New Zealand News

Welcome to Sally Hett, joining the WEAll Aotearoa whānau

Tags: Jason Hickel, New Zealand, WEAll Aotearoa
Published on April 29, 2024

WEAll Aotearoa is proud to announce Sally Hett, is our first WEAll Aotearoa’s Knowledge and Engagement Lead!

Sally is tangata tiriti living on Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai land in Paekākāriki. We sat down with Sally and asked some questions:

Kia ora Sally, you’ve had a diverse background working in social policy and entrepreneurship, how did you come to the Wellbeing Economy Alliance?

I remember in the 2020 lockdown my flat of eight took turns each evening to give a talk on something they were interested in. I shared one dance move for each of the Community Wealth Building (CWB) principles. It was really my curiosity and an odd-but-dear love of all things political economy that meant WEAll was on my radar.

I’ve been working primarily in social policy research since university. I’ve led research activity at the McGuinness Institute, been an advisor to the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry, run GovTech initiatives at Creative HQ, and learnt (am still learning) Māori Data Sovereignty kaupapa at Nicholson Consulting. I’m fortunate that these roles have opened my eyes to the realities of growing inequality in Aotearoa and have nurtured me to evolve my ways of thinking and being to one that centres indigenous knowing and nature.

You’ve got a degree in economics, what’s been your journey from Econ 101 to a Wellbeing Economy?

At University, you learn economics as if it’s fact like physics – the way things are – when really you’re learning one way it can be. Dissatisfied with formal economics education I took to learning from books and in conversation.

I believe we intuitively ‘get’ the Wellbeing Economy, it makes sense to value care, community, nature! It’s great to see those very human values were also expressed in the WEAll Aotearoa Economics Listening Tour last year. WEAll and related strategies put our intuitive knowing into practice. All the while, I’ve evolved my personal values which has seen me slow down and prioritise differently. (I studied in Dunedin so a reprioritisation was likely needed from my scarfie lifestyle.) This is my favourite Leunig Studio image highlighting ordinary happiness.

Leunig cartoon

Who gives you inspiration?

I’m inspired from afar by Naomi Klein, Joanna Macy, Steve Keen. Inspired in mahi by Sahra Kress and Mike Joy at DANZ, and Bernadette Scanlon, Ben Ritchie and Pascarn Dickinson at Nicholson. Inspired daily by my sister, chats with friends and of course Moss, my dog, he’s got play and nonattachment nailed. 

How do you explain a Wellbeing Economy?

It’s about putting people and nature at its heart, decentring money and profit from our economy. Equity is fundamental and in Aotearoa that means tino rangatiratanga for whānau, hapū and iwi. If ‘economics’ is the academic discipline, then ‘economy’ is the system application of economics. How and what we apply is inherently political. 

Favourite book?

At the moment… Less is more by Jason Hickel

How do you like to relax?

You’ll find me dancing and reading when I’m not working on Campfire Sauna (bringing a 14 person sauna to Paekākāriki). Dancing is my longest love, I currently teach Shut up and dance in Paekākāriki.

Thank you for your time Sally! We are excited to work with you.

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