Real Women Raw Stories - Moira Murphy’s positive impact
When it comes to positive impact, Moira Murphy has been punching above her weight in the events industry. In 2021 she ran the first year of Real Women Raw Stories, an event based in Christchurch which celebrated four women who bravely shared their personal stories of triumphs and challenges. Through the success of this first event, she has gone on to run it annually, with the third edition to take place at the McFaddens Centre in Christchurch on 24 August 2023. Lined up with another group of four amazing women, this year's event is based around the theme of journeys.
To create an event with positive impact, we often think about environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality. This is only one facet of the sustainability equation, and imparting positive impact from an event can have a strong relationship to the social impact your event imparts on its guests. Creating positive social impact has an insurmountable effect long term, and begins a discussion for change or at minimum, awareness. Facilitating events with a purpose, as Moira has done, creates these conversations and shows great social responsibility to impart meaningful interactions in the event space. Sometimes we want to attend events to be entertained or distracted from our busy lives, but also having the ability to attend events which impart knowledge, encourage our own self awareness and inspire us, is an important opportunity to have.
We sat down with Moira and discussed this year’s event and how she creates a positive impact. The McFaddens Centre itself, is easily accessible to guests and located centrally in Christchurch with disability access, on-site car and bike parking, and bus stops nearby. The event is run exclusively as an in-person event, which could be at first perceived as a barrier until you understand Moira’s reasoning behind this decision. With many of the topics discussed during the event pertaining to personal struggles that attendees may sympathise with, the thought of her guests being alone at home watching the event and listening to potentially triggering discussions was something Moira wanted to proactively avoid. At the in-person event, there are designated support workers with discrete badges that guests can talk to during or after the event. She has planned for guests to remain on site offering drinks and canapes at the end of the event to act as both a social and strategic opportunity for guests to discuss any concerns with a professional.
This year, Lotta Dann will discuss her journey to sobriety and how that shaped who she is today. Using alcohol as a social crutch is often referenced as a reason for drinking in social settings, particularly when we’re around unfamiliar faces. This event is being run alcohol free to start the conversation around the reliance of alcohol both in social and private settings. Being alcohol free also creates an opportunity to promote businesses offering non-alcoholic drinks to the market that aren’t your traditional soft drinks or juice, and encourages the ‘safest way home’ for attendees following the event. This small but impactful choice is something that creates huge social impact and positive change.
We will also hear inspirational talks from Michelle Emery who survived a traumatic injury and was told she would never walk again, Di Foster’s battle with cancer and facing a terminal diagnosis, and Fariya Naseem’s journey of self discovery and empowerment to create a new life for her and her family. These women have all faced different challenges in their lives but have overcome adversity in their unique way.
With sponsors, a new record of ticket sales and a supportive community around the event, Moira is tracking well to expand. Moira hopes to grow this event and launch it on a national scale. This growth is further aligned with her desire for social impact by choosing to offer the event in provincial New Zealand, instead of the mainstream centres. Choosing to run events in smaller towns offers a unique opportunity to support locals who often miss out on these events, and inject economic gains into their community by way of hospitality and tourism. Travel cost from running these events will be outweighed by the social and economic benefit to the community, creating a lasting impact.
Real Women Raw Stories offers a unique opportunity to attend an event which will leave you inspired and educated, knowing you’re supporting a community dedicated to imparting positive change and understanding for others.