Former chair reflects on highlights

  • Last November (2019) former board chair Zoe Hawke was farewelled by HPF after completing her three terms. Upon her departure Hauora Newsletter asked Ms Hawke, who is the Community Engagement, Policy & Advocacy Manager at the Mental Health Foundation to reflect on what some of her highlights were while serving on the Board, her work at MHF and what has become somewhat of a passion of hers, building the Like Mind Like Mine (LMLM) work into a movement

    Zoe opens her gifts at a farewell morning tea hosted by the HPF team.

Q: When you look back at your time on HPF’s board, as a member and then chair from 2017, what are some of the highlights for you? A: Working with clever and thoughtful board members, watching Sione and his ethical leadership, World Health Promotion Conference in Rotorua last year, seeing the amount of work the small HPA team pump out – great things can come from a small team. Q: What were some of the most memorable parts of the conference for you? A: Keynote speakers were amazing, the focus on indigenous speakers – fabulous. Great to meet so many people from around the world with health promotion passion   Favourite keynote speaker quote: “Tuhoe thousands of years old, Governments have three-year terms. So really we are working with 3-year-old.”

Zoe speaking at the global health promotion conference in Rotorua last year. (2019)

Q: Can you tell us a bit about what your role as Community Engagement, Policy & Advocacy Manager at the Mental Health Foundation entails and what is the most rewarding parts about your job? A: I manage two teams at MHF, the Community Engagement/Health Promotion team and the Policy and Advocacy team. Both roles keep very busy, both teams also consist of amazingly clever and passionate people who work in a real collective way to increase mental wellbeing for our communities. Both teams work together to making submissions to central and local government, connecting with communities, iwi, hapū whānau, gathering real-life insights from our networks, providing policy advice from these insights and by informing the public about opportunities to get involved though our community engagement work, resource development, training, media work, newsletters and social channels. Together we focus on systemic advocacy rather than providing individual advocacy support. Our vision is to move away from developing policy and resources in isolation, to a place where we are working closely with communities, hapū, iwi, lived experienced,  and where we work with other organisations as a united front to create the change that is needed. Q: Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Ottawa Charter are the core documents from which the Foundation’s principles and values are based. How is this reflected in its work? A: We have a Māori development strategy aligned to the broader Mental Health Foundation (MHF) Strategy.  The purpose of this strategy is to support the MHF in becoming more responsive to Māori  and developing into an organisation where we are the best Treaty Partners that we can possibly be.  Specifically, the strategy enables the MHF to develop internal capability in Tikanga and Te Ao Māori and external capability in building relationships and engagement with Māori. The Māori Development Strategy highlights the MHF ongoing commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi through guiding and prioritising our work to support the flourishing of Māori.  The strategy strongly recognises: The partnership foundation for Aotearoa/NZ underpinned by the Tiriti o Waitangi; The aspiration of Whānau, Hapū and Iwi for self-determination;The history of colonisation and the inter-generational trauma and inequitable social outcomes it created and the significant inequities o f mental health and wellbeing outcomes for Māori. MHF is also a staunch supporter of the The Ottawa Charter, and its underlying message that to improve the health of populations and individuals there is a need to look wider than just providing public health services. Q: Anything new on the horizon? A: We are really looking forward to revamping our Like Mind Like Mine (LMLM) work to create more of a social movement that ends discrimination and prejudice against those in mental distress. The LMLM work is a bit of a passion of mine, and I really look forward to creating the movement.  It is unacceptable how many people are discriminated against because of their mental distress, It’s time to stand up against this discrimination and prejudice. We are starting to build the movement on many levels, including our community grants. The grants are looking for projects designed to encourage people to be ‘Upstanders/Tūmāia” in your whānau/ hapū/iwi/community. Standing up against the discrimination and prejudice of people experiencing mental distress.   (Banner photo: HPF Kaumatua Richard Wallace, Zoe Hawke, Sharon Kennedy-Muru (Board member) and HPF CE Sione Tu’itahi)