All posts by Rachel Mackintosh

The art of the impossible

Share this page...

with Rachel Mackintosh

The art of the impossible
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

Rachel Mackintosh © 16 May 2021

The pandemic is a great rupture. Those who seek hastily to sew up the rupture and return to pre-pandemic normal are seeking to preserve a world where wealth is funnelled to the already wealthy at alarming rates, while millions upon millions pay.

The alternatives to a return to normal are political. It is a cliché that politics is the art of the possible. We are at a moment in the arc of history where what once was politically impossible is possible. We can now perform the art of the impossible. It will take all of us.

Continue reading The art of the impossible

The art of walking upright here

Share this page...

with Rachel Mackintosh

The art of walking upright here

Read below, or download the PDF

Rachel Mackintosh © 14th February 2021

Reading: The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

The skeleton of the great moa on iron crutches
Broods over no great waste; a private swamp
Was where this tree grew feathers once, that hatches
Its dusty clutch, and guards them from the damp.

Interesting failure to adapt on islands,
Taller but not more fallen than I, who come
Bone to his bone, peculiarly New Zealand’s.
The eyes of children flicker round this tomb

Under the skylights, wonder at the huge egg
Found in a thousand pieces, pieced together
But with less patience that’s the bones that dug
In time deep shelter against ocean weather:

Not I, some child born in a marvellous year,
Will learn the trick of standing upright here.

Allen Curnow, 1943

Musings: The art of walking upright here

Last week was Waitangi Day. Marking the signing on 6 February 1840 of Te tiriti o Waitangi. So it may seem as though today’s service is a week late. To adapt a Christmas poem:

“When the waiata on the marae is stilled,
when the sound from the megaphone is gone,
When the rangatira and the manuhiri are home,
when the workers are back in their workplaces,
Then the work of Waitangi begins”

The work of Waitangi is the work of all of us, no matter how much we feel we know or don’t know.

Continue reading The art of walking upright here

Gender and Economic Equality for Women in New Zealand: Progress and Challenges

Share this page...
Gender and Economic Equality for Women in New Zealand: Progress and Challenges

The Human Rights Commission in partnership with the National Council of Women, Pacific Women’s Watch, Māori Women’s Welfare League and Business & Professional Women are hosting a panel to discuss “Gender and Economic Equality for Women in New Zealand: Progress and Challenges”.

Posted by New Zealand Human Rights Commission on Monday, 9 March 2020

Following on from her talk – What are we waiting for? — the pitfalls of respectability – to us on International Women’s day 8th March, Rachel Mackintosh was part of this panel discussion hosted by the Human Rights Commission, held on Tuesday 10th March.

Gender and Economic Equality for Women in New Zealand: Progress and Challenges was chaired by the Right Honourable Helen Clark, former prime Minister of New Zealand, and featured panellists:

  • Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner
  • Prue Kapua, President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League
  • Lisa Lawrence, National President National Council of Women
  • Rachel Mackintosh, Council of Trade Unions
  • Rebecca Barnes-Clark, Ministry for Women

What are we waiting for? — the pitfalls of respectability

Share this page...

with Rachel Mackintosh

What are we waiting for? — the pitfalls of respectability
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below or download the PDF

Rachel Mackintosh © 8 March 2020

The seeds of International Women’s day were sown the year my grandmother was born. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first (US) national women’s day a year later.

The idea to make the day international came in 1910, at an international socialist conference of working women in Copenhagen. An attendee called Clara Zetkin suggested it and the100 women present from 17 countries unanimously agreed. The first international celebration was in 1911, in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.

Continue reading What are we waiting for? — the pitfalls of respectability

I am a man

Share this page...

With Rachel Mackintosh

I am a man
Listen or Download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Rachel Mackintosh © 22 September 2019

When I was 17 I wrote a 500-word essay in English on this quote from King Lear: “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.”

Just to recap in case you have forgotten or never knew, King Lear was on a heath in a storm, having been thrown out by his daughters Goneril and Regan, even though he had given them half his kingdom each and was expecting to live with them in his old age. He had been proud, arrogant and pretty irritating. They had been venal and unloving.

Continue reading I am a man

From Samuel Parnell to the future: working  in union

Share this page...

with Rachel Mackintosh

Service Leader: Clay Nelson

Watch

Listen

or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

The Eight Hour Day is by Australian singer, songwriter, poet, John Warner, and is sung here with Margaret Walters.

Bread and Roses originated from a speech given by U.S. laabour union leader Rose Schneiderman; a line in that speech “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” (appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions) inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. It is now most often sung to the tune by Mimi Fariña popularised by her sister Joan Baez.

Rachel Mackintosh © 21st October 2018

I mostly avoided history at school. Too much reading. I like reading. Modern poetry. Shortish novels. Brevity is the soul of wit. History had great heavy tomes. So when Clay asked me to speak on Labour Weekend, I thought, “Labour Day. Hmmmm. Samuel Parnell. What exactly?” I do believe in considering how the past has got us to here, but I’m often hazy on the details. Thank goodness for the New Zealand Dictionary of Biography. And Google. And before Google, thank goodness for the index. So I invite you to join me on a journey out of the haze. Continue reading From Samuel Parnell to the future: working  in union

Human rights. Whose rights? Our rights!

Share this page...

with Rachel Mackintosh

Watch

Listen

or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Rachel Mackintosh © 1 July 2018

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga rangatira ma, tena koutou.
E te whare e tu ake nei, tena koe
E te whanau o Auckland Unitarians,
E nga manuhiri, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou
Ko tangata tiriti te iwi
Ko E tu, Ko te Kauae kaimahi nga uniana
No Tamaki Makaurau ahau
Ko Rachel Mackintosh toku ingoa
No reira
Tena koutou
Tena koutou
Tena tatou katoa

“Rape culture is a culture where we normalise sexual violence. We see this on a continuum – from rape jokes, ‘locker room banter’ and victim blaming, through to catcalling, non-consensual sexual photos, to sexual coercion and rape.” These are the words of Gill Greer, CEO of the National Council of Women. Continue reading Human rights. Whose rights? Our rights!

Counting for nothing

Share this page...

Rachel Mackintosh, Vice-President, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi.

Watch

Listen

or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Opening words: The Black Unicorn – Audre Lorde

Rachel Mackintosh © 26 November 2017

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde

In 2012, a woman called Kristine Bartlett had been working as a carer in the aged care sector for 19 years. Her pay rate was a whisper above the minimum wage. She had this in common with tens of thousands of care workers throughout New Zealand. So far, so ordinary.

She describes herself – in retrospect – as having been a quiet person at the time. She didn’t consider that she had too much to say.

Nevertheless, she went to court and she spoke. Continue reading Counting for nothing

A Brave and Startling Truth: Solidarity after Helen Kelly

Share this page...

Rachel Mackintosh

Vice-president, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi,
National Director of Organising Etū, New Zealand’s largest private sector union.

Watch

Listen

or download the MP3

Or download the PDF of this page.

Opening Words are Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Peace and Social Justice GroupArticle in Quest (scroll to P4) re Samoan Dyslexia Aid Project.

Rachel Mackintosh © 20 November 2016

“Nothing wondrous can come in this world unless it rests on the shoulders of kindness.”

This is a quote from the Barbara Kingsolver novel, The Lacuna. The context is Leon Trotsky’s last day, in Mexico City, where he was living in exile, studying, writing and being part of a local community. Continue reading A Brave and Startling Truth: Solidarity after Helen Kelly

The Future of Work

Share this page...

By Rachel Mackintosh

Vice President of the NZ Council of Trade Unions and National Director of Organising for E tū, NZ’s largest private union.

Listen

or download the MP3

or download the PDF of this page.

Rachel Mackintosh © 10 April 2016

When I was 10, I saw a terrifying programme on TV. I recall a scene outside a secondary school, kids milling around, in school uniform, jumpers, schoolbags, looking normal, waiting for their buses … kids living their lives, friendships, fears, jealousies, exams, misunderstandings, understandings, learning, growing up.

The programme was about how these kids, unlike their parents — who would have been in a scene pretty much the same at the same age — could expect to have trouble finding work when they left school. It was predicting unemployment. Continue reading The Future of Work