This National Volunteer Week, meet two of our awesome volunteers

Isabella sitting down at her desk, the wall behind her has a collection of beautiful artwork
Isabella Lenihan-Ikin

I’m Isabella Lenihan-Ikin. I live in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington with my partner Kaeden, but spent my first eighteen years with my parents and older brother in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. I’m of Scottish, Irish and English descent, from the Macrae Clan in the Scottish Highlands.

When and how did you get involved with ActionStation?
In 2020, I used the petition platform for various campaigns that we ran at the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, where I was the National President. As a small organisation with limited resources, this platform and the help and guidance we received from Eliot (the former OurActionStation Coordinator) was immense. Eliot asked me to come on board as a volunteer in September 2021, and I’ve been in this role since.

What attracted you to this organisation in particular?
What attracted to work with ActionStation, was the ability for the organisation to articulate a vision for a better Aotearoa, and a better world, guided by a strong set of values and people-powered change. In the early years of ActionStation, I really loved the work done with the People’s Mental Health Inquiry. It paved the way for the Government’s Inquiry into Mental Health, and although there is still a lot more work that can be done, I think that the work of ActionStation was definitely a catalyst for change.

In 2020, I worked alongside staff at ActionStation and JustSpeak on the cannabis referendum. Through the work we did together, it was really clear to me that ActionStation was not just committed to short-term wins, but to transforming the entire system so that it was fairer and more equitable for everyone. Even though the referendum didn’t go the way we had hoped, ActionStation’s mahi for a fairer justice system has continued, because the organisation is committed to long-term and intersection justice.

Isabella progressing other causes she believes in

What are your activities and what do they involve?
Essentially my role is to mentor and support campaigners who create campaigns on the OurActionStation platform. Once they have submitted their campaign, we work with them to develop the strategy of the campaign, including the ‘ask’, and how the petition can be worded and designed to be the most successful. This involves working with the campaign creator, the Member Review Panel, ActionStation staff and often other members of the community as well. I’m really enjoying learning more about the back-end of the OurActionStation site so that the petition works best for the issue.

What motivates you to stay involved?
I think it is the same reason as what attracted me to ActionStation — its value-driven work. Through this volunteering role, I’ve been able to get a greater taste of the day-to-day work that ActionStation does. The values that ActionStation holds tight have a very pragmatic element too, and are woven into the decisions we make, and support we provide. Value-driven work is often easier said than done, but in my opinion ActionStation does a great job of leading with and living by the organisation’s values.

What other organisations or causes do you support?
My day job is as a political campaigner for NZEI Te Riu Roa, which is an education union led by teachers, principals and other kaimahi in primary schools, kura, early childhood centres and kohanga reo across Aotearoa. I’m also the Co-President of the Aotearoa Legal Workers’ Union, which is a newly established union to support lawyers and legal workers who mainly work in the private sector.

And what do you enjoy when you are not busy lending us a hand?
I’ve recently finished studying towards my LLB at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, and am in a sweet spot before I begin my Masters of Science in the UK in September. I’m enjoying completing half-finished sewing projects and spending time with family and friends before I move!

What are you enjoying reading/listening to/watching for the moment?I’m currently reading Down from Upland by Murdoch Stephens and have just finished the latest season of Borgen.

Ngā mihi nui, Isabella!

Oliver smiling, standing in front of a bench on a trail head.
Oliver Bailey

Kia ora, ko Oliver Bailey tōku ingoa. I was born in England but was lucky enough to grow up in Mohua, Golden Bay. My partner and I have been living in Whanganui for about 6 months.

When and how did you get involved with ActionStation?
I first joined the pilot for the Tauiwi Tautoko project in late 2018, bringing compassion and anti-racism activism to online forums, and have remained in the online activism space since then.

What attracted you to the cause?
ActionStation has always been at the heart of a lot of kaupapa I care about, such as justice transformation, creating a more compassionate welfare system and the conservation campaigns to protect endangered species. I am also drawn to online activism because it has the ability to reach a wide range of communities and it’s both hopeful and inspiring to see that others around the country care about the same things.

What do we make you do as a volunteer for ActionStation?
For the past 2 years I have been moderating comments on ActionStation’s Facebook page, which involves ensuring they meet our moderation policy, as well as keeping communicating about what goes on on the platform with the staff team. I have also managed comments and helped facilitate interaction for a livestream event.

A quote from Dr Moana Jackson that says, “No one’s exercise of free speech should make another feel less free.”
ActionStation’s FB moderation motto

What motivates you to stay involved?
Volunteers provide such an important support to a busy Not for Profit organisation and so making sure I’m fulfilling my role means the core team members can spend more time advocating for awesome kaupapa and organising larger campaigns.

What other organisations or causes do you support?
I donate to a few organisations, particularly People Against Prisons Aotearoa. I always try to support and share their mahi where possible, to end incarceration as part of the broader fight against inequality and colonisation.

And what do you enjoy when you are not busy lending us a hand?
I am trying to get back into both tramping this year, especially around Taranaki and Ruapehu, as well as read more books and using the library here.

What are you enjoying reading/listening to/watching for the moment?

I’m gradually working my way through all of the Taringa podcast episodes which is always a treat with so much to learn and absorb. And on the reading side I have just finished the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe Oliver!

Note: Email ann@actionstation.org.nz if you are interested in offering your time and skills to ActionStation

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ActionStation

ActionStation

Community campaigning organisation bringing people together to act in powerful and coordinated ways to create a fair and flourishing Aotearoa for all.