Catherine Delahunty

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Catherine Delahunty

Catherine Delahunty is a New Zealand Member of Parliament.

Marxist Background

Born in 1953, Catherine Delahunty is the daughter of Wellington Communist Party of New Zealand members June Delahunty and Jim Delahunty.

From Catherine Delahunty's obituary of her father;

Living with father was something of a political roller coaster from Soviet-style Communist theory at the dinner table through the Mao Tse Tung years, and eventually the long lectures on South American liberation struggles and especially the social experiments in Porto Alegre, Brazil (the birthplace of the World Social Forum. Ed.). My father always believed “another world was possible” and was working on organising a Wellington Social Forum in the last days of his life. Although always an internationalist he was also very involved in local community politics from public health to water privatisation. It is impossible to name all his roles and causes but he was particularly engaged in the resistance to transnational takeover of our economy and in earlier years against capital punishment, racism and military involvement in Vietnam.
He was politically reflective over the years and remained true to a Marxist analysis. His text book Marxism developed into an acknowledgement that each country would need to develop its own socialist solutions.
I am grateful for his legacy of political music and Irish charm, his copy of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paolo Freire, and his endless critique of capitalism.[1]

Education rally


Catherine Delahunty with Jack Liang and Elliot Crossan.

"Activating Collectivity"

Teanau Tuiono November 12 2020 It was great to catch up with comrades at 'Activating Collectivity: Aroha and Power Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change' and seeing the support for Liveable Incomes for All.


With Ricardo Menendez March, Teanau Tuiono and Catherine Delahunty


November 2021 - Ricardo Menendez March, Teanau Tuiono and Catherine Delahunty with Auckland Action Against Poverty.

Bradford book launch


Catherine Delahunty, Denise Roche, Sue Bradford, Dylan Taylor.

Secondary Schools Students Association

In the early 1970's, Delahunty was active in the radical led Secondary Schools Students Association.

SIS file

As seasoned political activists, Green MPs Sue Bradford and Catherine Delahunty always assumed the SIS was watching but they never suspected the spying began when they were teenagers.

From Stuff;

Thirty-two dollars seems cheap for a revolution, but at 16, Catherine Delahunty wasn't aiming too high.

As leader of a teenage group seeking greater rights for secondary pupils, she was more interested in education reform than overthrowing the state.
The problem, she explained to a 1970 congress of adult activists in Wellington, was her group needed cash for their "high school revolution".
The activists were not the only ones listening. Somewhere in the audience was a Security Intelligence Service spy who thought Ms Delahunty's fundraising methods worth reporting.
"... the reference to the shortage of money led to the 'passing of a hat' and a collection of $32," says the note in her file - a record that began in October 1968, when she was just 14.

Delahunty's finishes in March 2002, the year she sought selection for the Greens.[2]

Work and life experience

Education co-ordinator/tutor for Kotare Trust (since 1999), mediator/facilitator (since 1990). Previous employment: Sewage/ RMA mediator - Gisborne/Whaingaroa(1997- 2001) (Community Work Certificate Co-ordinator (1997-1999), Greenpeace Community Action /toxics(1993-96), Youth Worker/Polytechnic tutor (1991-1993), Campaign Promotions Dept of Conservation (1989 -1991), NZ Conservation Corps pilot (1988-1990), Co-ordinator Coromandel Watchdog Group(1985-1987), Fleeco (1977- 1996).

Qualifications and training

Half B.A., Certificate in Adult Teaching.

Political background

Green Party Member since 1999.- Auckland Campaign Manager 1999 election, Auckland Co Convenor 2000-2002, East Coast candidate 2002, electorate contact East Coast 2002- 2004, Female National Co Convenor (2002- 2004), Convenor Strategic Plan group (2002-2004). Policy Interests: RMA issues, education, Te Tiriti from a Pakeha perspective, Womens' affairs, toxics, sustainable forestry, water, conservation.

Community and other involvement

Colville School Board of Trustees, Womens /Environment Representative on the Thames/Coromandel Regional Development Council, Facilitator/mediator in community issues, Te Tiriti workshops, anti mining campaign organiser(12 years), Oho Ake network member ( wastewater/anti racism campaigns, Te Tairawhiti), Trustee, Tairawhiti Beneficiary Advocacy Trust. Established Secondary Schools Students Association) 1968-1970, activist/organiser Coromandel Watchdog (1980- 1998), environmental representative Resource Management Bill 1991, APEC protest organiser (1999), AK GE Free facilitation/ GE Free March team (2001), founding member of the Tairawhiti Beneficiary Advocacy Trust.


