4.7 Navigating across the world: conferences

4.7.1 August 2016—Council of Pacific Education

National President, Louise Green and Matua Takawaenga, Laures Park, attended the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) 21st Regional Conference held in Fiji from 31 August–1 September. Representatives of education unions from the South Pacific region met to network and support each other, share and discuss country reports, receive the International Report from Susan Hopgood, President Education International and elect a new president and vice president. Once again, New Zealand is represented on the executive with Sandra Grey from the Tertiary Education Union being elected as the vice president.

The Regional Conference was preceded by a two day Women’s Network Conference which focused on addressing domestic violence, industrial issues including the rights of women at work and identifying opportunities to support women in the workplace.

4.7.2 August 2016—American Society of Association Executives

ASAE is the largest organisation in the world for membership based organisations. It holds an Annual Conference and Expo every year where 5,000 participants attend in-depth workshops on specific topics to learn from each other and gain insight into the strategic thinking of similarly structured organisations. Andrew Casidy, NZEI’s General Manager, Membership attended this year in Salt Lake City, Utah along with delegates from the Australian union Professionals Australia. They were the only two unions present. The focus was on looking at longer term issues, such as different membership models, what’s new in the online organising tools area and the challenges of building membership in nontraditional areas of coverage. It was a rare and very valuable opportunity to step away from the challenges of today and look at those of tomorrow through the lens of organisations that are not unions but who are membership and largely volunteer based.

4.7.3 September 2016—Alberta, Canada—research visit

The Alberta Teachers’ Association in Canada and NZEI Te Riu Roa have established a partnership to explore strategies to address inequities in mathematics, with a focus on indigenous and immigrant learners.

NZEI Te Riu Roa’s then-President Louise Green, Dr Bobbie Hunter (creator of Bobbie Maths) and four Porirua principals and teachers visited schools in Alberta as part of the three-year project.

Debriefing after the trip, the Porirua group agreed that a leadership inquiry, through mathematics and based on culturally responsive practice at key transition points would be beneficial to students, teachers and leaders across the Porirua cluster. The focus will be on how to implement and sustain change.

4.7.4 October 2016—Australian Education Union Women’s Conference—Melbourne

National Executive Senior Executive Member Te Aroha Hiko and Matua Takawaenga Laures Park attended this conference, held in Melbourne from 7–9 October.

The conference was entitled Women in Leadership and focused on the contributions, experiences, personal and professional opportunities women in the education sector have engaged in. While there was a political focus, there were many discussions about the gap between men and women in the workforce.

4.7.5 October 2016—Australian Education Union New Educators’ Conference—Perth

Gina Lockyer, then Student and Beginner Teacher Organiser at NZEI Te Riu Roa, attended the conference in Perth. This conference brought new educators from across Pacific and the states and territories of Australia to discuss recruitment and getting involved in union campaigns. The conference was for new educators keen to develop their leadership and activism skills. Of note was the work the AEU is doing with LGBTI+ members to support one another and celebrate diversity.

4.7.6 October 2016—National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Conference—Brisbane

NZEI Te Riu Roa member and Taranaki principal Damon Ritai attended this conference on behalf of president Louise Green. Its focus was to see how to create an authentic connection between curriculum, community and culture. There was much interest from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island delegates on how Māori had worked to do this in Aotearoa.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are reviving their languages, their ceremonies, and their indigenous experiences. One of the speakers at the conference, Dr Anita Heiss, spoke about how she aimed to empower indigenous youth to tell their stories and use literacy as a vehicle to express her culture and share this with a global audience.

4.7.7 January 2017—Education International ECE Working Group—Brussels

NZEI Te Riu Roa campaign lead Shelley Hughes attended the Education International ECE working group in January. It was useful to get some insights into the proposed OECD “baby PISA” early learning survey preparations. The Government, in June, rejected New Zealand’s involvement.  Other topics covered included using the ILO policy to shape working conditions in affiliate countries, the role of assessment in ECE, maintaining/progressing learning frameworks/curriculum that focus on play and the impact of privatisation and commercialisation in some countries. The two days culminated in the updating of the EI ECE action plan.

4.7.8 January 2017—Education International Education Support Personnel Working Group

NZEI Te Riu Roa is represented on the Education International Education Support Personnel (support staff in New Zealand) taskforce. Campaign lead Jane Porter attended the taskforce when it met in Brussels.

The taskforce has continued working through electronic processes to implement the work programme since then. The purpose of the taskforce is to provide guidance and support to EI on improving the status, rights and conditions of education support personnel in global policy and practice as well as through the work of EI affiliates. It includes members from the United States, Zimbabwe, Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand.

4.7.9 January 2017—Education International Global Response Network—Brussels

The EI Global Response to Privatisation was a two-day conference chaired by Angelo Gavriolatos—project director at Education International. About 50 people attended from throughout the world, including NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter and campaign lead Shelley Hughes. They heard from union representatives from Kenya, the Philippines, USA and South America. There was also a presentation from a Cambridge professor, Susan Robertson, who spoke on the different elements of privatisation.

4.7.10 February 2017—AEU Federal Conference

Australian Education Union's Federal Conference was attended by National Secretary Paul Goulter and President Lynda Stuart. Howard Stephenson from Nottingham University spoke on his research into education unions, including NZEI Te Riu Roa. Jack Boyle, PPTA President, did a good presentation on New Zealand’s behalf around the bulk funding campaign which was very well received.

4.7.11 March 2017—International Summit on the Teaching Profession—Edinburgh

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart attended the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Edinburgh in March. The NZ conference delegation included representatives from the Education Council, New Zealand Principals Federation, PPTA and the Minister of Education. The focus was on developing equity and excellence across the education systems with a particular focus on professional learning and development. While in Edinburgh, the president also met with representatives of the Scottish education trade union the Educational Institute of Scotland. She also travelled to London and met with the president of the National Union of Teachers.

4.7.12 March 2017—New South Wales Teachers’ Federation—Principals’ Conference—Sydney

Immediate Past President, Louise Green was invited to present a keynote address at the one-day Principals' Conference held in Sydney on March 10. The conference, which included a mixture of keynote speakers, plenary sessions and workshops, focused primarily on the role of public education in society. In her presentation, Professional Voice: Critical component of Quality Public Education, Louise  shared the story of educational change in Aotearoa New Zealand, its impact on learners and members, and the opportunities for organising. The presentation was well received by participants.

4.7.13 March 2017—Australian Education Union, Tasmanian branch visit

Staff and leaders from the AEU Tasmanian branch visited NZEI Te Riu Roa in Wellington to learn about our structures and strategies in the fields of organising and campaigning.