice activist and PSA member Josie Butler, and All Souls Colleague Examination Fellow and author of the recently released book The New Zealand Project, Max Harris all delivered inspiring speeches about politics, activism, leadership and a future for New Zealand.

PSAY walks the walk as well as talks the talk. With a goal of encouraging active and engaged members and delegates, Day two of the hui featured participant led-workshops, where PSAY members were encouraged to step-up and lead workshops themselves.

But the hui wasn’t all work: Cake decorating and practicing the Treat Her Right equal pay dance got people moving in their free time and we managed to squeeze in some traditional PSAY Karaoke. This down -time was important and meant there was plenty of opportunity for people to get to know each other, establishing connections across sectors and forming friendships.

The outgoing convenor team decided not to stand for re-election, making way for a completely fresh team. Ofeina Manuel-Barbarich said: “As an outgoing convenor, I felt confident that the torch was being passed on to capable, passionate, and confident leaders. […] I strongly believe that I have met some future leaders at Hui.”

At Congress it was agreed that PSAY would be given observer roles on sector committees as well as on the PSA executive board. This hui was our opportunity to appoint those people with the goal of eventually establishing a youth representative role on every sector committee after next PSA Congress.

PSAY was lucky enough to have Kaumatua Kiwhare Tukupunga Mihaka present for the duration of the hui. Kaumatua Kiwhare told Working Life: “the positivity and passion of these youth was absolutely wonderful. They put in a tremendous amount of work during the workshops. The highlight for me was meeting such a great youth group who are so proud to be members of a union and recognising their roles as PSAY members.”

PSAY members left the conference with a sense of purpose and direction, a commitment to being more active within the network and the PSA, and a renewed drive to step-up into leadership roles. We look forward to following the successes of our members in the year ahead.


PSA Youth has over 12,000 members, and is growing. If you are a member under 35 you are automatically a member of PSA Youth.