Dr Michelle Levy trained as a community psychologist in the 1990’s and is the author of ‘Barriers and Incentives to Māori Participation in Psychology, 2002’ – an investigation commissioned by the Psychologists Board into the low rates of Māori in psychology. Michelle has continued to advocate for Māori in psychology throughout her career and is currently the claimant for the Waitangi Tribunal Wai2725 Psychology in Aotearoa claim which challenges the failure of the crown and its agencies to ensure Māori access to and participation in psychology. Dr Michelle Levy has recently returned from a Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) assignment in Vanuatu and continues to contribute to indigenous development within Aotearoa and across the Pacific.
The following poem written by Michelle gives heart and voice to her work.
Have you heard?
We’ve told you about kawanatanga, rangatiratanga, Treaties, interfaces and not pricking your fingers on kina.
We’ve told you about listening to culture, long journeys, transformations and aspirations.
We’ve told you about the house of the Master, about barriers, and about how to fix them.
We’ve told you about fourth worlds, cultural justice, ethics, and cultural competency.
We’ve told you about colonising, and then about decolonising.
We’ve told you about new nets and fishing and flourishing and growing.
We’ve told you about relationships, biculturalism and all the other ‘isms’.
We’ve told you about resistance, and detonating critical mass explosions.
We’ve told you about babies, healing, resilience, love, hope and soul wounds.
We’ve told you about wairua, hinengaro, creation, and waiora.
We’ve told you about brains, assessments, whanaungatanga and manaakitanga.
We’ve told you our strength is in the knowledge we hold; the knowledge we consume.
We’ve stood to make a difference.
We’ve stood to lay claim to our places and our spaces.
We’ve walked long, and often lonely pathways to gather in our kete, those random letters that hang off our names.
All around you.
It is not enough.
We are not enough.
You tell us we do not exist.
Is just not right
Michelle Levy, March 2018 (www.michellelevy.net)
Lisa Cherrington, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Self-employed Clinical Psychologist