Lisa Er – founder and party leader
Lisa Er is the creator and founder of The Awareness Party. She is also known for having founded Lisa’s Hummus and dips.
Lisa was born in England and moved to New Zealand in 1967 with her family, when her parents came to teach at a Quaker school in Wanganui. She attended Wanganui High School and went on to Teachers’ College.
She was briefly married to an Australian Aboriginal writer, and then to a Turkish Muslim for over 20 years. This has given Lisa has an inside perspective on Islam, and on the challenges faced by indigenous people.
Always political, in the eighties Lisa initiated a local group promoting a Nuclear Free New Zealand which grew rapidly, and also was involved in the Springbok Tour demonstrations. Since then she has written letters, made submissions, and attended protests on a regular basis.
Lisa began making hummus at home for family and friends in 1994.
At that time she was teaching part time and her youngest of three sons had just started school. She had no capital and no business experience, and had been on the Domestic Purposes Benefit for 16 months after a temporary separation from her husband. At that time, and for two year afterwards, she experienced what it was like to live in real poverty.
Six years later she was named Business Woman of the Year for Auckland, 2000-2001, in the ASB Women Leaders Business Awards, for turning a cottage industry into a successful high profile brand.
In 2002 Lisa was named Her Business magazine Business Woman of the Year for the North Island.
During that time Lisa co-founded a group called Take 5. This was an effort to bring people to the point of wanting a moratorium on Genetic Engineering in New Zealand. Although strongly opposed to GE, and Lisa’s products were ‘GM free’, the idea was to promote a ‘wait 5 years’ approach, and was New Zealand’s first ever text campaign.
Lisa is currently the assistant spokesperson for the Auckland GE Free Coalition.
In 2005, Lisa left the business and became involved in various pro peace initiatives, such as Nuclear Free NZ and the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Trust. She is currently on the council for the Peace Foundation and is also on the Peace Foundation’s International Affairs and Disarmament Committee. Lisa also hosts a monthly radio interview on Greenplanetfm with a wide range of speakers.
She was a member of Diversity Trust, an organisation to help immigrants and refugees settle in this country. She also ran weekly evenings, with a friend, showcasing speakers on complementary health, and philosophy. These evenings continued for 7 years.
Concerned about the environment and our food, Lisa stood in Mt Roskill as a candidate for the Green Party in 2008.
The Mt Roskill campaign provided Lisa with further in-depth knowledge about the lives of immigrants, and their more wealthy neighbours. It also gave her invaluable knowledge about the workings and machinations of a political party.
It was at this point Lisa realised that the whole political and financial system does not work for most people, and that democracy is ailing in this country. Many people that Lisa had encountered – many immigrants, refugees, indigenous people, and the poor – are overlooked by the system, and the poor are growing in increasing numbers.
Lisa’s three sons are now grown up and she has two granddaughters. Awareness of their futures motivates Lisa to work for better future for all.
In 2010 Lisa launched a political movement, The Awareness Party, and now (2015) it is launching as a political party with a Visionary Constitution for this country as its foundation.
“Without a vision for an ethical, fair, just, and sustainable future,” says Lisa, “what remnants will we pass on to our grandchildren? We must think outside the square to find ways to rid ourselves of corporate control, and ensure that all people and ecosystems are healthy, thriving, and cared for well.”
Murray was born in Auckland and apart from 11 years in Wellington and certain times overseas, has lived there since,.
Murray is driven by a desire to see people develop their potential and find self-fulfilment, both individually and as a nation.
He thinks that the present political and economic systems are far from perfect and is keen on researching and sharing knowledge on equitable money systems and community currencies, because they have the ability to improve a country’s economic vigour and overall wellbeing.
Murray is deeply involved with The Awareness Party, where he has been closely associated with the development of its Visionary Constitution of New Zealand. He is also active in the publicity and other work of the Living Economies Educational Trust, and the educational work of the Theosophical Society in New Zealand.
Murray’s education includes a Master of Science in Physics, a Diploma in Management from the NZIM, and a variety of programs on personal development, coaching, communication and stress management.
During his working career, he has worked as a self-employed consultant on a lot of innovative scientific and engineering projects in the electrical, paper and oil refining industries.
Murray is known as an effective teacher who students enjoy learning with, in industrial engineering, music and holistic studies.
He enjoys discovering the spiritual treasures of different cultures and sharing the search with others in group and individual work. He especially likes to share threads of the wisdom that he perceives running through all cultures, to illuminate the turbulent events of our time and lessen distrust and hostility.
He also has strong interests in group dynamics and the way organisations work, especially in the more spontaneous, self-organising forms emerging today.
He was involved with a lot of voluntary animal welfare work in the earlier stages of his life.
As for hobbies, Murray loves music, though doesn’t play so much these days. He has been a professional musician in classical and jazz genres on the double bass but, today, mostly plays the piano at home.
Murray is dedicated to a youthful openness of mind and spirit that will not bow to conventional ideas of ageing. He loves being with young people, to not only share knowledge with them, but to learn from them.
He is married, with four adult stepchildren and five seriously cool grandchildren.
