December 2012 News

Addressing Human Trafficking

In December 2011, a group of Religious met in Auckland following an NGO forum held in Wellington on the theme, Pacific Trafficking in Persons. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possible formation of a group to address human trafficking and associated human rights abuses in New Zealand. Present at both the forum and subsequent Auckland meeting were representatives of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans).

In February this year, 12 Religious representing nine Congregations joined together in Auckland to discern how best to address human trafficking issues in New Zealand. With the support and encouragement of ACRATH and CLCANZ, New Zealand Religious Against Trafficking of Humans (NZRATH) came into being. In addition to regular group meetings, NZRATH hosted a public meeting at which researchers investigating human rights abuses (trafficking) of crew on Foreign Charter Fishing Vessels made an excellent presentation. Alan Bell, Director of ECPAT Child Alert (child exploitation and child prostitution) also addressed the group. While NZRATH has yet to finalise its major focus of action, there is significant room within the Catholic and wider community for group members’ wide-ranging educational skills to be used in addressing human trafficking and associated human rights abuses. ACRATH, which has been working for several years on human trafficking matters, particularly through education, media and advocacy at all levels (including Parliamentary), will host a three day conference in Sydney (February 2013) which will be attended by two members of NZRATH, including Jacqui Ryan OP. Please keep this new inter-congregational justice initiative in your prayers.

Hana Maxwell-Mathias and the Faith of the Artist

Each year the Auckland Dominican family meets in April near the feast of St Catherine of Siena and in November near the feast of All Dominican Saints.

On Sunday 4 November this year, Helen Bergin OP opened the afternoon gathering with prayer and reflection around St Martin de Porres. We then had a presentation on the “Faith of the Artist” by Hana Maxwell-Mathias. Hana is a member of our Dominican family and lives in Whangarei. Hana has hapu affliations in the Whangarei area to Ngati Hau, Te Waiariki, Ngati Korora, Ngati Taka, Ngati Kahu o Torongare, Ngati Hine and Ngati Wai. In the Hokianga she is affiliated to Te Pouka, Ngati Wharara, Ngati Korokoro, Te Hikutu and Te Mahurehure.

Hana became well known to a number of the sisters and laity when she worked for several years at Pompallier Diocesan Centre as the Executive Office for the National Catholic Runanga. What many of us had not known was that on returning to Whangarei in the mid-1990s, Hana took up studies in te reo (the Maori language) and then applied art at Northland Polytechnic. Hana talked about the different projects she worked on in her art course, many of them directly linked to her faith. One of these was a study of the churches in and around the Hokianga. This study included photographs, clay models of the churches and prints done on bamboo leaf. She also made a collection of Rosary beads, using a wide range of media. These are now held by Pa Henare (Father Tate) at Motiti.

After graduating from the Northland Polytechnic course, Hana embarked on a Masters in Art and Design through the Auckland University of Technology. She graduated this year. Her thesis is called “Nga Maumahara: Memory of Loss” and is based on her art work around Ngati Hau’s losses of land, resources and people between 1865 and 1920. Hana’s presentation to us had a lot of depth to it and was quite moving. At the beginning and end she paid tribute to Mary Horn OP and Mary’s art work. Mary has been her inspiration in pursuing her path of faith and art.

It was a particular joy to have Hana with us as one of our laity from the north. She and Maria Tu’inukuafe are our two active members of the Dominican family in the far north at present.

Visit of Donagh O’Shea OP

During the month of September 2013 Donagh O’Shea, an Irish Dominican Friar, will travel to different parts of the North and South Islands, sharing his gifts of meditation and preaching. His visits will not take the form of six-day Retreats. S Judith Anne O’Sullivan OP is coordinating Donagh’s visit. If you are interested and need more information, please email her at