education.govt.nz

#myidentity campaign launched

Issue: Volume 97, Number 5

Posted: 22 March 2018
Reference #: 1H9i4M

Mai Chen, Chair of the Superdiversity Centre, with students from Manurewa High S

Mai Chen, Chair of the Superdiversity Centre, with students from Manurewa High School.

New Zealand school students have been keenly taking on the #myidentity campaign challenge by sharing stories about their unique identities.

The campaign, which is organised by the Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business and was officially launched earlier this month by the Governor-General of New Zealand the Rt Hon Patsy Reddy, the Hon Carmel Sepuloni and the Hon Julie Anne Genter aims to increase wellbeing, connection and racial harmony by encouraging New Zealanders to share who they are with other Kiwis.

Participants are invited to upload a one-minute video to the #myidentity website explaining the different aspects of their personalities, such as race or ethnic origin, gender, religion, sexuality, and abilities and interests. Every video is reviewed within 24 hours before being posted to the site.

Manurewa High School, which is the largest multicultural school in New Zealand and has over 2,000 students representing 50 nationalities, was the first school to join the campaign.

Chair of the Superdiversity Centre Mai Chen congratulated the school on being quick to accept the challenge.

“Manurewa High School is the first school to join the #myidentity campaign. All students have been invited to film short videos of their unique identity as a way to better understand each other including their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and (dis)ability. Telling their stories encourages acceptance that we are all diverse,” she says.

“It also grows the capability of the students to relate to people who are not like them, or who have a different chosen identity.”

Mai encourages more schools around the country to join in the campaign and express their identities.

“We are receiving more and more videos of New Zealanders sharing their #myidentity stories. The stories about our identities show that there is no ‘them and us’, there is only us.”

Another school participating in the campaign is Meadowbank School in Auckland, which has over 750 students representing approximately 50 nationalities.

Associate Principal of Meadowbank School Jane Butel says the school was inspired by seeing the older students’ videos on the #myidentity website.

“There were high school students doing the videos, talking about their hobbies, where they came from, and what they liked. I thought that was totally achievable for younger students to do as well.”

Jane invited teachers at Meadowbank to work with their students to create their own #myidentity videos to discuss what makes them special.

“The #myidentity campaign encourages our children to explore their identity and what makes them unique. It is an opportunity for them to express themselves to their classmates and the school’s community,” she says.

“It’s recognising everyone is unique and celebrating the diversity that is present in our school, that really is the whole idea behind it.”

Mai Chen says having conversations about identity is important for fostering an accepting community.

“The idea behind #myidentity is to take the conversation away from single identity to multiple, so everybody is included. It’s not just about gender, it’s not just about ethnicity, it’s about all the different layers that make up each person,” she says.

“It does make the conversation very inclusive of everybody. It’s also about celebrating and acknowledging everyone’s unique identity and knowing everyone is valued.”

Chief Executive of New Zealand Asian Leaders, and Superdiverse Women Karinia Lee believes students will benefit from taking part in the #myidentity challenge.

“The learning outcomes would be having that conscious thought about being inclusive and really valuing their own student identities, because once we value our identities or others’ identities we generally thrive in that environment.

“It would be great to think that we could be in a school in every part of New Zealand and that they’re having a conversation at each level, because if you think about it, at the end of the day they are the leaders that will take this forward, our youth.”

Participate in the #myidentity challenge(external link) 
(external link)

 

What Meadowbank School students are saying…

Alice, 8 years old

Alice

Alice

I am half-Kiwi and half-Australian. I was born in New Zealand. I have a big family with seven people, including my dog. My amazing hobbies are horse riding, netball, soccer and swimming. My super personality traits are funny, kind and helpful. The things that are important to me are family, sport and friends.

Macy, 8 years old

Macy

Macy

I was born at the Auckland hospital, so that makes me a Kiwi. My hobby is gymnastics. For gym I compete against other competitors in Auckland competitions. I am very artistic with my art. I am great at netball and sport. I love dance and performing. I think as a person I am kind, caring and helpful.

Ammon, 8 years old

Ammon

Ammon

I was born in Samoa and I lived there for one month. What’s important to me is my friends and family and cousin. My favourite things are cooking, drawing, basketball, rugby and games. I’m a sporty kind of person because I play basketball and rugby. I’m an arty kind of person too because my parents taught me to draw and be creative. I’ve got three brothers and two sisters, two grandfathers and two grandmothers. My culture is New Zealand but I was born in Samoa. My parents and my older brother and sister are from Samoa too.

Jasmine, 7 years old

Jasmine

Jasmine

I was born in Shanghai, China. My parents are from China too. This makes me Asian. In my family I have my mum, my dad and me. My family, my culture, my friends and my language are all very important to me. I have lots of amazing hobbies: drawing, flipper ball, reading and ballet. My personality traits are funny, kind, caring, lovely, friendly, crazy, shy and also creative. I like myself.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:00 am, 22 March 2018

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