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Each of our 2024 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.

Andre Afamasaga

Andre Afamasaga

Founder, Lived Experience Leadership

Andre recently founded Lived Experience Leadership to support people with lived experience of a human rights or social issue, being able to participate in, and lead on matters relating to them.   

His previous professional experience includes senior positions at Te Kahui Tika Tangata | NZ Human Rights Commission. He was an advisor to the previous Chief Human Rights, and Race Relations Commissioners. As a GM also, his team oversaw human rights issues for Rainbow communities, Pacific communities (including the ethnic/gender/Pacific Pay Gap under the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner), and Conversion Practices (“conversion therapy). He also worked at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Ministry of Justice, and Te Hiringa Hauora Health Promotion Agency. Throughout his public service career, he has advocated for equitable, just, and non-discriminatory outcomes for marginalised communities, and within the public service.  

Prior, he was a Pastor in Sydney and Wellington for 11 years. A job he loved but voluntarily resigned from to accept his sexual orientation. This came after enduring 15+ years of conversion practices (or ‘conversion therapy’). Based on his lived experience, he came out publicly as gay, in a viral opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald during a period of intense homophobic debate.

Since then, Andre has become a well-known face and advocate for human rights, inclusivity, and wellbeing – local and globally. He appears in the media and speaks at conferences regularly. In September, a short documentary about his life will be released on Australian TV.

Earle Wilkes

Earle Wilkes

Managing Director, Equity Matters Limited

Earle has over 25 years’ global experience as an EDI specialist, providing advice and leading teams working with government departments, corporates, non-governmental organisations, public and third sector organisations.

In addition to his full-time role with Equity Matters Limited, Earle has significant boardroom experience having held several non-executive directorships with Advertising Standards Authority, General Teaching Council – England, Institute for Learning and currently chairs a scholarship grant charity. He has also been fortunate to hold several Secretary of State Public Appointments with for example, the Department for Education, Learning & Skills Council and Institute for Learning, following his tenure on the board was made Fellow of the Institute for Learning for his contribution to professional standards.

Earle is a strong advocate of equity of outcome and believes that a focus on this aspect of EDI is essential if historic & institutional bias and discrimination is to be disrupted and replaced by genuine meritocracy. His personal passions include education, community, whanau, sport and the environment.

Dr Guillermo Merelo

Dr Guillermo Merelo

Associate Director, Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Auckland University

With a strong background in people and culture, Guillermo has worked as a senior public officer, columnist, lecturer and academic researcher in Latin America, Europe and New Zealand. Over the past 25 years, he has successfully integrated his academic and practitioner experience to help public and private organisations build diversity, equity and inclusion infrastructures that are mindful of the unique capabilities of an increasingly diverse workforce.

His research areas include culture, sexual identity, gender, religion, well-being and employee experience. He has worked as Executive Director of People and Culture in the Electoral Service (Mexico City), Head of Research and Innovation at Diversity Works New Zealand, and he is currently Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Auckland.

 

Haylee Putaranui

Haylee Putaranui

Pouhere, Director Māori, Fonterra

Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Pāhauwera

Becoming a Mum to Waiaria at 17 provided Haylee with motivation to move through law school and into legal practise before joining Fonterra, Aotearoa NZ’s biggest export company. Prior to joining Fonterra, Haylee was with Chapman Tripp (Auckland) and other law firms over 12 years practising land, commercial and Māori land issues (post-settlement advice, corporate entities).

Outside of mahi, Haylee has contributed to iwi governance roles and led parts of her iwi settlement with the Crown, a process which showed her from adversity and resilience can always come resolution and hope. Never one to shy away from ‘what’s on the other side’ of things, this ethos sets up Haylee in her DEI role – along with some humour and trusting that everyone has a place in all the discussions to ultimately get collective growth and progress.

Haylee is continuing to learn te reo (Māori language), returned to a childhood love of reading and has found her way to growing a small māra (garden) at home – all the classic traits of getting older for which she is emphatically and comfortably owning.  

 

Katherine Hall

Katherine Hall

Executive Director of Construction and Infrastructure Centre of Vocational Excellence (ConCOVE)

Katherine holds a Master’s in Technological Futures and is known for her ability to disrupt through connecting people and initiatives. She is laser focussed on deduplication of effort and driving for real, equitable, outcomes. Katherine gets shit done.

Katherine has long advocated for diversity, equity and inclusion in construction and infrastructure through her career in vocational education and has brought this to life in ConCOVE Tūhura, where DEI is a key strategic theme for their work in reimagining vocational education.

In a past life Katherine led the People Development workstream in the Construction Sector Accord, a government-industry partnership to transform the sector, housed within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. In this time Katherine supported the development of a Construction Diversity Roadmap and skills strategy.

Kirsten Patterson

Kirsten Patterson

Chief Executive, Institute of Directors

Kirsten (known as KP) is a qualified lawyer and a Distinguished Fellow of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, Co-Deputy Chair of the Global Network of Directors Institutes (GNDI), member of External Reporting Advisory Panel (XRAP) and an Ambassador of the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust. She is currently Chair of the Brian Picot Ethical Leadership Advisory Board. With extensive governance and leadership experience, she is actively involved in community initiatives.

