Frances, Ece Teacher. Auckland, NZ.

I was mandated out of my positions from Playcentre NZ (PC). Some background about me in this organisation is that as a 19 year old I started to attend PC with my eldest child. I then continued exclusively attending PC with my other 4 children. I had been attending my centre for 20 years. For many many years I had been licensing 3 sessions because I have higher qualifications within the PC so I was responsible for role modelling PC philosophy and making sure MOE requirements were meet. I held every role that existed within centre from president , coordinator , secretary to property/ equipment person, During the time I was at PC with my children I worked as a facilitator of the education programme and marked students work . When my youngest went to school I became fully employed by PC and for the next 13 years I held many different employment positions in PC. Facilitating, licensing support, Centre support pouwhinua, administrator, Applying for funding from MOE, Applying for grants online facilitator, marking students work, assessing students practice on sessions and a space facilitator with new parents and there babies. I had a vast skill set through my knowledge and experience of over 30 years being involved in PC I lived and breathed PC philosophy it was a part of who I was and a part of my essence. I was/ am a huge advocate for PC and a life member of my home centre. I worked tirelessly to encourage new parents to join centres especially with family numbers declining from daycares becoming more popular as an option for parents. I even worked with no pay to help a centre when it's membership was down and they didn't have the money for wages, I did this open heartedly without any expectation to receive anything back because I loved my job , I believed in PC philosophy and my whole adult life had been spent in this incredible organisation helping and educating families to be the best parents they could possibly be. There was nothing more fulfilling then seeing parents have Ahhh moments about their children's behaviour and play, that they started to understand why their children did certain things I lived and breathed PC and I was the biggest advocate always being the first to arrive and last to leave ticking up 1000's of hours voluntary time for centres.

I continued to work online through lockdowns and then when we were expected to get a jab to keep our jobs there was no way that I could participate in that. None of my children are vaccinated and as a parent I had made an informed educated decision to not vaccinate so my education around vaccination and finding information out about vaccination scanned over 30 years. This fact was a fundamental understanding that I could not and would not at anytime participate in any vaccination programme from what information I had found in my research.

I did have hope that PC as a family / whanau organisation that's philosophy was for inclusion would do the right thing and stand up against the MOE and the government protecting their members and the philosophy. I was sadly disappointed when the organisation did not stand up and say No. This disappointed me especially when I thought back to the women and men that had continuously fought against policy that went against the PC philosophy. So J lost my jobs, my community, my village and was heartbroken because this organisation had been my life for over 30 years and I had given my all. I had 100's if not 1000's of accolades from parents that thanked me for what I had taught them thanked me for my kindness and love and knowledge and wisdom and now PC had not taken into account my commitment for over 30 years. So I walked away after a brief cold firing process.

The next chapter of this experience was when mandates had been lifted. I reapplied for my positions and I was refused an interview. I applied for different positions over the next year and I was always greeted with the same response of being refused an interview these letters came from the Auckland regional office. So I emailed the CEO in Wellington asking if the discrimination I was experiencing was a national response to mandated workers or a local response from the Auckland region. He claimed there was no discrimination going on and that I wasn't getting interviews because the positions had been filled (I know the positions had not been filled because they kept advertising the jobs for months after I had applied) or I did not have the qualifications (remember I had 30 years experience within this organisation and had never been reprimanded for anything at any stage of my career). I even had a past coworker asking the Auckland regional manager if I could fill in for facilitators that were sick and there was no one else available to take their places and the response was No. This meant that these sessions could not gain funding because the space programme has to have 2 facilitators. It seemed like there was a vendetta against me. So I applied again for a position that I had not held ( because of an amalgamation within the organisation I had not worked in this position for the Auckland region but had worked in a similar position with a different job title for an association). I received a letter back informing me that when I last did this position I did not meet the requirements of the job. This was very interesting to me because I had never held this position for the Auckland region before so how did I not meet the requirements of the job. (Seemed like the CEO had had a conversation with the 3 Auckland regional members to – I don't know – be careful because they were being questioned about discriminating ). So then I emailed the National Human rRsource person who had handled my dismissal and informed her that I felt I was being discriminated against and could I be interviewed at a national level instead of a local level. Her response blew me away. She informed me that I should stop applying for positions because I would never be employed by Playcentre ever again. (I have all of these emails saved). So if people think that the mandates discrimination and bigotry went away when the govt dropped the mandates then think again. My service of over 30 years meant nothing to this organisation. They took it upon themselves to keep discriminating against me and remember I had no past history of any issues while I was working for PC. The only thing I had done was to refuse an experimental medical procedure which was my absolute right because I have sovereignty over my body. And when I was hired by PC it was not in my contract that I needed to have any vaccinations. So this is where I am at 4 years after the mandates. Still unable to get a job at PC even though I take my 3 grandchildren to a Playcentre and the Auckland region are quite happy to use my qualifications to gain funding for that centre. They are fine for me to be on session with children but would not hire me to be in a centre.

To me the Playcentre philosophy is not being practiced and my story is living proof of it . There is no inclusion and the values of PC seem to me through experience to be superficial. This type of discrimination is still happening to me and it makes me wonder if other people are experiencing this and what can be done about it.

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