In 1995 Catherine Delahunty was Greenpeace community action liason officer.


November 2002 - with Tim Howard, facilitators of workshop for networkers at Kotare Education Centre, Wellsford

Kotare Trustees, 2013:


In March 2002, Delahunty was Gisborne contact: for tour by CAFCA's Murray Horton.

In 2004 Catherine Delahunty was a CAFCA member and an activist on environmental, Te Tiriti and social justice issues living in Gisborne with her partner Gordon Jackman. She is the local candidate for the Green Party, works nationally as a radical community educator for Kotare Trust, and is a generic troublemaker (her own words).[5]

Community Education Aotearoa

Adult and Community Education Aotearoa Conference May 2005, DIY Action Reflection - with Paolo Freire and Kotare Trust's Catherine Delahunty.

Below are excerpts from a speech made in Sydney by Catherine Delahunty taken from Kotare’s website.

The venue is not stated, nor is it dated, but my guess is some time in late 2004 or 2005, because of references in part 2) to the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi.

The speech title is a clear reference to the book “We Make the Road by Walking“, conversations between Myles Horton and Paolo Freire.

“We Make the Road By Talking?”

Catherine Delahunty

Greetings to the earth, to the indigenous people of this land, and to the indigenous people of this specific place. I acknowledge your land and history, alive beneath this layer of colonisation, and alive beneath the steel and concrete of this city. Greetings to all other cultures and to our hosts. Many thanks for the opportunity to participate.
I am speaking as a Pakeha (of Irish/English descent) from Aotearoa New Zealand. I am also speaking as an activist educator/educator activist. I bring greetings from Kotare Trust, Research and Education for Social Change, the small community of educator activists of which I am part.
Kotare was established in the mid nineties by people from a range of political movements to be a centre for radical and liberating education for social change.
In this speech I want to share some of our story with you and to talk about the relationship between education and action, and the belief that social change education must be part of the action for change. Otherwise we risk institutionalisation, sterilisation and collusion.
But first I want to talk about Kotare, how we struggle with these issues and with the framework of liberating structural analyse which inspires us.
Kotare was a response to the bloodless coup by far right neo liberals in my country in the 1980’s. Since then we have never regained our humanity as a society (if indeed we ever had it) as we have been poisoned by corporate globalisation, and the wholesale commodification of every aspect of our national life.
Since colonisation Aotearoa New Zealand was always a vigorously dishonest country. The comparative wealth of our Pakeha citizens has been built on a massive land theft and the use of “democratheid” (apartheid). But now neo liberalism has taken us to a whole new level of economic and social polarisation.
The cult worshippers of this ideology point to the benefits e.g. many more telephone companies to put you on hold, and access to better types of coffee beans. They extol the virtues of globalisation while promoting prisons as one of more stable growth industries.

Blaming “Rogernomics” for all social ills is a constant theme of the NZ far left. While the left wants racial seperatism in order to divide and destroy our society, we are blamed for inflicting “Apartheid” on Maori because we want them all peoples to stand on equal footing. The term “Orwellian” comes to mind.
Education in this context has, as always, been the handmaiden of the oppressor. Hence the need for a school for social change. Radical educators worldwide also provided our inspiration, notably Paolo Freire and the Highlander Folk School, the Phillipino activist educators we have met, and particularly the indigenous sovereignty movement in Aotearoa which has always had a strong radical education component.
Unemployed workers rights activists, radical Catholic nuns, feminist adult educators, anti racism workers, unionists and community development workers, thus formed Kotare in 1995. Since then the Trust members have expanded to include environmental activists, gay liberationists, disability rights advocates and other bona fide troublemakers. Some come from the middle class left and some from the marginalised working class.
Since 1999, when I was employed to co-ordinate the education programme, we have been running workshops on a wide range of social change themes. The themes are developed from an ongoing structural analysis of the current political, economic and social dynamics in our country, and from working with key people and groups for mutual liberation.

“Sructural analysis”, is an actual process. When it was first introduced in this country in the ’80s, was originally called, “Marxist Structural Analysis”. The Marxist bit was dropped, probably to make it more acceptable to the churches where it was and is, widely promoted.

