Jasmine Jenke, the photographer behind the inspiring Humans of South Auckland campaign is now a fellow of Ko Awatea.
Mrs Jenke describes the role at the health innovation and improvement hub within Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) as her “dream job”.
“I have to pinch myself,” she says.
While at Ko Awatea, Mrs Jenke will turn her compelling images of South Auckland residents into a book, which she then plans to give to local schools and other health organisations in the Counties Manukau region “These are the places where people need to read the good stuff,” she says.
The purpose of the book, she explains, is to restore humanity between practitioners and patients. It builds on her desire to challenge the stereotypes of South Auckland and it was borne of a tragedy she experienced during her previous role as a teacher at Papatoetoe High School when a teenaged dance student committed suicide.
“She honestly believed she didn’t have a reason to live. I couldn’t just do nothing.”
So Mrs Jenke, a self-taught photographer, established the Humans of South Auckland Facebook page, in an attempt to promote hope and pride through photography and narrative.
The page now has 20,000 likes. It features a weekly story about a South Auckland resident, described to celebrate minority and resilience.
Mrs Jenke’s first involvement with Ko Awatea came last year as a speaker at the first ever TEDx Manukau (which was proudly hosted by Ko Awatea).
During her presentation she described her own experience of minority – coming from Australia to Manurewa where she recognised she was one of the only European students
“I quickly realised ‘oh, now I’m different.”
Ko Awatea director Jonathon Gray is thrilled with Mrs Jenke’s appointment.
“Jasmine has a unique ability to uncover richness in populations of our citizens,” Professor Gray says “We can’t physically bring people into Ko Awatea all the time, but we can bring their stories in.”