In 2019 the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation worked on a temporary mural which was placed in the heart of Wellington, Te Ngākau Civic Square.
Weaving Hope tells the story of loss and hope. This work acknowledges the grief over the tragedy that happened in Christchurch on 15 March 2019, and presents a vision and hope for a more unified, accepting and diverse Aotearoa. The mural has been weaved together by local mural artist Ruth Robertson-Taylor, but the vision and key elements come directly from the Muslim community.
This work was co-created with the Muslim Students Association (VicMuslim), the International Muslim Association of New Zealand’s Committee, members of the Kilbirnie mosque community, and Vodafone New Zealand’s Muslim Society (Salam Network).
Vodafone, and the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation supported the creation of this mural, with site support from Wellington City Council.
“At Vodafone we’re committed to fostering a deeply embedded culture of inclusion. One that values the full diversity of our people, our customers and the communities we serve. This mural reflects our desire as an organisation to take positive action from a devastating event, and demonstrate the kindness and generosity that sits at the core of Aotearoa. Out of tragedy must come unity.”
Antony Welton, Chair of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation
About the Design
The name ‘Weaving Hope’, chosen by Iffah from VicMuslim, speaks to the vision of the artwork, and the wide range of artists and community members who helped weave together the final design.
Arches play a key role in the work, a nod to Islamic architecture, rainbows, and bridges. A strong shape, these arches are evocative of mosques, of bridging understanding, and of crossing boundaries.
The geometric features and Kufic script used in the design pay homage to traditional and modern Islamic art. They represent the love of science, geometry and the mystery of life in this culture, and feel familiar and welcoming to those of the faith.
In places the strong geometry fractures into pieces and shapes. This is symbolic of both disintegration and creation. The design is simultaneously destroyed and built from small elements, showing the dual nature and strong connection between these two forces.
Flowers feature strongly in the design. In the panel to the far right of the artwork each flower was hand carved by local Syrian furniture maker Mahmoud Shagouri, with the 51 martyrs from the tragedy in mind. The flowers come from various countries around the world, a reminder that Islam is a diverse global faith, and a faith practised in New Zealand.
There is a quote on the artwork, a feature all parties involved in the design wanted in the final work. It reads: “Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it.” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
About the Artists
Ruth Robertson-Taylor was the lead artist behind the work, but key elements have been contributed by local, national, and international contributors.
Ruth Robertson-Taylor (Gorse) has been actively painting public murals for nearly 10 years in the greater Wellington region. Working collaboratively with councils and communities, she shapes narratives that encapsulate the spirit of each art piece’s location. Her mural aesthetics can differ greatly from one to the next, but like all good public murals, each piece responds to the space and community they sit within. Ruth often works with different artists to co-create large collaborative artworks. Graphic designers Muhammad Waqas and Farhan Sarfraz worked with Ruth on the overall design scheme for this work.
Additionally, the Kufic script (Arabic text displayed in three boxes throughout the mural) was contributed by Muhammad Waqas, a local creative who belongs to the Kilbirnie mosque community. The Kufic script displays the words ‘peace’, ‘love’ and ‘unity’. Read more about Muhammad here.
The traditional geometric design that is repeated throughout the work was contributed by Farhan Sarfraz. Farhan is a graphic designer, a Programme Manager at Vodafone New Zealand, and part of the Salam Network.
The flower carvings portrayed on the far-right panel were created by the artist and Mahmoud Shagouri. Mahmoud is a resettled Syrian based in Porirua. In Syria he was an expert furniture maker. Ruth and Mahmoud worked on the carvings together bridging the language gap with google translate!
Surprise find elements (hidden phrases) were contributed by Asyraf ElGhazali, a visiting student from Malaysia, who we met through the consultation at the Kilbirnie mosque.
A lot of amazing people contributed to the final design, and these were a few reflections and hopes for the mural from the co-creation workshops we ran.
“I hope that this mural can show others the real message of Islam, which is peace.”
“We are many races, we are diversified, but we are still one.”
“This mural is a great way to bring us back to all of those positive emotions that we had, to the goals we might have set, those resolutions we put forward… and to bring us back to each other.”
A huge thank you to everyone involved in the project. We hope the mural makes viewers think, and can play a small role in building a more unified and hopeful future for all of Aotearoa.
In 2018 we invited three amazing teams to join us for the second Vodafone Foundation Change Accelerator in Christchurch. It’s now 5 months on from the programme, and we thought we’d check in with them to hear what they’re up to now, and how the projects are going. All three projects are innovative, tech-based and work to improve the lives of Aotearoa’s young people . We hope the stories of these amazing wahine led projects can inspire you if you’re thinking of applying in 2019.
