by Charli Cox

Meet Lily. When you share common ground and mutual beliefs with someone, having them on your team is a no brainer. I knew this was the case after one conversation with Lily and I have been enlisting her support ever since.

Lily originally got in touch to support our Wellington expansion and has been working away in the background whilst we’ve dealt with ongoing delays to the move south. Now that our van is back up and running, you’ll be seeing her face at several pop-ups around the Wellington area – so say kia ora and spark up a yarn if you want to get involved.

Koha Apparel would not be what it is today without the commitment and support of its volunteers. The power of a mutual purpose and determination to make the world a better place is what continues to drive our mission forward.

From the whole Koha team, we look forward to meeting more of our community in Wellington and doing what we can to serve our fellow people. Have a read of the ethos Lily intends to lead with and get in touch if it resonates with you! 

Why did you choose to join the Koha team?

Being part of the community that is Te Whanganui-a-Tara, means wanting the best for ALL its members. People have no power over the circumstances they are born into and so it seems insane to me that I wouldn’t use my undeserved privilege to help alleviate somebody else’s undeserved poverty. Inequity is man-made and it’s privileged to be able to sit around and debate the basic human rights of our community - I’m pretty tired of all the talking and I’m ready to see far more action from those that have the means to make a difference. It wasn’t so much that I chose Koha Apparel, it was that it welcomed me in, it was clear Charli was driven by genuine intentions not the ‘feel-good factor’ that many in the not-for-profit space are fueled by. I felt connected to the kaupapa and supported to bring my own skills and character to the space. It’s early days but I’m already proud to be associated with this mission and to help restore dignity to those that have so wrongfully had it stripped away.

Can you share with us what you enjoy most about being a part of the Koha team?

In an ideal world I wouldn’t be on the Koha team, because in an ideal world the need for Koha’s services wouldn’t exist. It’s inherently confronting and uncomfortable to be involved in this work because it’s a constant reminder of how much we’ve fucked up as a society. I think it’s important to acknowledge this when speaking about anything positive, as it’s my privilege that allows me to do this work at all. If I was to pick one thing I enjoy most, it’s that Koha Apparels services are community facing. We stand face-to-face with every person that utilises our services and in doing so we foster relationships, the impact of which transcends that made by simply passing on clothing. I’m here to connect with people regardless of their past or present and Koha Apparel is a vehicle for reaching members of my community that I otherwise might not.

Anything else?

If there’s one thing I could inspire people to think about, it’s the degree to which inequity influences the various challenges that our country and world are facing. We can’t separate inequity from climate injustice, from mental illness, from racism – without confronting inequity we stand no hope of overcoming the destructive forces we are experiencing. All of this is man-made, inequity could be torn down as fast as it was built if only the willpower existed. So start questioning those in charge, keep demanding more and to my Pākehā counterparts, keep working to recognise your privilege. The power of the people is stronger than the people in power.