Whaea Kātarina Daniels, Te Ū Hui-ā-motu
I umm’ed and arr’ed about which of the many photos we have taken this year to enter into LabourStart’s photo of the year competition. It was tempting to choose one of union members marching or campaigning in public for a better world. For instance this one of staff and students in a torrential Wellington downpour appealed.
However, in the end I chose this one of Whaea Kā at Hui-ā-motu, the annual meeting of Māori members of our union TEU. Whaea Kāterina Daniels is a kaumātua (elder) sharing her knowledge with the new and upcoming Māori leaders in our union. She’s supporting the union with not just her knowledge and wisdom but her passion and excitement.
I chose this photo for three reasons. The first is that, although it’s not technically the best photo taken, it’s an example of what unions should be about; it is a photo of a member taken by a member who came up and asked to help. We gave her the camera and she took photos throughout the meeting.
Secondly it records the ordinary day to day work that union members do to keep their unions strong, gather together discuss what needs doing and plan how to do it. In between the large strikes and massive banners it is this less glamorous work down by active delegates and members that keep our unions alive.
Thirdly the look of enjoyment on Whaea Kā’s face reminds us that what we are doing should be fun.