October/November 2020 Update From the Board

Kia ora,

It is hard to believe that Christmas is a matter of days away and that this year will be coming to an end. I am optimistic that 2021 will be a year of recovery for many countries as COVID-19 finally begins to be suppressed.  It is hard living with a virus that may seem uncontrollable, thankfully being HIV+ is well-managed in New Zealand.

After having the retreat and the hui cancelled, it was such a treat to catch up with some members in person last weekend. I was fortunate enough to share my story alongside Jane for a video-streamed interview with the MAC staff. I believe that we helped to debunk some stereotypes and myths, and a passion for fighting stigma was reignited.

The following night was the launch of the New Zealand people living with HIV stigma index; thank you to all involved – the result is excellent. This report provides a platform for future campaigns and support, focusing on minimising stigma. On Saturday, we went to a workshop held by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho, who helped us to express some ideas and learn how to further incorporate Māori values into the organisation. The whole weekend was a time of connection and growth, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

I hope everybody stays well over summer and that we will be able to go ahead with the retreat and seminar next year.

Take care,

Fatima Al-maery