International Women's Day: Nicki Dutton on helping others realise their power | Women

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International Women's Day: Nicki Dutton on helping others realise their power

Posted February 24, 2021

Captain Nicki Dutton loves the idea of mutual community as captured by the Māori concept of tuakana–teina - teacher one day, learner the next and connected by family bonds. Listen to Nicki as she shares her passion for others realising the power they hold, and how we can cultivate space for that revelation to occur.

We invite you to download and share this and our other International Women's Day testimonies with your community (link below). The following is a transcript from the video:

How was I leading during COVID and how was I encouraging and empowering others and myself?

It is an interesting question. For the most part, I led by serving - but I’ll get back to that. You see, I have a problem with the word ‘empowering’. I know the intention behind the word, but by default it suggests that the person empowering has either power over another or more power than another. And I believe that we all have power whether that is realised or not. And my role as a leader is to encourage, support and provide opportunities for people to realise their own power.

I much prefer the Māori concept of tuakana–teina relationships: older-sibling, younger-sibling learning together in a reciprocal relationship. One day I’m the teacher and the next I learn from you.

I think that especially as women, tuakana–teina relationships are vital. We need to make space and provide opportunities:

to hear and be heard, 
to serve and be served,
to learn and be taught
and to love and be loved.

And all of that as a response to the love which God has lavished on us. 

In many ways, COVID provided a vehicle for this to happen as people slowed down, as they changed their way of doing things and as they became - as we became - a team of five million. Phone calls, Zui, conversations and smiles across the street became the norm and bizarrely, given that we were in lockdown for much of last year - relationships were strengthened.

But here’s where I get back to leading by serving. 

God has called me to love his people and that is exactly what we did at Porirua through lockdown. We served others by providing food and essentials to the community. 

This time I was acutely aware that we were in a position of power, as we had things that people in our community needed. So I guess we did ‘empower’ mums, dads, whanau and neighbours to provide for their whanau and for others. We loved people as we had conversations from a distance; gave them food, hope and encouragement. And as we did this for each one of the least of these, we did it for Christ. 

As we gave out, God gave us so much more in return and he sustained us through it all - pouring out his love upon us as we loved our community in practical and tangible ways. Aroha mai, aroha atu. Love received and love given. 

The challenge now for each one of us is to continue what God started in us during Aotearoa’s darkest days of COVID: 

hearing and being heard, 
serving and being served, 
learning and being taught 

and loving and being loved - freely and without measure.

We're celebrating International Women's Day by sharing women's testimonies of leadership during COVID in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory. We will be releasing new videos daily, and joining a worldwide video montage on The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission's Facebook Page on March 8th. We invite you to share and view these stories with your community, to amplify their voices!

Posted by Salvation Army Women's Ministries on Tuesday, March 2, 2021