Jenni grew up in Te Aroha where her family have farmed for four generations. She has a long history as a qualified occupational therapist with an interest in home, housing and homelessness developing after working in a Vietnamese refugee camp as a new graduate. After moving to the United Kingdom in the 1990’s she worked for a London housing department running the Homelessness Independent Living Team. This included work with both families and individuals with medical needs in temporary accommodation and consulting with homelessness service providers around resettlement and tenancy sustainment. She completed her master’s thesis at the London School of Economics looking into homeless service provision. Returning home to New Zealand in 2007 she is currently a senior occupational therapy lecturer at AUT and a PhD candidate studying ‘What makes the transition to sustaining a permanent home possible, for families in temporary accommodation?
Peter originates from North Wales and became formally qualified as a social worker a few years ago after a range of occupations from being a chef in London to being a fisherman in the southern ocean.
Peter is currently the Manager of the Hamilton Christian Nightshelter Trust where he manages two shelters – one for males which caters for 25 men and one for females which caters for up to 12 women.
Why did he become involved in the issues of homelessness? Peter says – ‘There is a well-known saying that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. It is slightly different for us Welsh people. It was decreed in the 12th century by an English king that ‘Welshmen shall not have castles’. Since then Welshmen have been adamant that they will have castles!’
For Peter, the right to shelter is a basic right that should be accorded to all members of our society.
Jane Hopkirk is Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and the proud mother of three.
Jane is currently privileged to be a Wairarapa DHB and Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (regularity authority) Board Member, and a tangata whenua caucus member of NZCEH. She has had many governance roles such as trustee for a Hauora Service in Masterton, Iwi trust leadership and professional leadership.
Jane identifies as a Maori occupational therapist with eight years experience working in secondary health services, three years in a Maori Mental Health Service and two years in primary mental health. Past experience has seen her work in a Māori workforce development organisation, contracted to do service reviews of Māori and NGO organisations and project leader for a pilot working with the homeless in Wellington – a collaboration between a mental health, alcohol and drug, social service and a GP health service. She is currently working in a hauora team delivering whanau ora navigation to whānau who often are homeless.
She is passionate about whānau being able to be all they aspire to be.
Dr Shiloh Groot is a Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Auckland, prior this they have held research and teaching appointments at Massey University and the University of Waikato. Shiloh is an interdisciplinary and Indigenous social scientist who works in the fields of Indigenous worldviews and communities, human rights, and homelessness and urban poverty. Shiloh is the Co-Chair of the Tangata Whenua Caucus for the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness (NZCEH), where they have been asked to advise on the expansion of research strategies that will inform the development of national policy and service provision.