A strong advocate of diversity, KP was one of the founding members of Global Women’s Champions for Change, a group of senior executives and directors who commit to diversity in the workplace. She is also a founding member of WiSPA, an organisation promoting women in sport, and mentors a number of business leaders.

Kylie Nelio

Kylie Nelio

National People & Culture Manager, Edwards & Hardy Roofing Ltd 

Waikato (Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Mahuta), Ngāpuhi

Throughout her career journey in the construction industry, Kylie has cultivated an environment of diversity and equity. With a strong commitment to promoting inclusive opportunities within construction, Kylie advocates for supporting Māori and Pasifika individuals in securing employment or accessing educational pathways, while also devoting herself to empowering Wahine Māori and enhancing their presence in the sector.

In her capacity as a Kaiārahi for Māori, Kylie offers invaluable guidance to individuals as they navigate obstacles on their journey to workforce integration. This encompasses understanding their needs, assisting them in overcoming challenges, facilitating access to resources, and nurturing their overall well-being and success in life. Drawing upon her personal journey, Kylie aims to inspire others, sharing her own kete of knowledge to uplift future generations. Grounded by the principles of te ao Māori, she advocates for fairness and impactful results within communities, championing equitable opportunities.

Kylie has leadership experience in contract management, operations, training and development. Previously engaged in initiatives such as the ConCove Tūhura Māori Advisory Group, she demonstrates her dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion. Kylie has also been a representative for companies on Diversity & Inclusion Committees and is regularly sought after by various governance and community groups as an expert or advisor.

Mark Bosomworth

Mark Bosomworth

General Manager NZ Baking Division, George Weston Foods (NZ) Limited

Mark Bosomworth is the General Manager of George Weston Foods (NZ) Baking Division, a role he has held since July 2019.

Mark has spent over 35 years working in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry having previously held senior executive roles with leading food companies including GrainCorp, Woolworths, Fonterra, United Biscuits and Mars across many global markets.

With a real passion and energy for inclusion and diversity, Mark currently leads the Tip Top ANZ I&D Taskforce. Driven by strong values and a clear purpose, GWF was the winner of the Inclusive Workplace Award at the 2021 Diversity Awards NZ and were thrilled to also win that year’s Supreme Award. This recognised the commitment driving excellence in workplace inclusion and belonging. Recently his leadership contributed to the launch of the “We Belong” programme to inspire everyone on this journey to ensure the business is a place where “Everyone belongs, Everyone is valued and Everyone has equal opportunity”.

Nathan Riki

Nathan Mahikai Riki

Kaihautū (Director), Riki Consultancy

Nathan has experience entrenched in the enablement of culturally empowering practices.  A former university lecturer in te reo Māori and culturally responsive practices, Nathan is an active leader and regarded speaker in the development of safe places for Māori and indigenous communities.

He has delivered multiple layers of impact spanning from rangatahi Māori (youth), through to the deep implementation of tikanga Māori and cultural competency into corporate and government organisations. 

Experiences in education and the working sector have helped shape him into a māngai (representative) of Ngāi Māori (Māori people). As a pāpā of two beautiful tamariki Nathan is driven to ensure that when they grow older, they can confidently walk the pathway of someone who is Māori. 

"Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi" - as the old net withers another is remade. It is up to us to ensure that the new net we are currently weaving is even stronger than it previously was.

Nina Russell

Nina Russell

Director of Diversity and Inclusion, New Zealand Defence Force

Nina Russell (she/her) is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the New Zealand Defence Force, a role she has held since Jan 2019. Prior to this Nina worked as a consultant providing social research and strategic advice to (primarily) public sector clients (both for own company and also as the Social Research Director for an international company). Nina understands the importance of metrics in driving positve change.

Nina has a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) and is passionate about all things diversity and inclusion, addressing inequities, being values led, and creating greater social cohesion in Aoteaoa and internationally. Outside of her mahi she is a proud parent to two fabulous humans - Leo and Delta, a member of the Gender Tick Advisory Board, and co-chair of the Government Women’s Network.

Her advice to anyone working to support greater equality in their mahi is ‘rest when you are tired, but don’t quit!’. She is delighted to be a judge in the 2024 Diversity Works awards.

One of her favourite whakatauki is: “Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui mō ake ake ake” - Be strong, be courageous, be generous, as you go into the future.

Paul Spoonley

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

Honorary Research Associate, Massey University

Paul Spoonley is a sociologist and his specialist areas include social and demographic change, especially cultural diversity, and how these changes impact on policy and public understanding.

A former Pro Vice-Chancellor of Massey University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and affiliate of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. He was awarded by the Science and Technology Medal by the Royal Society for his contribution to intercultural understanding. He is Chair of Metropolis, the largest global network of immigration and diversity specialists.

He currently acts as an advisor to the Police Commissioner and was, until December 2023,  the Co-Director of He Whenua Taurikura, the national center for countering violent extremism.

