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

Tēnā koutou e te whānau

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Obituary: Lynn Middleton

PSA’s first female national secretary and equal pay leader

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Working for Free

From November 18 New Zealand women effectively began working for free until the end of the year because of the 11.9% pay gap between men and women.

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Kindly leading the way to Equal Pay

As women began working for free in New Zealand on November 18, the PSA was working hard on a number of fronts to close the gender pay gap.

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Stand Up for Library Workers

Local government library assistants launched a campaign on November 22 to raise awareness of their equal pay claim and the work they do.

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Stark statistics help fight for equal pay and transparency

More than a third of PSA members or 27,291 of you shared your pay information with us in our first union-wide pay survey in September.

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CTU Conference: “We are delivering, but we have so much more to deliver”

The CTU Biennial conference in October was an opportunity to reflect on the significant gains made for working people during the Government’s first two years in power - and to challenge it to go further.

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Fair Pay Agreements will give workers a fairer deal

The PSA and other unions believe Fair Pay Agreements will offer a fairer deal for many of this country’s most vulnerable workers.

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Honours for workers on frontline

PSA members were to the fore as the Public Service Day awards
were announced in November.

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PSAY Hui Inspires Success

Inspirational speeches at this year’s PSA Youth Hui have propelled Elvisa Van Der Leden into a seat at the council table.

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Pasefika Voices on Climate Strike

“We must change our practices of ignorance and neglect”

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

There’s a mix of old and new amongst the Sector Māngai elected at Public Sector, DHB and Combined sector hui in August and September.

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Reducing Māori Health Inequities

Appearing before the Māori Affairs Select Committee to speak to the Inquiry into Health Inequities for Māori was “awe-inspiring” for Allan Franks.

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

From small town Aotearoa to the United Nations – it’s been a big year for one PSA member from Te Puni Kokiri.

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100 Years On - Labour is still not a Commodity

The 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organisation this year is a timely reminder of its continued relevance.

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Your voice, our system

The PSA is hosting regional and online health forums in December to give members another opportunity to have their say in the reshaping of services.

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Fearsome fighter

PSA delegate Kelly Broerse says her colleagues at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Auckland are used to her showing up at work with black eyes and bruises.

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A lifetime of discovery

Geologist, science communicator and PSA member Hamish Campbell can look back on forty years of “exploration, adventure and discovery” as he retires this year.

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Unity in Diversity

Out@PSA is getting active at Pride celebrations and beyond

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