Shakti International News & Events

“No Equality Without Diversity” – International Women’s Day Brunch 10th March

February 28, 2017

சர்வதேச மகளிர் தினம் Hari Wanita Antarabangsa 国际妇女节 अंतरराष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस 세계 여성의 날 Ngày Quốc tế Phụ nữ روز زن Kadınlar Günü يوم المرأة ජාත්යන්තර කාන්තා දිනය

The international climate right now is becoming more hostile for migrant and refugee women. The anti-immigrant attitudes and policies in Europe, Australia and North America, the backtracking of women’s rights in Russia and the US, and growing inequalities locally and abroad means there is still a long way to go to achieve full gender equality and equity for immigrant women, particularly for migrant and refugee women of colour.

Shakti will be marking International Women’s Day this year on the 10th of March with the message “No Equality Without Diversity” at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, 9.30am-1pm. As immigrant women in Aotearoa/New Zealand, we experience patriarchal racism on an institutional and structural level, within the home and outside. After 21 years of actively working with New Zealand’s Asian, Middle Eastern and African communities, we continue to struggle for a place to exist as a community within the wider realms and be able to exercise our agency over our own affairs.

We live in a globalised world and our population is ethnically diverse but recent government strategies, including a “one size fits all” approach in the area of social services, is overlooking the specific needs of marginalised groups including migrant and refugee women, who are one of the most vulnerable communities in Aotearoa. At this event, we will also discuss in detail our campaign to #SaveShaktiWellingtonRefuge.

We invite you to join us in solidarity over a catered brunch. The Shakti Youth Unit will be launching the “Break Free” handbook for migrant and refugee youth experiencing family violence, a first of its kind in New Zealand . This event will also feature two panel discussions, one with researchers, followed by a cross-Party panel on the theme of “No Equality Without Diversity”.

We look forward to your support and presence. RSVP here:

This event is supported by:

Pacific Women’s Watch, Multicultural Council NZ, Ethnix Links and Auckland Women’s Centre

Donate to support Shakti:


Islam is a feminist religion

February 27, 2017

Islam is a feminist religion

Islam is a feminist religion. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an employee of his wife’s business. His wife, Khadija, was a businesswoman in her own right, and 15 years older than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Khadija is the first convert Muslim if we consider Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be born as a Muslim. In the Koran, there is an entire chapter on women, but unfortunately self-proclaimed leaders, predominantly men, distort the religion over the centuries in their own interest. Clearly, Islam as a religion and Muslim cultures is not the same. Some Muslim cultures are very sexist, patriarchal and do not give equal rights to the women. Muslim cultures in individual countries are also very different, for example, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa will have vast differences. Muslim cultures are very fluid and can change, but religion cannot be changed.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 3.53.16 PMOften in western countries, we hear mostly from (self-proclaimed) male leaders talk about violence against women, women’s dress/clothing and what is right or wrong for women. I guess that shows the power men exercise over women, even in the 21st century. It is very rare that women have the opportunity to answer, and very few women ready to answer due to the potential backlash they will face from the community in general. We’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Yassmin Abdel-Magied for speaking out as a Muslim woman in Australia where she says “Islam to me is one of the most, is the most feminist religion.”

The current climate in the world, where Islamophobia is spreading all over western countries manifests in Muslim women and children being attacked within the wider community. Muslim women throughout the world are being targeted. Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 3.54.01 PM

Islam is a very peaceful religion, and in saying that, it would be a joke in the current environment, but Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon on him) always refused to attack anybody. He talked about defence. For Muslim women, it’s not just the attack from the society they are in within western countries, the violence against Muslim women is also very real and an everyday phenomena at home. This kind of article only triggers violence inside and outside the home. It gives men the right to use violence.

Both Australian and NZ Federation of Islamic Council need to practice gender equality within their organisation framework, where women need to be responding to the issues concerning women. That will bring a change.

VICTORY! New Zealand criminalises forced / under-age marriage!

September 13, 2016

Shakti is very happy with the announcement from John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, that the government has strengthened the Domestic Violence Act to include the criminalisation of under-age / forced marriage.

