Mana Wahine: ‘Our passion is perceived as a threat'

Mana Wahine: ‘Our passion is perceived as a threat'

Mana Wahine claim gathers powerful evidence

A survey of wāhine Māori in the PSA has drawn a fantastic response - with more than 900 members taking the time to tell us about their employment experiences.

The survey was held to help gather evidence for Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina’s Mana Wahine Waitangi Tribunal claim, which challenges treaty breaches that have led to employment inequities for wāhine.

A clear result emerging from the survey is the high percentage of respondents who reported experiencing bias, racism and discrimination at work.

We’ll have more survey findings once our analysis is complete.

The claimants would like to thank all those who participated in the survey.

Mana Wahine team Edited2

Mana Wahine claim rōpū: Marcia Puru, Dolly Larkins, Helen Panoho, Sue O’Shea, Tania Te Whenua, Marshall Tangaroa, claimants Paula Davis and Georgina Kerr, and Leslie Dixon. (Absent claimant Llani Harding)

Heartfelt kōrero from wāhine Māori about the injustices they’ve experienced were also heard during this year’s sector hui.

Wāhine at the hui spoke of how the education system had failed them through bias, segregation, a lack of Te Ao Māori in schools and of encouragement to achieve.

They said systemic bias, racism and bullying continued into the workplace.

Others spoke of being labelled too confrontational, strong, difficult, assertive or aggressive in the workplace. One wahine said her ‘passion is often perceived as a threat’.

PSA Kaiwhakarite Māori Marcia Puru says the kōrero was often “emotional” but the strength of the wāhine in overcoming barriers also shone through.

The kōrero from the hui will provide further evidence for our Treaty claim.


As work progresses on the claim, new statistics are emerging about the persistence of the pay gap for wāhine Māori.

While New Zealand women effectively began working for free on November 18 due to a 11.9% pay gap with men, wāhine Māori have been working for free since October 12 due to a 22.1% pay gap.

Our own PSA Pay Survey also reflects the gender and ethnic pay gaps in the wider workforce.

“The numbers remain terrible for Māori and Pasefika women,” says PSA organiser Dolly Larkins.

“We need to get some hits on the board. Let’s hope this claim helps us to do that.”

The claimants expect to hear more about a hearing date in April.

They’re moving into full campaign mode with the development of branding, and plans to hold a stall at Waitangi in February.

Also in this issue:

President's Message

In October I was fortunate to attend the Council of Trade Unions Conference along with other members of the PSA delegation.

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Obituary: Lynn Middleton

PSA members and staff are deeply saddened by the recent and sudden death on November 13 of former PSA national secretary Lynn Middleton.

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Working for Free

For Pasefika women the statistics are even more damning – they’ve been working for free since September 29 due to a 25.5% pay gap. The pay gap is almost as dire for wāhine Māori – a 22.1% pay gap left them working for free since October 12.

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Kindly leading the way to Equal Pay

For Pasefika women the statistics are even more damning – they’ve been working for free since September 29 due to a 25.5% pay gap.

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Stand Up for Library Workers

At the launch delegate Chantalle Smith spoke of how research for their equal pay claim had found the skills required to do their job could be broken down into 22 separate categories.

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Stark statistics help fight for equal pay and transparency

Your salaries generally reflect the gender and ethnic pay gaps seen in the wider workforce with Pākeha men well out in front of other groups.

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Fair Pay Agreements will give workers a fairer deal

That’s why we’ve made a submission on the Government’s new discussion document on FPAs and have been encouraging members to make sure their voices are heard.

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Honours for workers on frontline

The inaugural Public Service Day – Te Rā Kāwanatanga was held last year so this is the second year the awards have been handed out.

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PSAY Hui Inspires Success

After joining the PSA earlier this year, the DOC worker decided to attend the PSAY Hui in August.

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Pasefika Voices on Climate Strike

The PSA proudly supported the School Strike for Climate in September. For some of our Pasefika members the effects of climate change are already hitting home. They tell us why they took part in the rally on Parliament.

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“It opens their eyes”: Sector Māngai elected at Hui

Their role is to organise and advocate for Māori members in their sectors. They also represent their sectors on Te Kōmiti o Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Awhina and on sector committees.

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Reducing Māori Health Inequities

The convenor of Te Tira Hauora Kōmiti, a committee of Māori delegates across the DHB sector, presented their submission to the inquiry in November.

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‘It’s important to have Māori and female voices at the table’

Staff from the Ministry’s policy teams have attended UN indigenous rights forums in Geneva and New York.

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100 Years On - Labour is still not a Commodity

Its constitution still strikes a chord for those of us fighting for workers' rights:

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Your voice, our system

The forums will focus on mental health & addiction services, Māori health inequities, and disability services.

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Fearsome fighter

That’s because when she’s not involved in a tough round of negotiations, or doing her day job as a forensic technician, Kelly is likely to be found in the Muay Thai kickboxing ring.

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A lifetime of discovery

As a curator of the hugely popular Awesome Forces exhibition at Te Papa Museum, and co-presenter of TV show, Coast New Zealand, he has also helped bring science to a wider audience.

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Unity in Diversity

In the workplace union members seek to be visible, vocal and valued but for some workers being visible is a risk - not a right they are afforded.

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