Two weekends ago, Adhikaar Aotearoa’s co-founders, Vinod and Cayathri, came together with two of their trustees, Kiran and Shawn , for our very first Adhikaar Aotearoa hui! Our other trustee, Shaneel, unfortunately wasn’t able to make it - but we made sure to send them pics of all the fun!
Since Adhikaar Aotearoa’s creation at the beginning of 2021, our small team of five has hit the ground running. We’ve been working tirelessly on back to back projects - including the Adhikaar Report, delivering LGBTQIA+ sensitivity training to judges, creating a culturally astute resource hub for queer South Asians, and so much more. We’re still in the first half of the year, but it’s already shaping up to be our busiest one yet.
With that being said, we also wanted to find time to connect as a team. Given that we all have other full-time commitments, this was the first time that the four of us were able to meet in person (and Kiran and Shawn’s first time meeting Cayathri) to discuss our goals as an organisation for the future. We also wanted to think about what Adhikaar Aotearoa will look like 5 months from now, 5 years from now, and even 50 years from now. What will our role in creating an equitable future be?
After we set our intentions for the weekend, we completed a mapping exercise looking at the current picture of ethnic, particularly South Asian, queer people’s experiences in Aotearoa. This helped us to create a vision board of our aspirations for the future. Using our community’s feedback, we figured out some steps for getting there.
The weekend was filled with planning, laughter, honest conversations, and a whole lot of food. For Cayathri (she/her), her biggest takeaway was the deepening of our relationships. “My belief in the power of intergenerational queer friendships and a social change has been refreshed after this weekend.” For Shawn (they/them), they left feeling a sense of safety and renewed sense of inspiration. “I am eternally grateful for not only his chosen family but my wider chosen Rainbow whānau across this beautiful country we call home. I cannot wait for our visions and aspirations for a more equitable Aotearoa to come to life.”
For Kiran (he/they), he felt empowered by his fellow team members’ dedication to the cause. "It was really inspiring to see everyone's passion for our community. It motivates me to keep going." Similarly for Vinod (he/him), the hui provided the perfect opportunity for the team to get to know each other and feel confident about the work that’s ahead. "The weekend was super productive. We're excited for the future of Adhikaar Aotearoa."
We also made sure to check in with one another, and ensure that no one was feeling overwhelmed or burnt out with the busy workload. We all agreed on wanting to do some awesome mahi this year, but without compromising our wairua at the same time. We’re all here to support and lean on one another.
With our first hui of 2023 in the books, we’re feeling refreshed and motivated for the year that Adhikaar has ahead of us. Most of all, we’re excited to take you along for the journey!