This is excellent news for all our Asian, African and Middle Eastern women, young women and children who are at risk of experiencing this human rights abuse.  Shakti would like to thank all our supporters who helped out in this 6-year long campaign.  We make a special mention to our Shakti team members who worked tirelessly, Dr Jackie Blue, Ms Louisa Wall MP, Jane Pritchard from NZ Pacific Women’s Watch, Women’s Refuge NZ as well as our supporters from NZ’s women’s organisations, and NGOs around the country.


Source: New Zealand Herald –

New family violence offences to be created

12:26 PM Tuesday Sep 13, 2016


New family violence offences will be created as part of more than 50 changes to the current Domestic Violence Act.

Prime Minister John Key has announced a raft of changes in a speech to justice sector groups at Te Papa in Wellington.

They include:
• Creating new offences of non-fatal strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a family member.
• Making the safety of victims a principal consideration in all bail decisions, and at the centre of parenting and property orders.
• Flagging all family violence offences on criminal records. This will be done so the courts and police know when a person has such a history.

Key said New Zealand’s rate of family violence was “horrendous”.

“Our suite of changes are directed to earlier and more effective interventions. We are focussed on better ways to keep victims safe and changing perpetrator behaviour to stop abuse and re-abuse.”

The changes come after nearly 500 detailed submissions from individuals and groups were received after the Government released a discussion document last August.

New Zealand has the highest reported rate of intimate partner violence in the developed world.

Other changes announced today include:

  • Allowing others to apply for a protection order on a victim’s behalf, and better providing for the rights of children under protection orders. This could happen when a victim is too scared of a perpetrator to apply for an order herself. Police officers could already initiate a protection order, for example when a police safety order was breached. But the law change announced today would enable others to initiate that process.
  • Making offending while on a protection order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing.
  • Letting people refer themselves to services to help stop violence, such as giving the perpetrator access to non-violence programmes, without them having to go to court.
  • Make it easier for the sharing of information between the courts, police and the agencies and community organisations that deal with families.

The announcement follows a Herald campaign ran earlier this year addressing family violence.

Key said the changes would cost about $130 million over four years. Legislation is expected to be introduced to Parliament early next year.

“These changes have the potential to significantly reduce family violence.

“New Zealanders generally resist government interference in their private lives, and I get that.

“But let me say straight up that in households where anyone is being assaulted, threatened, intimidated, belittled or deprived, the perpetrator has no right to expect privacy so they can go on being a bully.”

Key said the increase in protection orders expected under the changes is expected to lead to 12300 fewer violent offences each year.

The increased imprisonment of violent offenders is expected to prevent another 1100 violent offences each year, he told the audience.

“To the perpetrators of this misery I say this – recognise what is going on in your home and take responsibility for it.

“A good father, a good step-father and a good man does not hit, intimidate or control his spouse, partner, ex-partner or her children. The same goes for women who are abusers.

“If you act in a violent and controlling way, you can change this behaviour. Own the problem. Nothing will get better until you do. Ask for help. There is no shame in that.”

“New Zealanders generally resist government interference in their private lives, and I get that.

“But let me say straight up that in households where anyone is being assaulted, threatened, intimidated, belittled or deprived, the perpetrator has no right to expect privacy so they can go on being a bully.”

Key said the increase in protection orders expected under the changes is expected to lead to 12300 fewer violent offences each year.

The increased imprisonment of violent offenders is expected to prevent another 1100 violent offences each year, he told the audience.

If you’re in danger NOW:

  • Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
    • Run outside and head for where there are other people
    • Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
    • Take the children with you
    • Don’t stop to get anything else
    • If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

– NZ Herald


Shakti Celebrates 20 Years!

July 17, 2015

Join Shakti to celebrate our 20 years of serving Asian, African and Middle Eastern women, children and young people in New Zealand, Australia and internationally.

Find an event near you and bring your family & friends!

150717 Shakti Flyer

Shakti Tauranga -White Ribbon Fundraiser

November 21, 2014

Shakti Tauranga is hosting a fundraising dinner on the occasion of White Ribbon Day.

