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Media Release

26 July 2020

Changes to the board of Auckland Pride

The board of Auckland Pride

Following on from a successful 2020 Annual General Meeting, the Board of Auckland Pride farewells four members as their terms come to an end, and warmly welcomes some new additions to the whānau.

Welcoming newly elected Board Members

Auckland Pride is pleased to welcome three new members to the Board, and celebrate a returning member. Kyle Habershon, Piripi Mackie, and Micheal McCabe join the Board for their first terms, while Robyn Vella returns as an elected member following her appointment in 2019.  

Kyle Habershon officially joins the Board following his recent position as a non-voting Youth Representative. “I am very excited to build a relationship with the new board and work towards making each festival bigger and better than the last,” Habershon says. “The great position we currently have is because we stand on the soldiers of giants–the previous boards. I believe that moving forward with the mandate that our members have given us at the AGM is our biggest and most pressing matter currently, and I’m excited to undergo Te Tiriti training with the other board members. I endeavour to uphold the values and direction that Pride has set for us, and I have absolute confidence that this Board can do anything we set our collective minds to.”

New member Piripi Mackie aka Misty Frequency (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tahu and Ngā Rauru) is no stranger to the Festival, having contributed as part of Whaea and the Rumble to this year’s Queer Pavillion in Albert Park and performed in the Auckland Pride Gala. “My goal for my term on the Board is to help build a truly inclusive Pride. Where the voices of minority groups, those who often go unheard and underrepresented, are amplified,” says Mackie.

Fellow new member Micheal McCabe joins with much experience of the Auckland arts world, thanks to his work with public arts organisations, galleries and theatre companies to create installations, experiences and sets. “On Sunday at our AGM I was energised by the membership who collectively championed a radical and community lead future for Auckland Pride,” Micheal says. “It’s an honour to join the Board to action the voices of our membership and continue the mahi of those who have fought for the environment of change that is now flourishing. I am hopeful that we can focus more on how we support takatāpui, queer Paskifika, queer black people and queer people of colour and how we acknowledge our commitments to Tangata Whenua.”

On her return to the Board of Auckland Pride, Robyn Vella says “I am excited to be elected to the Board of Auckland Pride and am looking forward to the challenge ahead as Pride works with the community towards becoming a festival in which all can feel engaged. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the previous Board for all their support during the last ten months.” 

“We are excited to welcome these new additions to the board, and are pleased to see Robyn’s return following her first ten months of service,” says Board Secretary Kaan Hiini. “All four have displayed a real passion for this Festival and a real drive to contribute to continuing to build something that creates a space for our queer communities. We can’t wait to continue our work towards our next Festival.”

Farewelling departing Board Members

With the joy of new members, though, comes the sadness of saying farewell to four members who have contributed much to Auckland Pride over the past few years.

It is with much aroha that Auckland Pride acknowledges the contributions of Cissy Rock, Duncan Matthews, Phylesha Brown-Acton and Zakk d’Larté and wishes them the best for their next endeavours.  

Reflecting on her time on the Board departing Chair Cissy Rock says “I look back on the last two and half years with fond memories (and many stories to tell). The Pride membership is passionate, smart and up for change. I have learnt so much along the way and appreciate my own development as part of this process. Stepping down from the role of Chair is not stepping away from Pride, I am full of hope and excitement with the motions recently passed at the AGM. Thank you to all that have supported me and to all others that have served Pride over the years.”

Duncan Matthews shares similarly warm sentiments of his time as Treasurer saying, “It’s been a privilege to serve Auckland Pride Festival for two years – initially in a paid role, and then as a member of the Board. My observation is the organisation has come a long way in terms of cohesion of the Boards functioning, and transparency. I have full faith in, and look forward to continuing to support Kyle in the role of Treasurer.”

Phylesha Brown-Acton leaves the Board, sharing important reminders and encouraging thoughts for the continued growth of the Festival. “During my board tenure, the use of the word “Inclusion” was used by so many with different meaning and context,” says Brown-Acton. We cannot practice inclusion if we are not asking the question “who is missing” or “who is not seen or being heard”. I wish the new APFI Board and Staff well in their future endeavours for the Festival, keep on being inspired by community voice and spirit.” 

“I thank fellow board members for their strength, courage and leadership and for uplifting the policies, processes and systems of Auckland Pride Festival Inc. to the best it has ever been,” Brown-Acton continues. “I leave feeling inspired by the many who stood up, voiced and championed change, transparency and accountability, the future of inclusion seems brighter as community spirit grows what Pride is truly about – Celebration, solidarity, politicising our issues and leaving no one behind.” 

Zakk d’Larté leaves the Board with a wealth of memories following a five-year term. “When I applied to be Youth Advisor to the Board half a decade ago, I never expected what a wild, rollercoaster of a journey it would become. Five years later and I’m finishing up my role as Membership Secretary – having served two full terms – as a completely changed individual,” d’Larté says. 

“Someone asked me recently if I was stoked that my time has come to an end, and my response is no; I would do it all again in a heartbeat,” he continues. “Thank you to all the Chairs that have occupied that seat – I am not envious of anything that’s been thrown your way but so inspired by your leadership. Thank you to my fellow Board members, past and present, for teaching me governance in such a kind and inspiring environment and for your incredible passion. Thank you to our team of staff for your commitment to both our community and our Festival. It’s been an honour to be one of your servant leaders. I now join Auckland Pride as an active member, and can’t wait to see what the new Board comes up with for 2021 and beyond.”

Secretary Kaan Hiini says, “We are so thankful for all the hard work, love and passion put into building up the Auckland Pride Festival by Cissy, Duncan, Phylesha, and Zakk. Their contributions to the Board and the Festival have been significant and have helped shape a vibrant and flourishing grassroots festival. We will miss their presence on the Board but look forward to engaging with them and hearing their voices added to the spirited membership of Auckland Pride.”

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