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Undoing the Trump Effect: How New Zealanders can take action

Thursday 10th November 2016

Trump has highlighted why it’s more important than ever to start undermining the hate, anger and frustration brewing in all parts of the world.

Photo: AFP

After the unbelievable result last night, there are a lot of depressed people today. It may seem odd that so many of us care about the result of an election 14,000kms away, but to use a cliche, it truly feels like when America sneezes, the rest of us catch a cold.

New Zealanders joined in the despair that ripped through social media, feeling like Trump’s win was a loss for humanity in general. That feeling of despair, mixed in with frustration and bewilderment? That's the Trump Effect. 

Media reports are already noting the slew of racism, sexism and Islamophobia gathering momentum in America and some are worried it might spill out of the borders into our own little country. Additionally, a Trump presidency doesn’t look good for businesses in New Zealand.

But the fact is, despite the economic or social impact it will have here, things have needed improvement in New Zealand long before Trump was elected and they’ll need improving after Trump.

Trump is not the reason for the sexism and racism that exists in New Zealand. He’s not the reason for our high rates of suicide, mental illness and violence toward women. He’s not even responsible for the bullying of gay and trans children in our schools or the inequality of pay between races.

But he has highlighted why it’s more important than ever to start undermining the hate, anger and frustration brewing in all parts of the world.

Organisations and individuals around New Zealand have been doing this for decades and now is a perfect to volunteer time, resources, and special skills in an effort to undo the Trump Effect. In no way an exhaustive list, here are some simple suggestions of ways to pull the middle finger to hate.

We’d also love to hear your suggestions of things we’ve missed so comment below or 
email them through!

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  • The Soup Kitchen in Wellington need volunteers to help serving breakfast and dinner six days a week. Like many organisations, they get no government funding so they also need help on collection days and always appreciate food donations!

  • Auckland City Mission use up to 4,000 volunteers each year. Their website has a list of things they currently need help with, from sorters, shop assistants to community drivers.

  • Volunteers are needed to answer calls on the crisis phone line at Women’s Refuge in Wellington. Other local women’s refuge need volunteers too, so call or check out their websites. Women’s Refuge also gratefully accept donations of clothing and houseware for women and children escaping violent homes.  

  • Shakti New Zealand, an organisation working with women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin in development, empowerment and domestic violence intervention, is urgently looking to fill several paid positions. These include a finance officer, English teacher and social workers. They also appreciate interns and work experience students.

  • Starship Children’s Hospital and Foundation need people to undertake a variety of tasks including administration, fundraising and help with events.

  • Ronald McDonald Houses in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland are always on the lookout for volunteers to help. It could be as simple as helping clean or as complex as cooking meals for families with sick children.

  • New Zealand Red Cross is hunting for people to help refugee families settling in New Zealand. This is an especially good option for those who know a second language. Volunteer tasks can include setting up a home for a refugee family, helping the family enrol with schools and doctors, or showing them how to use public transport.

  • The Department of Conservation has volunteering gigs all over the country. You can also get involved in DOC events or run your own project in your community.

  • Sometimes people just need cake. Good Bitches Baking is a network of people who show kindness to those having a tough time in the form of home baking. Your sweet treats can go to anyone, from families with children in hospital, those using food banks or residents in hospice.

  • If you’re a lawyer, your special skills and knowledge are needed in Community Law centres around the country. Volunteers give free one-on-one legal help to people who wouldn't otherwise have funds to access legal aid.

  • Seek.co.nz has a brilliant search database for those looking to helpout in an area of interest like animal welfare, arts and culture, or justice. There are opportunities all the country for people with diverse skills and interests.



Join the discussion »

“I went to graduate school and lived in the Deep South in Mississippi and Alabama for three and a half years and again for a year as a Fulbright Scholar. I saw hatred, fear and aggression and love courage and determination to help those without a voice, speak.
I met many wonderful people, learned a lot, was horrified at the paradoxes of race and colour and finally knew I had to come home as I stopped seeing and started accepting what was around me in 1972.
Many white folks from the South fought long and hard and at great personal cost for civil rights for black Americans. I knew some.
I have no great wisdom to pass on but as a Kiwi I am determined that the hatred and division I have seen and been part of will not be my legacy to my granddaughters. My mother lived through the London blitz and I am reminded of what she used to say when things were bad "The darkest hour is before the dawn". I feel that the current American divisions are right back where I was over thirty years ago.
Love is required of course, and we need personal courage to front up to ourselves and our kiwi society right now, and a determination to be exemplars of freedom, charity and diversity.
I totally support community building activities as one vital way to share and learn to accept who we kiwis really are.
Dai ” — Dai Gilbertson


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Mava is a journalist for The Wireless.
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