We thank the U.S. Consulate in New Zealand for supporting impactmania's Women of Impact program. Paksy interviewed 12+ impact makers in New Zealand. A number of women from the global network flew out to New Zealand for an intense week of personal and professional work and development.
Dr. Miyoung Chun went from being a busgirl in a restaurant to leading the U.S. BRAIN Initiative—a collaborative, public-private research initiative announced by President Barack Obama at the State of the Union in 2013.
Nowadays there are a lot of people using words like co-design. I remember when I did my first co-design master class. It was a three-day workshop, and I sort of slipped away. I had to find another Pacific person saying, “Isn’t this just what we do normally, or?” “That's what it is?” I was like, okay! I'm doing okay.
So before my baby’s 21st, I wanted to learn how to weave what Māori called a korowai, which is a traditional figured cloak. They are worn these days in special moments, for instance, graduation from university or a 21st birthday.
It is about the work, and it is about the people. Making documentaries is an ill-advised career really, so your heart better be in it! [Laughs.] It is the lowest budget; it takes ages. Most of the time you are just fishing. You know you are there trying to catch the best shot. You have to really appreciate that privilege.
I will go back to the state of race relations in our country when I was growing up. My mom was acutely aware because of the opinions she heard about Māori. To anybody else, she was a white woman. She overheard a lot of comments.
As a Pacific person we really do move through these spaces or in our career knowing that we are part of a collective. What that means is the notions of our ancestors. For us, we totally use in contemporary life. Those things include what we call Vā. Vā is recognizing the relational space between people and objects. When there is a disturbance, they are Vā for us; we deal with it by saying we make sure that we pick up on those cues.