“2 cents … radical change”

by Johnson Witehira

As the email dialogue continues to unfold (see Email Tautoko), Johnson Witehira shares his two cents’ worth here on Designers Speak (Up) —

Kia ora koutou,

I’ve been following all of this and to mihi to Catherine and Cathy. Both doing great work. Just a few things to raise from my viewpoint.

1. DINZ Diversity Review

Whatever this is, DINZ should be supporting this by fronting up with $$$$ to support it. This doesn’t mean paying people to attend. However, any organisation going through an external review doesn’t expect it to be done for free, or for it to organise itself. This is ridiculous. I agree with you Catherine, that it should happen “without orchestration from the Designers Institute”, however no one on the outside is really putting up their hands. We’re all busy as hell. I don’t know what the cost of something like this is. DINZ needs to do some investigation here into costing and finding an appropriate external convenor/auditor for this process. It might be best to have 2–3 hui. Auckland, Wellington + Christchurch on these issues. Again, supported for and organised — though not necessarily moderated/ facilitated — by DINZ. Perhaps some kind of on-line hui, or qualitative research/questionaire should go out to members also. This would reach those not in the main centres. I would suggest contact with Design Assembly during this process. They are an example of a local design organisation in which diversity (social, cultural and gender-based) has always been part of the wider kaupapa.

2. DINZ + Aotearoa Naming

In 2016 I suggested to Cathy that DINZ should have a Māori name included in the name or to have a supplementary Māori name. I said I was happy to develop this, but was told I couldn’t as Ngā Aho [as the Māori partner] have the mandate to do anything Māori in DINZ. This also seemed ridiculous to me, as it suggests the existence on one ‘authentic’ Māori organisation + point of view, and hence another hierarchy/wall. Anyway, the kaupapa itself is still a great one. Maybe Elisapeta, you might want to take this back to Ngā Aho?

Hei anō. That’s my 2 cents. Looking forward to seeing how this develops. I wouldn’t say I’m feeling positive about this based on how slowly DINZ have moved (or refused to move) in the past. However, I think we’re at the point where anything but radical change will be seen as too little too late.

Ngā mihi,

Johnson Witehira / designer, artist, Ngā Puhi (Ngai-tā-te-auru), Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), Pākeha

2 thoughts on ““2 cents … radical change””

  1. Well said Johnson. I think the obvious first step would be for DINZ to define a project, engage a consultant to lead it and allow the contractor to develop a process aligned with the project’s aims. Then it’s up to the executive and secretariat to listen to the views of members.

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