Many of you will know Paolo Freire’s work, and probably understand it better than I do. Freire’s work has been a major influence upon Kotare because of his underlying analysis of power and his educational methods based upon a respect for people’s wisdom. Myles Horton from the Highlander Folk School and Freire were both practitioners of this approach who have particularly inspired us by their active involvement in campaigns for social justice as well as learning
Freire’s literacy campaigns and Highlander Folk School’s work with workers rights, civil rights and opposition to strip mining in the Appalachian mountains, made sense to us as educators. We come from the unemployment street protests, the direct action campaigns against gold mining, and the fringe unions and from the Pakeha solidarity movement in support of honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi,
As activists of our time we also uphold the feminist values of womens liberation as well as class struggle. The key themes change but at the moment the focus is on indigenous rights, corporate globalisation resistance and alternatives, radical community development, youth empowerment and welfare issues.
Our practice can be loosely described as radical participatory education or as “keeping the fire alive” for social justice. ur aim is to resist the educational practices we were brought up with which were summarised by radical Maori educator Makareta Tawaroa as “ good kids shut up” and “the educator knows everything”.
Our programmes can be divided into two main strands, the work to strengthen activists and community workers with a critical analysis to carry on their work, or the conscientisation of potential activists and social change workers. Both strands are a vital and unique form of adult education in our country. As you can imagine funding is a permanent issue and takes us hours of time which could be better spent on transformative trouble making.
Each year we work with 14-17 year old high school students on their issues of the day. Unsurprisingly these include loss of community, the search for identity in a globalised corporate framework, and the old favourite, and the need for an educational experience that treats them with respect. Youth wages, suicide, animal rights, racism and date rape as a part of their daily concerns. Using role-plays, artwork, song and drama we work with young people to name their issues and develop both visions and strategies towards a world they want to live in.

Urewera 17 connections

In June 2005, Delahunty, her partner and fellow Kotare board member Gordon Jackman and Kotare trainer Shona Solomon, held a training session in Wellington;

Sustaining Our Activism Sustaining Ourselves

Shona, Gordon and Catherine facilitated this workshop with some inspiring younger activists in Wellington. Many of these people had been fighting the motorway bypass and/or global capitalism at international protests…

The Wellington anti bypass campaign had two wings, the Green Party run Campaign for A Better City and the allied, anarchist controlled Anti Bypass Action.

Anarchist involved in the campaign included Alexander Wright, Emma Wills, Lenka Rochford, Ken Simpson, Ira/Tim Bailey and his sister Emily Bailey.

The Bailey siblings were both arrested in the October 15th police anti terror raids and both faced firearms charges over their alleged activities in the Ureweras.

In this email thread Emily Bailey writes;

June 18/19 – Kotare Trust (Catherine Delahunty etc) are holding a free sustainability in activism workshop here, after a request from some of us.

The email thread later refers to another meeting at 128 Abel Smith Street Wellington.

All the above named anarchist activists are linked to that address, including the Bailey siblings.

Two other Urewera 17 activists, Val Morse and Marama Mayrick are also linked to 128.

Another of the Urewera 17, Omar Hamed is also believed to have links with Kotare.

Omar Hamed’s Radical Youth colleague, John Darroch is on Kotare’s Youth Advisory Committee as is Frances Mountier, former flatmate of Kristin Gillies-also suspected of training in the Ureweras.

Another member of the committee, Tali Williams has close ties to the Wellington anarchist community.

There are clear links between the Green Party controlled Kotare School, Catherine Delahunty, the Wellington anarchist community and the Urewera 17.

Ernie Abbott memorial

27 March 2014: Over a hundred people packed the lobby of Trades Hall, at 126 Vivian Street, in downtown Wellington, to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Wellington Trades Hall, thirty years ago;

The bombing, by an unidentified person, instantly killed Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, and caretaker of the Wellington Trades Hall.

Live music, provided by the good folk of the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band (in vibrant, socialist-red);

Attendees included Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central; former Labour MP for “Island Bay” (now Rongotai) Electorate, Liz Tennett; and current MP for Hutt South, Trevor Mallard; Former Labour MP, Graham Kelly; Green MPs Denise Roche and Catherine Delahunty; Former Alliance activist, Carrick Lewis ;Cath Wallace from ECO; Wellington Trades Hall secretary, Graeme Clarke, who was Wellington District Secretary of the Federation of Labour in 1984 SFWU organiser, Daele O’Connor, Paul Tolich, Richard Wagstaff, National Secretary for the PSA and Vice President of the CTU. The last speaker, was Peter Cranney, who in 1984 was Vice President of the Wellington Cleaner’s Union, and is currently a lawyer specialising in workers’ advocacy.[6]

"We Won’t Pay for Their Crisis"


Public Meeting convened by Socialist Aotearoa, was held 7pm Thursday Dec 11th Auckland Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road Grey Lynn.

