Welcome to The Aunties – I’m Jackie. I’m the Aunty In Charge. This is my ninth year of working with people who are living or who have lived in DV.
If you’re curious about what I/we do, it is simply this. I am the interface between a number of community organisations and their clients, the Aunties whānau of 27 women healing from intimate partner/sexual violence, and a community of people called The Aunties.
Aunty Phil also works with the women.
There are only two of us who work on the frontline, as it were. There is a Board of 8 people (including Phil and I, who are self employed and independent contractors). These are all people I have hand picked for their skills and life experience. They are: our chairperson, Moeroa Marsters, our secretary Julie, our treasurer Hils, and board members Phil, Paul, Sally, Jackson (and me). Our patron is Michèle A’Court, and the rest of the Aunties are all of you who give money and stuff to the people who make up our whānau of women.
The Aunties believe that everyone has the right to live with self-determination, dignity, and knowledge of their mana, in recognition of the value, joy and beauty of their true selves. We are a collective of people inspired to share our power, knowledge, passion, and resources with whānau who have lived in violence, however that may manifest.
The Aunties will walk alongside whānau to āwhi, guide, listen, and to provide a voice until whānau are confident enough to walk in their own power.
In September 2016, I started doing this job full time after 3 1/2 years of doing it in conjunction with my paid job teaching, and in May 2018, I started getting paid by the Aunties, and a kind philanthropist. Half my salary is paid by her. We pay Phil $2000 a month for her time. (She already has a fulltime job, and does this on TOP of it). Both these salaries come out of the people account that generous donors subscribe to specifically for that purpose.
Over 99% of funds raised every year and paid into the general charity account are spent directly on the women and organisations we walk alongside. (Our overheads are very low. We pay $2500 for our storage unit every year, $200 for our private bag, and I think $80 a year for the website hosting and email addresses).
This is a rundown of our jobs.
Phil coordinates donations – this includes the storage space, liaising with Aunty Mac and our Storage Queens who are two of the women I have worked with mostly closely in the past, and still do – of stuff and furniture, and larger items. She organises the monthly $350 Pak N Save cards that are given to each of the whānau women, applies for grants, coordinates with some organisations when needed, organises Xmas for the Te Whānau Rangimarie families, organises birthday boxes for all the kids of the 27 whānau women, goes to appointments with women if I’m not available, and the women contact her if they need anything in particular. Her home is also a drop off point for donations.
She is an absolute star and I have no idea what we would do without her.
I provide emotional support for our Aunties whānau of 27 women – I refer them to other agencies if needed, liaise with our counsellors, go to mediation meetings/parole board hearings/meetings with OT and any other agency where they require moral support and advocacy. This could be disability agencies and mental health or addiction service providers also. I spend time with each of them on a monthly basis. A lot of my job revolves around being there for the big/bad stuff, and lighting the way for them as they negotiate the minefield that is life after trauma.
I do all the social media for the Aunties, and all online fundraising through these channels. I also do all media for the Aunties, currently.
I am very happy to come and talk to your community group, or to a morning tea at your office, to talk about what we do, and why it works!
I network, and have working relationships, with the following organisations:
- New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective in Auckland
- Te Whānau Rangimarie
- Tauranga Women’s Refuge
- Te Whare Tiaki, Porirua Māori Women’s Refuge
- Clendon Teen Parenting Unit
- Auckland Action Against Poverty
- Oranga Tamariki
- Family Success Matters
- Inner City Women’s Group
- The Aunties have several lawyers onboard who do soliciting work and barristering as required, and I liaise with them.
I provide peer support and mentorship for several social workers from 3 organisations.
I provide emotional support for around 750 people a year via email, and through phone calls. These are largely white middle class women who just need somebody to tell their story to, or who need advice on how to get out of an abusive relationship.
I connect with many hundreds of people a year, and the networks are built completely organically. This is how we have always worked. It has to grow slowly and sustainably. We can only go at the speed of trust. That’s really important.
The one thing I do not do is work with clients of refuge organisations. All of the women in the aunties whānau are out of their historic abusive relationships. I do not, as some people believe, assist people to get out of violent relationships. That job is done by refuge services, and the police.