To contact Murray – email@example.com
Dr Benjamin Pitman – advisor on Maori Issues and more
Benjamin is a great-great grandson of the famous Maori chief, Patuone (c.1764–1872) of the Ngāti Hao o Ngāpuhi nation, who was a signatory of the letter sent by thirteen Maori chiefs to King William IV in 1831; a powerful influence in the creation of the first national flag of Aotearoa/New Zealand,1834; then signing He Wakaputanga (Declaration of Independence of the Independent Tribes of Aotearoa) of 1835 and finally, signing and ensuring the passage of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in February 1840.
Holding dual New Zealand and Australian citizenship, Benjamin was based in Sydney, Australia for over 32 years and was an active member of the Rotary Club of Sydney Central Business District which is now part of e-Club1 based in Colorado USA. He served as leader of the Maori Satellite Group in Rotary and on the Sydney CBD Board as Community Services and International Director. He was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 2009, Rotary’s top honour for service.
A graduate of the University of Auckland; University of NSW; University of Technology, Sydney; and Catholic Institute of Sydney; Benjamin has had a long international career in consulting, human resources, conference presentations, visual arts and education.
Areas of Key Expertise:
Training and development
Manual development (policy; instructional; program)
Quality Assurance systems
Development of national competency standards and qualifications (tourism, hospitality, health care/aged care, caravan construction and operation)
Organisational development and troubleshooting
Problem people in organisations
Research and writing
Maori and Polynesian history and genealogy
Development of expertise and expert practice.
For over ten years, Benjamin was part of the small team which developed Australia’s national competency standards and qualifications in tourism, hospitality, health care and caravan construction, from Certificate I to Advanced Diploma level. He also collaborated with and advised hospitality and tourism training bodies in New Zealand. Additionally, he did the mapping of and mutual recognition of hospitality qualifications between Australia and New Zealand on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand governments, under CER. He was for many years international judge for the Hospitality Standards Institute National Training Awards in New Zealand and a State and National judge for WorldSkills Australia.
A professional painter, represented in collections around the world, Benjamin was the first ever Maori graduate holding BFA and MFA(Hons) degrees from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. His other qualifications are in medical and health personnel education, education and training and pastoral care. His doctoral research was on the nature and development of expertise and expert practice for which he developed some new models.
Benjamin was also the long-standing secretary of The Maori Women’s Welfare League Poihakena Incorporated, and was made a Life Member in 2010; Vice-Chairman of the Pacific Island Community Advisory Committee and Executive for the NSW Department of Corrective Services and, Foundation Secretary, Sydney Marae Incorporated, a Maori community organisation is Sydney, a city which has one of the largest Maori communities in the world, New Zealand included. Benjamin for many years, visited and counseled Maori/Pacific Island inmates in NSW Correctional facilities at the request and sanction of the Department. He is also the developer of Mana Pacific/Mana Pasifika, a Maori and Pacific Island cultural reclamation program with versions for use in correctional facilities, court sentencing programs, youth leadership development and schools in NSW, Australia. It is a program designed to rescue troubled Polynesian youth and instill within them a sense of pride in their cultural heritage and ancestry as a key to surviving and succeeding within the modern world.
Benjamin chaired many course review panels for NSW TAFE (Department of Technical and Further Education) and was also a representative on the management committee of NSW Adult Migrant Education Service (AMES).
As one of the most senior descendants of Patuone, Ti Tiriti signatory, Benjamin has a close interest in and major ancestral links to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its allied history as well as to all the senior chiefly lines of Ngāpuhi and from there, back to ancient Polynesia.
Benjamin is also an expert on the shared history of Polynesia with ancestral links to Ra’iatea, Tahiti, Hawai’i and the Cook Islands.
Passionate about the future of Maori, Benjamin’s tribal affiliations are many within the Tai Tokerau and Ngapuhi rohe, including: Ngati Hao – Te Popoto; Ngati Hau; Te Parawhau; Takahiwai – Patuharakeke; Ngati Wai; Ngati Hine; Ngati Kahu; Ngati Kuri; Te Roroa; Uriohau and back to Ngai Tahuhu and Ngati Tu.
He is a committee member of Akerama Marae with co-oversight of resource management, business development, health and education; a member of the Ngati Hau Trust Board; elected Ngati Hau Hapu Kaikorero for Tuhoronuku (TIMA – Te Tiriti o Waitangi Settlement Body for Ngapuhi); Trustee of Te Pouwhenua o Tiakiriri Kukupa Trust (Te Parawhau); Chairman of Ngati Rahiri Maori Komiti, Waitangi; executive member of Tai Tokerau District Maori Council and a representative to the NZ Maori Council; and, executive member of Forest & Bird Mid-Northern Branch.
Qualifications – Dr Benjamin Pittman PhD(UTS), MFA(Hons) Auck., MHPEd(UNSW), BFA(Auck), DipTchg(NZ), DipSecTchg(ASTC), DipAPC(CISyd), Justice of the Peace for NSW #129064
The following link is a discussion article written by Benjamin on the Continuing Hurt of Maori.
Click here to see our supporters and advisors from the US
These people see New Zealand as a place that is small enough to create significant change.
More US support
We have interest in our constitution from the US, and so a reading of it has been recorded on this web site by Steve Moyer. Steve ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Vermont as an independent. He ran against the retiring Senator Jeffords in 2000.
More of the team – coming soon
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