Name: Hazel Hape
Place of work: Tauranga Women's Refuge & Support Services
What does your job involve?
Helping to keep the doors open — so women and children who experience domestic violence (physical, emotional, psychological) have access to safety and support. This involves supporting a small but specialist DV team of practitioners to provide support by way of crisis phone, safe house shelter, counselling, programmes, community education which means my job really involves scoping and securing funding and fundraising opportunities for the refuge so we can provide services and support to those that we support.
What is the main thing you want to achieve professionally?
There is nothing kind or good about beating, punching, choking, hitting, kicking, isolating, controlling and abusing those you are supposed to love, protect and support. Thus, kindness and generosity (awhi, tautoko, manaaki, aroha) is what I try to demonstrate and achieve in my work with women and children.
Why did you get into this profession?
I initially came to Tauranga in 1993 to study marine studies which involved scuba diving, surveying marine habitats and species for a couple of years and to reconnect with my maternal grandmother's iwi Ngati Pukenga and Ngaiterangi. I soon found myself working in the community and Non-Government Organisations across health, disability, justice, unemployment, education and welfare and I think growing up in a big family and whānau seeing our grandparents and parents helping families and whānau also contributed towards working with families and whānau.
What do you like about your job the most?
Every day is different but beautiful reminders of why we do what we do. Families turning up with their children to say they are well and doing okay, smiling, happy children calling in to say hello is awesome! A letter, poem, email, phone call, food drop, knitting, clothing, donation, bequest, furniture, washing our vehicles and a hug is cool!
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
That New Zealand has a violent and appalling history and statistics of violence and abuse towards women and children. Trying to operate a specialist domestic violence organisation that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year on the smell of an oily rag, then being required to apply to philanthropic, community funding trusts, gaming machines and run fundraising events to help keep the doors open so women and children have access to a safe place in Tauranga.
What is your proudest work moment?
Secretariat for Glenn Family Foundation and UN Commission on Status of Women, CSW58 (2014), New Zealand delegate was cool!
What is the best piece of career advice you've received?
Kindness and generosity costs nothing and stay away from toxic people.
What is the most important thing your current role has taught you?
I am grateful for my life, the people I love and who love me! Also, to love what you do.
Would you recommend your career to other women?
I would simply because the skills, expertise, bodies of knowledge, lived experiences and opportunity to be part of transforming the lives of women their children, families, whānau and communities is a privilege and humbling experience.
The Ladies Charity Luncheon on August 16 at Trustpower Baypark is raising money for Tauranga Women's Refuge.