Our Stories: May Lee Allen

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

In 1972 a petition was presented to the New Zealand parliament, asking for Te Reo Maori to be recognised as an official language. It took 15 more years for that to become a reality, And now the Government is aiming for one million New Zealanders to speak Te Reo by 2040.Maylee Allen

This month we caught up with May Lee Allen, on her role at Haka Works and her own ambitions for helping us all to take more of an interest in Te Reo. May Lee grew up in Papakura, South Auckland, and at primary school she was introduced to Kapa Haka, igniting her passion for Maori culture.

On 11 November she’ll be hosting a Te Reo Masterclass with our network with the aiming of sharing some basic skills. May Lee is a huge advocate of Maori language and education. Her role at Haka Works combines the two, an organisation that uses Maori culture, including haka, to help teams connect and align at events and conferences.

May Lee Allen is a speaker of Te Reo Maori and has taught in a Maori immersion secondary school. After over a decade in traditional classrooms, this year May Lee began teaching online with her students particularly valuing the opportunity to speak Maori in a safe, supportive, interactive online environment.

Our Stories: Mariken O'Donnell

Written by Jen Hacker.

While many are struggling to find the positive from months of isolating, Mariken O’Donnell found her silver lining right at the start. The Mum of Mariken ODonnelltwo says that lockdown has had unexpected benefits for her family. “My son has severe allergies,” she says. “He was really sick at the beginning of the year and then COVID hit and he’s been really healthy!”

On top of juggling family priorities, her own business and volunteering on the NZBWN board, Mariken has become a keen advocate for allergy awareness in recent years. She volunteers with UK-based charities, Anaphylaxis Campaign and Allergy UK. “My objective in being a mum and doing all this is to raise awareness that it really is life-threatening,” says Mariken.

“People tend to think that if you’ve got anti-histamines or even an epi-pen that it’ll just be fine, but that’s just not true,” she says. “If someone says “I’ve got a nut allergy” then we need to go “This is serious. Let me protect you”.”

Mariken has also started a social media page, Nutfree Adventures, to show the community that allergies don’t have to stop you from living a life that you love. “As long as you’re vigilant and prepared, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t lead a full, adventurous life.”

Our Stories: Melissa Clark-Reynolds

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

As the only one at her all-girls school, in 1979 New Zealand, who wanted to do code, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, was bussed to a boys’ school to learn, because of course it was only a class for boys.Melissa Clark Reynolds

Back then there were no computers in schools and each week the class would write their code and send it Wellington, and a week later a note would arrive back to say if the code worked or not.

Fast forward to 2020 and Melissa is now an accomplished futurist – in other words, she looks for patterns that other people can’t see to help predict what may happen in the future.

Things like:

  • Amazon buying Whole Foods,
  • The economic impact of the pandemic,
  • Changing demand on production systems for farmers (e.g. no GMO, Grass fed, carbon positive meat).

“That’s my super power. It’s more about culture anthropology with maths behind it, so a focus on people with an added focus on data.”

What's the Goss?