"and a wide representation of Auckland’s fighting left".
Those who argue that this government is centrist are providing a saccharin coating for the bitter pills a coming. Supporters of the Maori party within the union movement in particular face a major test of loyalty- to their new NAT-ACT coalition partners or to their fellow workers. The sheep's clothing is coming off the wolf, and workers need to be ready to respond to these attacks on our rights as soon as possible.
That's why Socialist Aotearoa has convened the "We won't pay for their Crisis" meeting at 7pm on Thursday night in Auckland's Trades Hall. We'll be joined by John Minto from Unite union and Catherine Delahunty, the new Green MP. We have also invited our comrades from the Workers Party, the Auckland Anarchist Network, RAM, the NDU and the EPMU to come and speak. W e appeal to you to make the effort and get there with your mates.[7]

"Marxism Alive"


In 2009 Delahunty addressed an openly Marxist conference organized by the neo-Trotskyists of Socialist Worker.

From Socialist Worker’s UnityBlog

Speakers from the Alliance Party, Green Party, RAM-Residents Action Movement, Socialist Worker and Workers Party have been confirmed for Marxism Alive, an upcoming educational forums hosted by Socialist Worker-New Zealand. (See list of speakers and topics below.)

Marxism Alive will run from 10am-5pm on Saturday 27 June, @ Socialist Centre, 86 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland.

The current global economic crisis will loom large in our discussions. The left has to put forward an ideological, political and organisational challenge to the corporate market if we’re to avoid the crisis being dumped on grassroots people.

Here are the discussion topics and confirmed speakers (we are waiting further confirmations):

Session 1: The great implosion: Economic crisis & its impact on NZ Speaker: Vaughan Gunson (Socialist Worker)

Session 2: Is National the new natural party of government? Will Labour return to social democracy? Panel of speakers: Sarita Divis (Alliance Party), Daphna Whitmore (Workers Party), Grant Brookes (Socialist Worker).

Session 3: Transitioning to a human centred economy in Aotearoa Panel of speakers: Catherine Delahunty (Green Party), Elliot Blade (RAM-Residents Action Movement, David Colyer (Socialist Worker).

Session 4: An International for the 21st century: building a global broad left movement Speaker: Bronwen Beechey (Socialist Worker).[8]

"Mining our Future"

In 2012, the Greens organized an anti coalmining "Mining our Future" tour with Gareth Hughes and Catherine Delahunty.

Anarchist assistant

In 2012/2013 Catherine Delahunty employed well known anarchist Asher Goldman as her executive assistant.[9]

Meeting the Cuban Ambassador

Wellington, 16th of May 2013. Invited by a group of representatives of the Green Party in Parliament, The Ambassador of Cuba, Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro, held a cordial and fruitful exchange with MPs Catherine Delahunty, David Clendon, Kennedy Graham and Steffan Browning that lasted around one and a half hours.

The meeting, which took place at the houses of Parliament, was an occasion to expound at length on the reality of Cuba, with the interest shown by the hosts on many different issues related to the country.

Addressed among others were issues of updating the Cuban economic model, organic agriculture, the results of the recent presentation of Cuba to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism (UPR) of the Human Rights Council, the composition and functioning of the Cuban Parliament and the electoral system, Cuba's cooperation with other countries, particularly in the Pacific, the U.S. blockade against Cuba, the case of the Cuban Five, Cuba's relations with Latin America and New Zealand, etc.

After the meeting the Cuban diplomat gave them notice of the 9th International Convention on the Environment and Development to be held between the 8th and 12th of July this year, and encouraged them to participate in the event.[10]

Climate change hui

This Saturday, the Kirikiriroa branch of Organise Aotearoa invites the public to participate in a hui focused on climate change. The hui will feature presentations from former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty and Professor Sandy Morrison.

“The afternoon will focus on actions that everyday New Zealanders can take in the face of climate change, as well as exploring the wider social and structural factors which contribute to ecological collapse. With kai and a focus on group discussion, the afternoon is a unique opportunity for Hamilton’s community to connect and reflect on the pressing issue of climate change for those living now, and in the years to come”, says Organise Aotearoa spokesperson Zach Sealey-Payne.

The hui will run from 2-5pm, Saturday 13 April 2019, at Anglican Action, 100 Morrinsville Road, Hamilton.[11]