When: Saturday 22nd Nov @ 6.30pm

Where: Historic Village, 17th Ave, Tauranga

Come and join us in support and enjoy our buffet!

Click here for the flyer.



Wellington Fundraiser

November 21, 2014



“Folktree has kindly offered to organise a fundraiser for Shakti Wellington in support of our refuge! The event is going to take place in Wellington, with 4 musicians lined up to play atBaobab Cafe (Newtown) on Thursday next week, including Wellingtonian singer, Amiria Grenell, currently on tour in the South Island. There will be a silent auction of some beautiful Gond artworks (created by artists from an indigenous group in India) and selling books from an independent publisher in Chennai (Tara Books).

Click here for the facebook event, and this is the folktree webpage which explains a bit about the books and the artworks.”

So come along for some great music, artworks and awesome time.


March to change New Zealands Shame – 15th September 2014

September 11, 2014

Date: Monday, 15th September 2014

Time: 12 Noon

Where: From Civic Square, down Lambton Quay to parliament steps

Help us create an impact nationally by uniting with us and organising your own march in your area. Below is some information that will help you in doing this.

Download the march kit here

Key areas to find further information are

The official March event page |

Women’s Refuge Facebook page |

Women’s Refuge Official website |

For any further information or questions please email Claire at

Event overview

  • A United Call to Action Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence in New Zealand
  • The march will take place on Monday 15th of September 2014, between 12.00pm-15.00pm.
  • The march will begin in Civic Square Wellington, where participants will gather at 11am and prepare for the March to begin.
  • At 12.00pm the march will begin, we will walk down the length of Lambton Quay, its finish point will be the Parliament steps.
  • Kate Sheppard was New Zealand’s most prominent suffragette. Now 132 years on, Women’s Refuge hopes Ms Sheppard’s image will help reduce domestic abuse against women and children. “We need to all stand up and we need to call for action, and so recognising Kate’s achievement is about calling for action as she did,” says Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare.
  • The Kate Sheppard statue will be presented to the Government on the steps of parliament
  • Key speakers will talk to the crowd and deliver our key messages.

Planning your own march? Great!

We value your support and commitment and we want you to remain safe and keep to your local council’s rules in relation to holding a public march.

If you are planning your own march then please use the same day and times as the details listed above.

If you are having a march where you will meet and stay at one particular area with your banners and chants, check with your council if there are any specific requirements for the use of this area

If you plan to do a street march or footpath march to a specific place, it is best to contact your council for details and requirements/restrictions.

What you need on the day

  • Banners
  • Chants
  • A designated leader or leaders to rally together the attendees and motivate them
  • Designated marshals who are easily identified and help keep the crowd safe

What do we want from this march?


  • We want politicians, the media and members of the public to know how serious the issues of domestic and sexual violence are for the people of New Zealand
  • We want them to reflect on our history and how Kate Sheppard may have dealt with this issue.
  • We want an Independent Inquiry into systems and resourcing around domestic violence services.
  • We want a cross party government team to take leadership on this issue and commit to acceptance of the epidemic and change.
  • We want, via media cover, to let victims and survivors know that there are people out there who want the violence to stop and for their abuse to be dealt with consistently and appropriately. Nice!

Key Messages

Domestic violence and sexual violence are pervasive, life-threatening crimes that impact thousands of New Zealanders with serious physical, psychological and economic effects.


New Zealand is amongst an epidemic of violence and we must act now to break the cycle.

The people of New Zealand need to know that we can break this cycle but in order to do this we must  project our voices as one to be heard by those who have the power to make a definitive change.

Violence against women, children and families is unacceptable

At this event we will make a call to action for the Government to acknowledge the urgency and seriousness of the issues of domestic and sexual violence.

Questions and Answers:

How many people do you want and can men join in?

We want as many people as possible involved. This is an issue affects women, men and children therefore we want everyone involved.

Why did you bring the spirit of Kate back?

Because we know that she wouldn’t have stood for the levels of domestic violence occurring in this country and she would be disgraced at the current situation. We are encouraging all New Zealanders to stand up and march with us to force the Government to make an immediate commitment to work with us to end this problem once and for all.

