In October, Shine said a fond and sad farewell to one of our brightest stars, Mary McGee, who has retired and is now onto some new adventures, including spending more time with her grandchildren.
For most of her many years with Shine, Mary worked as an Advocate. “I feel privileged to have had so many people share the intimate details of their lives with me. To do this work has been an absolute honour.”
She previously worked for 11 years as a counsellor at the Auckland Medical Aid Centre, and for 10 years as a Senior Family Court Coordinator at the Auckland Family Court. In 1998, Mary did a stint for six weeks as the manager for Shine – then called the Domestic Violence Centre. She left to do a Bachelor of Social Practice degree, then came back to Shine in 2001 to work as an Advocate. Mary says, “One of the really great things are the people I work with here at Shine. It is like a family.”
Everyone who has worked with Mary will agree that she is utterly passionate about supporting victims of domestic violence and about the need to improve the systems that are barriers to safety for these people. “In my view, domestic violence and its offspring are the central problems in our society. I do believe that this problem can be fixed, but that the damage it is doing to society is still largely being ignored.”
As a Shine Advocate, Mary has helped thousands of victims of domestic violence. Her experience and knowledge have played a huge part from 1998 in supporting Shine to develop and deliver services for victims of domestic abuse.
“It is really gratifying and satisfying to know that there is a family which is now safe and the positive spin off for that family is potentially huge. It may be that a whole lot of generational violence has now ended. As clichéd as it sounds, there is the sense that you are doing something worthwhile.”
Mary was brought up in Gisborne by her mother and pacifist Quaker grandparents. “My grandmother always said ‘You can do something really good with your life.’ I can say now that I did.” Mary plans to enjoy retirement by, among other things, spending far more time with her grandchildren and more time gardening. “It is really exciting to be in the position to be figuring out what I want to do next. I am really going to enjoy it.”
Thank you Mary for all that you have done and given to Shine and victims of domestic violence. You have indeed done something really good with your life and you will be missed!