Public Good Award

Phoebe Lee Racist as

Finalist
Student Public Good 2021 Credits
  • Student
    Phoebe Lee
  • Contributors
    Cassandra Khoo, Jonathon Aquino, Emily Gill, Anameka Paenga, Ivor Jones, ActionStation, Hannah Sames, Cairo Wetini-Ngaropo
  • Lecturers
    Stephen Reay, Kate Weatherly, Denise Wilson, Anke Nienhuis
Description:

Racism is killing tangata whenua. Māori live on average seven years less than Pākehā. That’s a tenth of your life. Our inequitable health outcomes are damning. Racism is a public health epidemic. Imagine if treating Racism was given the same urgency as our pandemic response. ‘Racist as’ is an interactive installation, exhibited at locations around Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in November 2020. The intention of this speculative design is to provoke reflection on how Racism has shaped our institutional structures in Aotearoa New Zealand. Participants scan the QR code to whakaaro to the following kōrero:

Stand tall. Stop the virus.
Nau mai, haere mai! Welcome to the future. On this day, the second of January, 2121, we have been Racism-free for a century. Back in 2021, Racism was declared an epidemic in Aotearoa. Nowadays, the virus has been eliminated but not eradicated. No one is immune to this virus. We must remain vigilant at all times. Let’s take a look back to see how we came together as a team of 5 million to stop this virus.

Mirror on society
Before 2021, there was a gross under-representation of Māori and Pasifika in our health workforce. Especially in medical and clinical positions. For example, in 2020 Māori made up 16% of the population. Yet less than 4% of doctors were Māori. In contrast, with positions such as cleaners and orderlies, Māori and Pasifika representation matched the population. These uniforms are a reminder to always be alert for this “invisible” virus.

To the privileged, fairness feels like oppression
We can’t go back in time to reverse the ongoing and compounding effects of colonisation. Māori must determine their own hauora with tino rangatiratanga. Hauora isn’t just about being physically well either. It’s affected by a bunch of wider factors. Things like housing, education, and justice. These scales represent the heavy burden colonisation has on our health system. It also shows us the social determinants of hauora that are the levers for change.

Stamp it out
This virus does not discriminate. Everyone is infected by Racism. While there is no vaccine, you can protect yourself and others by tahi) checking your privilege, rua) educating yourself, and toru) always trying to do better.

Sign up. Stop the virus.
We are powerless to affect change if we begin by saying it can’t be done. You can do something today. Read this petition. Sign it. Keep listening and learning. Noho ora mai.

The petition participants were invited to sign was delivered to parliament by Rawiri Waititi on February 24th 2021. On April 21st 2021, health minister Andrew Little announced our government's decision to establish an independent Māori Health Authority.