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MAWSA joins the NZUSA – stays a member for eight days

By Nikki Papatsoumas

The Massey at Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA) may have recently joined a national student union, but the alliance was short lived.

MAWSA was accepted as an associate member of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) on July 10.

However, MAWSA President Adam Logan Cairns sent a letter to NZUSA President Jonothan Gee on July 18 – just eight days later – sending his apologies and withdrawing the association from the union.

This comes after Cairns joined the union without the authority of his 11 executives earlier in July.

At a special meeting held on July 18, Cairns’ motives were questioned and the executive voted six to five to withdraw from the NZUSA, with MAWSA Manager Sarah Grant-Wang making the casting vote.

MAWSA has a long history of issues with the NZUSA and last year’s MAWSA President Tom Pringle was well-known for criticising the group.

In a statement, Cairns says he has apologised to his executive for making a move to join the NZUSA without their feedback.

He says when initially consulting with the executive around being members, there was low involvement and feedback which was difficult.
“When I was in the MAWSA offices talking to Sarah Grant-Wang [MAWSA Manager] and other staff everything was positive and so, with a deadline that needed to be met for both the training and membership I decided that on behalf of MAWSA, I would need to make the decision to become members then and there.
“This was the wrong decision as I needed to discuss the membership with the executive further and call for a vote.”

College of Creative Arts Executive Jack Mayo says when he found out MAWSA was part of the association it felt like a kick in the gut.

“As a group we had decided we weren’t going to action it any further because it was too expensive [to join].

“We have a long history of being an independent student union and I think we should uphold that and focus on our own students and students in Wellington before joining an umbrella of elitists where we won’t get a say.”

Cairns says MAWSA’s withdrawal from the union has since been accepted by Gee, and no money was paid to the NZUSA as a membership fee.

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