Digitising the golden standard in youth health assessment (HEADSSS)
This team went into the Change Accelerator with an idea to digitalise a well-known and widely used youth health assessment. They entered the programme with a frustration around the paper-based nature of the assessment, and with the goal to enhance responsiveness for the young people and school nurses using the assessment.
“We learnt so much at the Change Accelerator programme. In particular, our increased knowledge regarding the technology space & the NFP sector. We have further developed our thinking in regards to our digital assessment and the key features we are wanting to see.”
A highlight for the Anamata Café team was learning how to pitch:
“…and also the sprint sessions with our team of developers, seeing how the project evolved the skill sets of the different tech people, and how this all worked together to develop our prototype”
Reflecting on the programme now, Annabel thinks the pre-work and engaging with some tech people first to develop their understanding would’ve helped. She also reflects that the time factor was a challenge for a small organisation, and that juggling the day-to-day mahi alongside the programme was challenging.
What Happened Next?
The team were recently successful in applying to our Innovation Fund. Their next steps are to keep building the app, work on their business model and to pilot the project.
“We are excited to be developing this further as a web application, the schools we work with are crying out for this to be digital and we will have a full version developed, which has been co-designed with young people available for testing in September/October 2019.”
An app to support health professionals in teaching safety strategies to young people who have witnessed family violence.
To create a Family Harm App for Rangatahi to learn strategies to keep safe during times of family violence/family harm.
“Our vision is to develop a domestic violence application (app) that will be utilised by organisations as an educational resource with rangatahi (youth) throughout Aotearoa (New Zealand).
Registered professionals within organisations will use observation and referral processes to identify vulnerable rangatahi who may be at-risk of exposure to violence within their homes.
These professionals will then utilise our app to engage rangatahi and assist them in developing their own keep safe strategies. Through the provision of relevant information and the identification of available support networks, we believe our rangatahi will be empowered to seek assistance during times of domestic violence within their homes.”
“The Vodafone NZ Foundation’s Change Accelerator programme was a fantastic opportunity to develop a prototype for a Family Harm ‘Keeping Safe’ App for Rangatahi – named ‘Kia Wehikore’. Without the expertise, structure, and specialist knowledge provided during the Change Accelerator programme we would not have been able to develop a relevant, culturally responsive, rangatahi-centric app to combat family harm in our communities.”
“Mid North Family Support gained a vast array of learning opportunities from the Change Accelerator programme, which included
Prototyping a Family Harm app for Rangatahi – how cool is that!
Public speaking, Video & Slideshow presentation skills, Advertising/Marketing and Media training
Business & Operational Planning, Programme Canvasing & Governance knowledge
AI & Technology knowledge (including legalities, data recording, privacy, storage, clouds, viruses, hacks, copy writes and other significant and relevant complexities involved with app production)
Wonderful networking opportunities that created collaborative approaches and on-going partnerships.
Dedicated time away to apply our focus – allowing for a truly uninterrupted commitment to our kaupapa and mahi.
Experience in working alongside awesome people, who dream big, share talent and get lots done!”
Her advice for those thinking of applying is:
“Allow yourself to be available and present for the entire programme as all the days are full, so to also do your job back at the agency is indeed a big juggling act.”
What Happened Next?
Their Family Harm App (Kia Wehikore) has now been taonga (gifted) to Le Va (Ministry of Health) as part of their suite of Family Harm interventions – to be further developed, extended and launched into a nationwide programme.
“We are humbled by this ‘best possible outcome’, as it is now in the hands of a bigger well-funded organisation who will extend its reach and make it fly!”
Collective dreaming and goal setting for rangatahi and whānau
Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance came into the Change Accelerator with a prototype they’d already begun work on. They saw the Change Accelerator as an opportunity to further develop an Minimal Viable Product (MVP):
“Te Mauri Moemoea – a maori-centred webapp utilising gamification; supporting rangatahi, their whanau and community to create their own closed network which supports them to set dreams and tasks and journey through the realisation of these in their virtual and most importantly real life.”
“We learnt so much at the accelerator, from IP, business 101, tech 101, artificial intelligence, design thinking, pitching to soft skills – the greatest resource we come away with though was the relationships that we were able to form and strengthen. Both with the Vodafone foundation and our sector mentor Dan Milward of Gamefroot, both of who we continue to work with around Te Mauri Moemoea.”
One highlight for them was the Tech 101 session delivered by DevAcademy.
“For community organisations moving into the tech sector, tech 101 really provided the opportunity to build our knowledge in this area as well as being realistic in our expectations of our junior developers.”
