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Alternative Aotearoa – A one-day seminar to provide solutions for the environmental, social and economic transformation of Aotearoa – Saturday 25 July, 8.30am Pipitea Marae, Wellington 
Advisory: A defining moment in post-pandemic debate – This Saturday, 25 July at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.


Representatives of a wide range of health, social justice and environmental organisations will speak at the seminar to propose an alternative approach to the “business as usual” proposals of mainstream politics.


We are delighted to have two marvellous New Zealanders, Justice Advocate Julia Whaipooti and 2020 New Zealander of the Year and President of Equity New Zealand Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand, to Co-chair the day.


Keynote speakers who will set the kaupapa for the day are the Director of Action Station Laura O’Connell Rapira and Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor Efeso Collins.


Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul and University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey will record and collate the presentations into a final report which will be available to the media and will be presented in person to each of the main political parties. 


We are thrilled with the calibre and integrity of the organisations and presenters throughout the various panels. These groups and individuals are the change-agents New Zealand so desperately needs at this critical time. 


The full final agenda is pasted at the end of this media advisory. Pasted here also are more details for each of the speakers.


The best opportunity for media to speak with the co-chairs and keynote speakers will be at the lunch break at 12 noon which will be set up as a media conference.


The event will be livestreamed in several places including

The video and transcribed presentations will be found asap after the seminar at  



Our main political parties, heavily influenced by corporate priorities, are keen for New Zealand to return to “business as usual” as soon as possible whereby a smaller group of wealthier people can continue to enjoy the benefits of economic development at the expense of the rest of the country. 


It was clear well before Covid 19 that “business as usual” had failed most of us. Despite the existential threat of climate change, for example, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise as policy decisions favour unsustainable economic growth over human welfare. Similar unacceptable failures are evident in biodiversity, fresh water, rivers and streams, poverty and inequality, health, education, housing, mental health, incarceration rates etc


If we go back to “business as usual” we will simply carry forward the myriad of social, environmental and economic problems from the pre-pandemic era, in particular the shocking levels of poverty and inequality which have disproportionately damaged Maori and Pasifika whanau and entire low-income communities. 

We need a “new normal” in our economy which focuses on strengthening and empowering local communities to work towards a more sustainable future. That debate will be carried forward at the seminar.


Co-chairs for the day:

Julia Whaipooti – Justice Advocate

Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand – 2020 New Zealander of the Year and President of Equity New Zealand


8. 30am Mihi Whakatau – Eugene Ryder


9am Keynote speakers (20 minutes each with time for questions)

                Laura O’Connell Rapira – Director of Action Station

                Efeso Collins – Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor


10am Health Solutions (10 minutes each speaker) 

                Teresa Wall – former deputy director-general of health

                Dr Jude Ball – Public Health Association

                Phil Bagshaw – Christchurch Charity Hospital

                Jane Stevens – mental health services advocate

                Ian Powell – former Executive Director of Assn of Salaried Medical Specialists


11am Workers’ Solutions (10 minutes each speaker) 

                Tina Barnett – Former Chair Skycity Employees Association

                Yvette Taylor – Campaign Team leader E tū Union

             Mike Treen – Director of Unite Union

             Anu Kaloti – Migrant Workers Association


12noon Lunch (A vegan lunch will be provided – a koha would be appreciated)


12.30pm Youth Solutions (10 minutes each organisation) 

                Oli Morphew and Tara Watkins – School strike for Climate

                Kalo Afeaki – Pacific Climate Warriors 

                Tiana Jakicevich – Te Ara Whatu


1.30pm Environmental Solutions (8 minutes each organisation) 

                Amanda Larsson – Greenpeace 

                Dr Mike Joy – Better Futures Forum

                Eleanor West – Generation Zero

                Haimana Hirini and Cally O’Neill – Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui a Tara

                Kevin Hague – Forest & Bird 

                Aaron Packard and Marcus Newton-Howes – 350 Aotearoa


2.30pm Social Solutions (8 minutes each speaker) 

                Frank Hogan – Child Poverty Action Group

                Kassie Hartendorp – Action Station 

                Liz Gordon – Quality Public Education Coalition

                Dani Pickering – People Against Prisons Aotearoa 

                Brooke Fiafia – Auckland Action Against Poverty

                Michael Sharp – State Housing Action Network

                Anjum Rahman – Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono


4pm Afternoon tea


4.30pm Economic Solutions (10 minutes each speaker) 

                   Tania Pouwhare – Social Intrapreneur at Auckland Council

                   Geoff Bertram – Economist with Victoria University 

                   Susan St John – Economist with Child Poverty Action Group


5.30pm Summary of the day – Presentation of the solutions for the environmental, social and       