The Aunties primary focus is to provide the material needs of, and emotional succour for, the women in our whānau. We get our girls their shit. Simple as.
The organisations/people we support are: Te Rōopu O Te Whānau Te Rangimariē O Tamaki Makaūrau; The NZ Prostitute’s Collective; Care NZ; social workers from Family Start, Strive, and several other community organisations. These agencies access our storage unit and refer clients to me.
You can see our performance reports, ending March 2021 here.
This community of donors has been carefully collated over the last 9 years, and I am a bit demanding, because the people we serve in the community deserve the very best at a really vulnerable time of their lives. And when people are healing, they need to be allowed the time and space to do that without a whole lot of worries on their plate. When people need what you have, I expect that you give without strings attached. Stuff is the vehicle for love. My personal kaupapa is about redressing imbalance left from the effects of colonisation.
We are about our whānau, primarily. Their needs come first. This needs to be remembered at all times.
And the women you are giving to feel your love. I assure you of this. When people are given crap, and not what they need, they feel like crap. And when they feel like crap already, I believe that the poor quality of what’s been given to them compounds their pain, and does them more damage. I’ve seen it. And I’ve also seen -see it every day – the restorative and healing power of things that are given with heart, care, and thoughtfulness.
They are so grateful to the community of donors who make their lives easier and more liveable.
If you think you can provide anything on this list, send Phil an email and take it from there. The process for donations works like this: You contact Phil, or me, she or I gives you the drop off details – we have 3. My mum, Phil, and Mac for bulk donations . Mac and Phil take your donations to our storage unit. One of the women who’s part of the Aunties whānau organises the storage quality checking donations, and putting everything away, and meets other women in need down there so that they are able to access what we have.
Social workers, Te Whare Marama refuge, and Te Whanau Rangimarie staff go by themselves to get what their clients need.
Once there, they get to pick and choose what they need/want – by and large, this is towels/bedding/clothes for them and their children. I no longer meet women at the storage unit and spend time with them, Kiri and Dianne do those bits.
This is the main reason that the Aunties stands out in this field – we cater for women’s specific needs, and they get what they need/want when they need/want it. Including lots of love, if that’s what they’re after. We also operate as a whānau and a community of support – turning the traditional model of charity as a relationship between donors and beneficiaries on it’s head. We support each other.
Please note: we only operate in Auckland. If you are in Wellington, one of the Aunties moved down there and is co-ordinating donations for Te Whare Tīaki, Porirua Māori Women’s Refuge. This is currently only via Twitter. You can find their account @ponekeaunties. In Christchurch, there are the Christchurch Aunties
Susan Devoy has set up the Tauranga Aunties, they can be found here.
If you live elsewhere in NZ, please contact your local women’s refuge, and ask them what they need. You can find links and contact details here.
This is a grassroots effort to support quite a large number of people, and to meet their needs.
I am available for public speaking, and have experience of keynote speaking.
I have given keynote speeches at:
Youth Declaration Conference 2019.
Women In Leadership symposium 2019
PRINZ conference 2019
itSMFnz conference 2019
The Teen Parent Unit National Conference 2019
I was a recipient of a Women’s Fund awards 2018, was a nominee for NZ Woman Of The Year Awards, New Zealander of The Year, was category winner and supreme winner of the Women Of Influence Awards 2018 and was a medallist in the Local Hero Of The Year Awards, 2017. I recieved a QSM in the 2019 New Year Honours List.
I am regularly asked to speak to relevant groups, and I really enjoy the chance to get our name out there. If you are a smaller or community group, I will come and speak to you for a koha to the Aunties. If you are a corporate, or professional body, my speaking fee is $3000 incl GST. This is set deliberately quite high because I leave every bit of myself on a stage.
We thank you for your compassion and care, and your ongoing emotional and practical support of the women that we walk alongside.
The Aunties is a registered charitable trust.
Our registration number is: CC54387
The Aunties public twitter is @aunties_the
OR Jackie can be reached at:
Or come and check out our Facebook page!