Connections! Hui

The Connections! Hui brings together ethnic therapists and community workers from across Aotearoa to talk about how to prevent and respond to family violence and sexual violence in our communities.

It began in 2019 as a cumulative approach by ethnic people to prevent and respond to sexual violence in our communities. It has continued as a means by which we can all stay in touch with the progress and challenges in this space.

Connections Hui 2023

zoom screenshot of minister and staff

This year, the focus was on the intersectionalities and the areas of work.

The Hui was opened by Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who shared some of the progress in this space. She mentioned Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy to Eliminate Violence, which ensures that there is a direction, a mandate and a plan to achieve this. She also showed her appreciation and thanked all practitioners present for the work they do with our communities; she knows it is hard, she was one of us before becoming a member of Parliament, as most of her work was in the family and sexual violence prevention space.

After the Minister’s speech, participants went into breakout rooms. We divided in groups according to the people we work with: children, youth, older people, people with disabilities, rainbow/LGBT+ communities, women and men. In the afternoon session, we went into breakout rooms according to areas of work: prevention, crisis, healing, research, advocacy and training.

At the feedback session, we found out what was talk in the different rooms. More resources for all the areas was a clear message. We must resolve the inequity of resources, considering the number of ethnic people in the country. This is the only way to increase the number of services to cover the whole country, to have robust research that can inform policymakers about how violence impacts our communities, to provide more resources so advocates (usually volunteers) can better support people in their communities without getting burnt out, more resources so ethnic communities can develop and grow their own models for prevention and healing, based in our cultures, values and knowledge. Participants at the hui presented these and many other ideas and solutions. All the insights is in a report embedded below.

connections hui group screenshot

Connections! Hui September 2022 – Preventing Sexual Violence with Ethnic Communities

On September 21st we hosted the final Connections! Hui of the year.
In this session we explored prevention of sexual and family violence projects already underway in ethnic communities. We had the opportunity to hear from Muslim community groups, ethnic rainbow organisations, youth programmes and more. Between the groups they have taken various strategies from developing resources to poster campaigns to art projects within their communities. This was a unique opportunity for us to hear what is working for some ethnic groups and collectively reflect on: would this work in my community? How or what would I have to do differently?


  • Cayathri Divakalala – Adhikaar Aotearoa 
  • Iman Husain & Dana Abusaleh – Yasmina Community Trust 
  • Sandra Blanco – ALAC
  • Imogen Stone – Dear EM

Watch the video of the hui here

Connections! Hui June 2022

On the 29th of June, we met and explored, from an ethnic perspective, the 6 key changes or ‘shifts’ to eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand, outlined in Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy adopted by the government. 

We were joined by representatives from the Joint Venture Business Unit (JVBU), who explained what each shift means and the actions attached to it. We broke into smaller groups to look at each shift and what they mean to us. It’s important that our collective work aligns and contributes to the national strategy.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the 29th.

You can watch the JVBU presentation here

You can read the report of the hui here

Connections! Hui March 2022

The March 2022 Connections! Hui marked the second hui of it’s kind.  This time, Shama hosted the hui alongside the Hon. Marama Davidson, Minister for the Prevention of Family violence and Sexual violence. The focus was on the progress achieved since the 2019 hui, we came together to answer the questions: what has happened? What still needs to happen?

Connections! Hui June 2019

In June 2019 ethnic therapists and community workers from across Aotearoa came together at the Grand Hall of Parliament House to start conversations about how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in our communities. We put together the findings from the hui into 4 papers (see below) that were used by government to develop their new strategy, Te Aorerekura.

You can find more about about the 2019 hui here.

‘I didn’t know who to reach out to’ is one of the most common things that Shama workers hear, when someone approaches us to ask questions about sexual harm, or family violence.

“The first Connections! Hui was what gave me the push to get more professionally involved in this work” says Joanna. Joanna now runs the Shama Long Term Therapeutic Service and supports ethnic therapists to engage and discuss best practice for working with ethnic clients.

Joanna explains that “While it is true that all people working in this area want to do a good job, it’s also important that ethnic therapists and ethnic community workers can come together as a network, to talk about issues specific to our communities and to design solutions that fit us perfectly.”

While there are many different organisations working in this area in Aotearoa New Zealand, often people who are looking for help are not sure if mainstream organisations will understand the context and needs of survivors from ethnic communities.

If you’d like to stay informed about the Connections Hui and the process of eliminating sexual and family violence in New Zealand., please subscribe to the Connections Newsletter below

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