Their advice for potential applicants is:
“If you are new to the tech industry, then manage your expectations around what MVP is, be kind to your developers as they will be working very hard to get across the line for you, soak up the tech knowledge of the senior developer as this becomes extremely valuable moving forward outside of the change accelerator.”
What Happened Next?
“Since the change accelerator we have gone onto complete a more comprehensive MVP of Te Mauri Moemoea and will soon engage in user testing for the MVP. Further whanau engagement to understand the needs of rangatahi, their whanau and community will inform the on-going development of the wider Te Mauri Moemoea product.”
Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance were also successful in the latest round of our Innovation Fund. We’re excited to work with them on the pilot phase of the project.
(L to R):Hemi Porter, Nikki Walden, Materoa Mar, Pikihuia Hillman & Stacey Seruvatu – Te Tihi
Maria Kekus is a Child and Youth Nurse Practitioner working for Health Connections.
Maria has extensive experience in child and youth health through her work in the primary health care and NGO sectors both in England and New Zealand.
Maria was also the recipient of a Personal Development grant in 2018. Below is her account of her journey.
In New Zealand health care for young people in NZ secure or residential care systems is often competing for priority status against safety and security. This is turn can result in missed opportunities for young people to receive health care. For this reason, I wanted to visit a service that seems to have juggled all the competing priorities and have been judged by OFSTED as Outstanding – the first secure care centre to be judged at this level. So, thank you Vodafone Foundation for your support to visit Barton Moss, a 20 bed secure care centre for children and young people managed by Salford City Council Children’s Services.
September 2018 I visited Barton Moss and had the opportunity not only to look
around and meet young people but also key people in the residence team
including the Residence Manager, the care staff (youth workers) and the health
team. I was also privileged to gain
insight into other services such as the Hindley Youth Offending Institute, which
I will cover later.
thanks go to Rachel the lead nurse in the team who gave up so much of her time
to answer my many questions, and continues to answer them via email since my
were two main findings that I think have contributed to better outcomes for
young people in Barton Moss and that we can learn from in the New Zealand secure
Enhancing the Healing Environment
SECURE STAIRS is a framework that aims to support trauma informed care and formulation driven, evidenced based, whole systems approaches to creating change for young people with Children and Young People’s Secure Estate (CYPSE). One of the core principles of the framework is that the day to day staff are at the centre of the intervention, recognising that they have a pivotal role and as such the environment and the relationships within (rather than specialist in reach services) are proposed as the primary agents of change for young people within secure settings.
Barton Moss embodies this approach and creates shared learning across all staff consistently and in a sustainable way. In addition, they have embedded the development of “within relationships” e.g mental health services form part of the core onsite team. In New Zealand they are a visiting “guest” service. The only visiting person in Barton Moss is a psychiatrist who is utilised as a resource for the health team and care staff to support the young person’s health plan.
Enhancing the Healing Environment
Barton Moss has implemented change modelled on the Enhancing Healing Environment framework. This framework was originally developed for dementia care homes with good effect and now has been rolled out to prisons and hospitals.
Moss has created an environment that feels safe and secure for young people, including
smaller family style units, more homely feeling to the young people’s rooms,
personal belongings are encouraged. The young
people also participate in the food preparation and other activities that build
life skills without being chores. The environment has indoor and outdoor
activities including caring for animals, gardening, building and sporting
activities; alongside creative opportunities.
not only provided me with the opportunity on site but has continued to support
me with resources and links to key people that supported change in other
residences like the Kings Fund Project which funded the Enhancing the Healing
Environment Programme. The Kings Fund
Project also supported the changes in the health area at Hindley Youth Offender
Hindley young people were core to the consultation process, as they should be, and
other stakeholders were included which resulted in the clinic area being
transformed to a safe user-friendly space.
Young people in Hindley had high levels of non-attendance for their health appointments, however, since the change of environment this has improved by 67% with no incidents of vandalism/graffiti in the health area. The space has been used for health promotion activities such as “beer goggles and remote-controlled cars”.
Below is a picture of the health waiting area from Hindley Youth Offenders Institute designed by the young people. I felt I had to include this as it is so far from anything I have seen currently in New Zealand. The lighting, colours and ambiance instantly promote a sense of warmth and comfort.
Health is a right for all young people in New Zealand wherever they may be placed. We can learn much from these models in the UK that are achieving improved outcomes for young people. Many of the care facilities in New Zealand are not fit for purpose now and would benefit from applying the Enhancing Healing Environments framework to them. As NZ systems for children and young people are changing from large residential environments to smaller units the evidence still applies – create environments that promote healing.