What will you do with the finished statue of Kate?

We intend to gift Kate to the Government on the day of the march, to be kept within parliament grounds as a constant reminder of what we are marching for and the rights of women, children and families to live violence free.

What if the Government does not want her?

There will be another party that will accept her. The refusal to accept Kate could be seen as a refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of domestic and sexual violence.

Fundraiser for Women’s Development in Bangladesh

August 18, 2014

Bangladesh-Fundraiser-Flyer pdf

Date: Thursday, 28th August 2014

Address: Ferndale House, 830 New North Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland.

Time: 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Tickets are sold at $100, $60 and $40 and can be collected from Sharmen Rodrigues, Ismot Ahmed, Wahida Mitu, Tania Ahmed or email

Donations can also be made at 01-0183-0244496-02

Culture: No Excuse For Abuse forum targets domestic violence in migrant community

July 17, 2014

By Mohamed Taha

Posted Sun 29 Jun 2014, 12:13am AEST

Shakti Australia

Photo: Attendees came together from women’s support groups, agencies and government bodies for the forum. (ABC: Mohamed Taha)

Related Story: Migrant women trapped in violent relationships

Map: Parramatta 2150

A national forum is shining the light on domestic abuse in Australia’s growing migrant population, amid warnings that women are being exposed to violence, exploitation and discrimination.

More than 100 people from women’s support groups, agencies and government attended the Culture: No Excuse for Abuse forum at the University of New England campus in Parramatta, NSW.

Hosted by women’s advocacy group Shakti Australia, the forum sought to address violence, exploitation and discrimination of women from Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities.

Shasha Ali from Shakti Australia and New Zealand said the group wanted to draw attention to violence in Australia’s growing migrant population.

“It’s a way for us to demonstrate some of the grave issues that our women and children face on a day-to-day basis in settling in Australia,” she said.

Cultural misunderstanding leads to under-reporting

Ms Ali said domestic violence within migrant and refugee communities is misunderstood by the wider sector, which leads to many incidents being left unreported.

“In Australia, the issue of forced marriage, threats of honour killings, dowry-related violence and other forms of culturally sanctioned abusive practices are misunderstood and unrepresented in the domestic violence sector.”

She said this lack of understanding leaves many victims in the dark and fearful of seeking help.

“We feel it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“Most of the time, women don’t want to access most of the services because of stigma, fear of discrimination and language and cultural understanding barriers.”

Ms Ali said the group has received a high number of calls for help in New Zealand, where these particular communities represent 10 per cent of the population.

“We see 700 calls a month through our own crisis line [in New Zealand],” she said.

“We can only imagine the extent of the issue [here] being explored, if it was well promoted and understood in Australia.”

Ms Ali said change has to come from within these communities to encourage more reporting.

“Speaking out, taking responsibility for issues and working together to find solutions to this issue,” she said.

“We need collaborative and innovative models within the Australian community and the support of the wider sector.”

The forum was supported by the Department of Social Services under the Gender Equality for Women program – Women’s Safety Agenda.

Group says greater reporting in subcontinent communities

One of the attendees was Kittu Randhawa from the Indian and Subcontinent Crisis and Support Agency.

Shakti Australia 2

Photo: The forum was held to draw attention to violence in Australia’s growing migrant population. (ABC: Mohamed Taha)

She said incidents of violence is on the rise due to more reporting.

“[The increase] is due to the reporting and [the fact] there are more organisations,” she said.

“We’re starting to get some data on this.”

She said the causes of domestic and family violence within the subcontinent communities are not understood by the wider sector.

“Domestic violence is grouped as a large thing,” she said. “There’s not a lot of data or statistics that’s broken down into the subcontinents, cultures or ethnicities.”

Ms Randhawa said one of the difficulties in collecting data is the stigma around speaking out.

“The women become ostracised within their own communities from men, women and children.”

“We need to get through to the children in the communities so they understand what their obligations and rights are … [and] we need to work with the general agencies, the police force, medical institutions and politicians.”

You can also catch the story on the link below –