                                                        economic transformation of Aotearoa

                   Tamatha Paul – Wellington City Councillor

                   Jane Kelsey – Law Professor University of Auckland  


6pm Finish


The seminar will be live streamed in several places – one of these is on the Daily Blog website at The video and transcribed presentations will be loaded as soon as possible after the seminar at


Details of Speakers


Laura O’Connell Rapira – Director of Action Station

Efeso Collins – Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor


Health Panel

Teresa Wall – Former deputy director-general of health

Dr Jude Ball – Former chair of the Wellington Branch of the Public Health Association and a Research Fellow in the Public Health Department, University of Otago, Wellington

Phil Bagshaw – Phil Bagshaw, General Surgeon University of Otago Christchurch; Chair, Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust

Jane Stevens – After the preventable death of her son Nicky while in the care of the mental health system 5 years ago, Jane has become a passionate advocate for transformational change to our mental health system

Ian Powell – A health commentator and editor of the ‘Second Opinion’ blog from Otaihanga and former Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists for 30 years


Workers Panel

Tina Barnett – Former Chair Skycity Employees Association

Yvette Taylor – Transformational Campaign Team Leader at E tū, Aotearoa’s largest private sector union.  Her work has mostly focused on organising low pay workers in aged care, cleaning and security to be active in the Living Wage campaign and building the wider broad based community movement

Mike Treen – National Director of Unite Union. Mike has been a campaigner against war and for economic and social justice since he was a high school student 

Anu Kaloti – Anu Kaloti, the President of Migrant Workers Association, actively fighting against exploitation of migrant workers and campaigning for better migrant rights since 2012


Youth Panel

Oli Morphew – Year 12 student at Wellington Girls College and an SS4C (School Strike for Climate) Wellington organiser

Tara Watkins – School strike for Climate

Kalo Afeaki – Pacific Climate Warriors 

Tiana Jakicevich – Te Ara Whatu


Environmental panel

Amanda Larsson – Amanda Larsson is a Swedish-born, Tāmaki Makaurau-based Climate and Energy Campaigner, who has been leading Greenpeace New Zealand’s policy work on the Covid-19 recovery 

Dr Mike Joy – Senior Researcher at Wellingtons Victoria University’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies and a founder member the Better Futures Forum. He is a freshwater ecologist, environmental scientist and activist

Eleanor West – Member of Generation Zero, a youth-led climate action organisation that mobilises New Zealanders to engage with decision-making and campaign for intergenerational climate justice

Haimana Hirini – Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui a Tara

Cally O’Neill – Participatory designer for sustainable architecture and social and environmental activism, with a focus on promoting participatory design in climate policy and political process transformation.

Kevin Hague – Kevin is the Chief Executive of Forest & Bird and a member of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, and was previously a Member of Parliament, public servant and community activist

Aaron Packard – Aaron Packard is the chairperson of 350 Aotearoa, and has spent the last 10 years working on global campaigns and projects for, from blockading coal ports to supporting climate activists to organise safely under repressive regimes

Marcus Newton-Howes – Member of 350 Aotearoa for the past four years


Social Panel

Frank Hogan – “A somewhat aging criminal defence barrister practising for over 45 years mainly in South Auckland now “transitioning “into an advocate for our most vulnerable-namely the children beset by inequality”

Kassie Hartendorp – Community Organiser at Action Station 

Liz Gordon – Quality Public Education Coalition

Dani Pickering – Community organiser for People Against Prisons Aotearoa and the #ArmsDownNZ campaign, and a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. Their research covers political activation and the growth of social movements.

Brooke Fiafia Pao – Daughter of the Pacific, Mama, and AAAP volunteer and media spokesperson

Michael Sharp – A lawyer who has been involved in a number of cases challenging government housing policy, helped to found a housing advocacy service based in Tauranga and is a spokesperson for the State Housing Action Network

Anjum Rahman – Project Lead of the Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono, a project developing a Strategy for Belonging and Inclusion for Aotearoa and seeking to implement it by bringing diverse communities together to work on shared goals


Economics Panel

Tania Pouwhare – Tania (Ngāi Tūhoe) is a social intrapreneur at Auckland Council’s social innovation team where she leads the strategic thinking on livelihoods, wealth and economic power in the context of south and west Auckland

Social Intrapreneur at Auckland Council

Geoff Bertram – Geoff Bertram is an economist at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington

Susan St John – Economist with Child Poverty Action Group, Director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre