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Hui to help kickstart Queer Straight Alliances

Wed 13 Jun 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

Students from all over New Zealand who want to start Queer Straight Alliances at their schools will converge on Wellington for a hui next month, where they will be equipped with everything they need to start a group. Hui Putahi will be held from July 7th-10th at Tapu te Ranga Marae in Wellington and all high school students are welcome. Organiser Tabby Besley says after then-boss of Nelson’s Q-Youth Seb Stewart and Olympian Blake Skjellerup went on a national high school diversity tour last year spreading the word, there was a lot of excitement around starting up Queer Straight Alliances. Stewart has now moved to Melbourne and Besley, a former Q-Youth staffer, is keeping the movement alive. Besley has secured some funding for a hui from the Ministry of Youth Development. “I thought it would be a really good project to start things off and get young people involved, a good starting place to begin building resources,” she says. She believes having straight members in a queer support group is really valuable, as they set an example to the rest of the school and society. “We’re working towards a place where everyone is accepted and we can model that in our schools already.” Besley is urging all students with an interest to come along and not be afraid. “These hui can be amazing and life changing experiences for young people and I’m really excited to be able to offer that opportunity. Hopefully [the participants] will come away with lots of new connections and information about how to run a QSA in their school.” The hui costs $100 per person, which includes accommodation at the marae for four days (three nights), food, drink and activities. “However we don't want financial issues to stop anyone from coming to the hui and so we have a limited amount of spaces for people needing financial assistance at just $25,” Besley says. “We are committed to ensuring everyone can come to the hui so please don't hesitate to discuss your needs with us and we will do our best to help you with fundraising ideas, sponsorship and cheap travel deals.” Anyone who is not a high school student but is interested in volunteering at the hui can contact the team through, as can anyone who wishes to make a donation to help with running costs or help with the travel costs of young people from across the country can contact. To register for the hui you can click here, while you can also check out a preview video below.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 13th June 2012 - 11:42am

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