My Wellington: ‘It feels like a place where change can be created’ – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: January 9, 2022 at 4:15 pm

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Jacinta Gulasekharam is the founder of Dignity NZ, which advocates to end period poverty in New Zealand

Jacinta Gulasekharam is the co-founder and director of Dignity NZ, which advocates for period equity in Aotearoa. Businesses across New Zealand have partnered with the social enterprise, providing free period products to employees, which Dignity matches and gifts to youth and community groups. Gulasekharam successively lobbied the Government to provide free period products in schools and is a finalist for the University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year 2022. Originally from Fielding, she shares what she loves about living in Wellington.

What does it mean to be a Wellingtonian?

Someone who is curious and quite politically engaged as well, whos keen to talk about big ideas and changes that need to happen in society ... and brave enough to face the weather!

I live here because ...

I live in Wellington because its central to all of my interests and activities, its a great place to work, get coffee, shop or get exercise. Its full of talented people whatever event you go to you definitely recognise a face, and it feels like a place where change can be created.

Dignity was born in a student flat in Kelburn, and weve been in lots of places around the city, most of our first and early corporates that joined Dignity were from here, like Flick Electric and Xero. Wellington is a great place to start a social business. There are a lot of like-minded people that are very willing to give you a go.

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Ross Giblin/Stuff

The City Gallery regularly has interesting art, Jacinta Gulasekharam says, who also keeps an eye out for public art pieces on the city streets.

What's your favourite place to take in some art?

The City Gallery is really interesting to walk around, my favourite one thats ever been is the Lego exhibition. The Te Papa exhibits are amazing, especially the Alice and Wonderland one.

But I really like paying attention to the art around the city that pops up, the murals, including under the bridge by the waterfront. Theres a lot of art pieces no matter where you look around, you just have to pay attention.

What is your ideal night out in Wellington?

Some really nice drinks and nibbles somewhere, Im a huge fan of ABV and their margaritas. Its a little rooftop bar above The Grand on Courtenay Place. Its in a really cute spot that overlooks the city great drinks, great food, and lovely staff, its got a funky, old-school elevator you go up too.

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Khandallah's village feel reminds Jacinta Gulasekharam of growing up in Fielding (file photo.)

What part of the city are you most at home in?

I think Id say Khandallah because I lived there for 3 years. The little village really reminded me of Fielding, where Im from. Theres a cute little Hells Pizza House, a little caf, and you can tell the New World employs a lot of the high school students that are around. I felt very at home there, its just out of the city, with a beautiful train ride.

Where is the best place to swim?

Everyone will say this, but going to Oriental with a book, taking some snacks, and swimming. I also go to Freyberg pool to do laps, in the fast or slow lane, depending on how Im feeling. Its nice to be near the water, my walk to work is going past the water every day, and I think theres something very grounding about that.

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Jacinta Gulasekharem finds walking past Parliament every day inspiring (File photo.)

What is Wellington's best feature?

Its really nerdy but I think Parliament. I think theres something very cool about seeing the Parliament building, when you see it all the time on the news, and you just know whats happening in there. With my campaign we got to go and meet the Prime Minister on the 9th floor, and it was cool to be inside a building we passed so many times at uni.

What does it add to the city, having parliament right there?

I think theres a bit of hope with that, that you can help make change happen for the rest of New Zealand, that the decisions that get made there are really important.

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My Wellington: 'It feels like a place where change can be created' - Stuff.co.nz

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