Each of our 2021 judges has a track record of advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We acknowledge their commitment as volunteers, sharing their unique expertise and experience, reviewing every entry, visiting finalists and deciding our award winners.
Kirstin Te Wao
Head of Māori Development, Vodafone New Zealand
With Te Arawa and Tainui whakapapa, and raised among the people of Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei, Kirstin is a long-term advocate of diversity and inclusion which aligns with her personal values of manaakitanga (care towards others), kotahitanga (unity) and aroha (love). Kirstin, previously Vodafone’s Diversity and Inclusion Lead, is now responsible for the creation and execution of the organisation’s Māori Development strategy which recognises the Māori economy as the fastest growing sector in Aotearoa, the youthfulness of the growing Māori population as a pipeline of our future workforce, customers, business owners and leaders, and a unique part of our nation’s identity.
Outside of her Vodafone role, Kirstin is passionate about community development and fostering tikanga Māori at work, home and play while pursuing her own te reo Māori journey. She currently serves as a Trustee on her daughter’s primary school board and was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Vodafone Foundation in November 2018.
Director of People and Organisation, Auckland Museum
Catherine Smith is the kaitiaki of the Auckland Museum’s people and unique Tāmaki Paenga Hira culture. She is passionate about social change and authentic leadership and was awarded the Walk the Talk award at the 2019 Diversity Awards NZ™.
Her passion for social change, began when she was a social worker working with individuals to change behaviours and outcomes. She was attracted to HR because of the opportunity to support human change on a large scale. She has 15 years of experience in Human Resources and organisational development roles and is committed to creating sustainable, high-performance workplaces where people experience enriching work and are inspired to innovate.
She holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business, a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organisational Development and has won several academic excellence awards for her postgraduate studies.
Fonteyn Moses-Te Kani
Head of Māori, Iwi, Diversity and Inclusion, Westpac New Zealand Limited
To Fonteyn Moses-Te Kani, diversity will only flourish when we have a culture of inclusion. Her approach isn’t a box-ticking exercise focused on getting different faces into organisations, but a broader challenge to businesses to stay relevant and connected to the communities they belong to.
Fonteyn grew up in rural Tairāwhiti and is now head of Māori, Inclusion and Diversity at Westpac, where she’s part of a team working to support economic, environmental and social change through sustainability – where inclusion and diversity just happen to be a vital part of the mix.
Ko Ngati Porou, Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui, Ngai Tahu nga Iwi
Principal Consultant, Skills International
A leader in the New Zealand education system over the past 20 years, Josh has been involved in key developments in school-to-work transitions, curriculum, qualifications, assessment and quality assurance issues.
Josh is the former Chief Executive of the Industry Training Federation, and a senior policy manager in the New Zealand Ministry of Education, where he led policy for foundational and vocational education, including workplace training and apprenticeships. While in the Ministry, he was programme manager for secondary school transition initiatives, such as Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies and Gateway. Josh was also one of the architects of New Zealand’s system of Vocational Pathways, an organising framework for transitional and vocational education, both in the schools and vocational education sector.
Professional Director and Consultant, Sharpe Consultancy Group Ltd
Kevin is a Director, Consultant and long-time diversity and inclusion advocate based in Queenstown who has been positively impacting workplace culture within tourism companies throughout his career. His most previous role was as the Executive Director with the Wayfare Group, which owns and operates a number of companies including Real Journeys and Cardrona Alpine Resorts.
Kevin has led employers to supreme winner recognition on two previous occasions, with NZSki in 2009 and most recently with Real Journeys in 2017 for their wisdom workers initiative.
Kevin is delighted to be advocating diversity and inclusion and sharing his own experiences of the positive impact it has made on workplace cultures.
Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University
Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley is a lead researcher on the MBIE-funded project Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand (2014-2020) and previously Ngā Tangata Oho Mairangi and the Integration of Immigrants Programme. He is the author or editor of 27 books, including Ranginui Walker’s biography Mata Toa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley. He has been a judge for the Diversity Awards NZ™ for some years.
Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
Saunoamaali'i is of Samoan descent and a mother to three children.
She has worked as a public advisor, consultant, and social worker, advocating for the rights and interests of children, youth, women, Rainbow, and Pacific communities. Currently she is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commisioner for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
Saunoamaali'i holds qualifications in science, social work, and social policy including a PhD in public policy from AUT.
Owner, Sudima Hotels
A long-time New Zealand resident and property investor, Sudesh is passionate about ensuring that his business operations support the communities in which they operate – he abides by the philosophy that if his business benefits, so too should the community. It is this ethos that has driven Sudima Hotels’ success as an industry leader in setting sustainability benchmarks – the team supports several initiatives around the country.
Sudesh was a Board Member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation and one of Be Accessible’s Fab 50 group of business leaders, leading by example to create social change in New Zealand businesses and public spaces. Thrilled to be a judge again for the 2021 Diversity Awards NZ™, Sudesh has an affinity for the process having received the 2018 Walk the Talk award.
Sudesh holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. He moved to New Zealand in 2001 with his wife Laxmi and children.
People & Culture Director, Coca-Cola Amatil
As a leader for over 20 years, Susan is passionate about all things people within the organisations she works in and supports through her work as advisory board member.
She feels that culture is at the heart of any organisation and a great culture is about enabling people to bring their whole selves to work and be their best self, for themselves, the business, and their whanau. Susan strongly believes that organisations with great culture attract the best talent, have better capability, and are more innovative in their approaches.
As People & Culture Director for Coca-Cola Amatil across the Pacific, and an avid supporter of Diversity Works, she is excited to be part of this years awards. Amatil NZ is a Best Employer and Employer of Choice recognised for its great culture and award winning diversity & inclusion and wellbeing initiatives.
Teina Teariki Mana
Community Engagement Manager, Vector Limited
Teina has worked for Vector for over 10 years, holding senior roles in finance, risk management and networks. In her current role as the Community Engagement Manager, she is being the conduit between the customer and Vector, covering an area from Wellsford to Papakura.
Prior to Vector, Teina held several roles at Auckland City Council, was a former Chair of Glen Innes School 2008-2019 and a First Foundation mentor. She also chairs Vector’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, leading a team of volunteers across the Vector business in New Zealand and Australia.
Teina has been instrumental in driving diversity initiatives through Vector’s diversity and inclusion workplan. She was part of Vector’s Supreme Award wins in the 2015 and 2019 Diversity Awards NZ™, as well as the category awards including Tomorrows Workforce, Empowerment and Diversability.
Chief Executive Officer, Yellow
A passionate change maker, expert culture builder and innovator, and very proud Mum, Tracey is redefining what it is to be a whānau in the workplace.
As CEO of Yellow, Tracey is unwavering in her mission to create an authentically inclusive and diverse company culture that enables people to bring their whole self to work, and to come as they are. Tracey is passionate and results-focused in driving a thriving, agile business through the fast-moving digital marketing landscape.
Tracey was awarded the Walk the Talk Award at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ™ for her use of aroha and wairua as the driving force behind the people-focussed approach in Yellow’s diversity and inclusion strategy. She believes in the power of growth mindset and drawing from the heart to achieve new heights.