Paul is a regular commentator in the news media. He is the author or editor of 29 books.

Phil Turner

Phil Turner

Chief Executive, NZ Disability Employers’ Network (home of the Accessibility Tick)

Phil is committed to promoting the inclusion of disabled and neurodiverse people in the workplace by supporting employers in making meaningful and sustainable changes to their organisational culture. He believes that treating employers as partners and empowering them to take ownership of their inclusion journey is crucial for success.

Having worked with employers for the past decade to enhance disability and neurodiversity inclusivity, Phil brings a fresh approach to solving each organisation's unique challenges. He is a strategic thinker who is adept at identifying underlying issues and developing practical plans to overcome them.

Phil is also president of the NZ Association for Gifted Children. An organisation committed to supporting the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional tamariki and their whānau.

Using his unique problem-solving skills, Phil is dedicated to help pave the way for all disabled and neurodiverse individuals to achieve their full potential, which ultimately benefits everyone.

Rahul Watson Govindan

Rahul Watson Govindan

CEO, Philanthropy NZ

Nearly three decades of global work experience working with Fortune 500 companies, SMEs, public sector organisations and Not-For-Profits. Co-founder of five companies in three different countries. Globally recognised strategy and governance professional. Currently CEO of Philanthropy NZ.

Rahul has worked with partners in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the UK, Norway and Germany.

Robin Davies

Robin Davies

Robin Davies Consulting

Robin is a practical, commercially focused human resources leader with over 30 years’ experience in leadership, people and culture and finance roles in New Zealand and around the world. She is passionate about supporting the development of senior leaders and helping organisations to build inclusive cultures and diverse teams.

She is a thought-leader and consultant in diversity, equity and inclusion, an internationally accredited executive coach, and a facilitator and speaker. Robin has been supporting a wide range of organisations across Aotearoa under her own business since 2022, with a focus from strategy right through to practical tools and tips that really make difference to people and organisations.

Sarah Archer

Sarah Archer

Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion, Chorus

Sarah’s lead a varied career in operation management, vocational training, people leadership and employee experience in the sectors of travel, tourism and aviation, health services and more recently in telecommunications in her role as Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Chorus.

Her career journey has always been centred around people and she’s passionate about enabling individuals and teams to be their true, best self and ensuring organisations support this through equitable opportunities, infrastructure and an inclusive culture.   

Sarah developed and implemented Chorus’s D,E&I strategy in August 2022 and the mahi underway has been acknowledged with a win in the D,E&I category in the Newmarket Business association awards earlier this year and being named a finalist in the Deloitte Top 200 awards, and winner at the HRNZ awards.

Outside of work, Sarah is kept busy being a mum and step-mum of four teenagers, but when she can she enjoys reading, walking and spending time with whanau and friends, often with a glass of two of wine involved.     

Sripriya Somasekhar

Dr Sripriya Somasekhar (Priya)

Head of Inclusion & Belonging, MBIE

Priya is an active advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in several contexts. She has a strong sense of social justice, and a desire to have a positive impact on vulnerable members of society.

Among Priya’s wealth of professional experience she has acquired a PhD in Community Psychology - University of Waikato, authoring: “What will people think?: Indian women and domestic violence in Aotearoa/ New Zealand.” Accompanying this qualification is her Master of Science (Counseling Psychology), Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the University of Madras, India.

Priya started her work in the government in family violence and sexual violence prevention where she brought in the voices of migrant women. The Christchurch terror attacks and subsequent national conversations about race and racism proved that there was much work to be done in the DEI space which motivated her to move to sectors.  

In her role at MBIE, Priya has led the Inclusion and Diversity strategy refresh and the development of the relevant work programme. She provides thought leadership and high-level advice to the MBIE senior leadership team and the Inclusion and Diversity Executive sponsors on achieving change and increasing performance through DEI approaches. In 2021, Priya was awarded the Public Service Medal for creating impact in the family violence and DEI spaces.

Priya has appeared as a speaker at TEDx Ruakura, She is a firm believer of knowledge sharing and has given several talks on issues relating to family violence and DEI.

Stacey Mendonca

Stacey Mendonca

Co-founder, National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

Stacey has worked for over 30 years in the construction industry, with a mix of experiences working for main contractors, a specialist engineered supplier and a state-owned enterprise. It was working for Fletcher construction in the 1990’s when she noticed women often felt unsupported and isolated. With a passion to connect more women together and encourage them to stay in the industry, Stacey and two others, established the National Association of Women in Construction in Wellington in 1996 in a voluntary capacity. Through her work with NAWIC, she has helped to foster a more inclusive and diverse environment within the construction sector, inspiring future generations of women to consider careers in the industry.

Originally from Christchurch, with English and Chinese heritage, she has spent most of her working career in Wellington.

A firm believer in “She needs to see it, to be it’’, Stacey thinks it is crucial to have role models sharing their career journey and achievements with others in the community.

When she is not working or volunteering for NAWIC, Stacey can be found relaxing with a coffee or fishing with her husband off Mana island.

Susan Lowe

Susan Lowe

Chief People & Sustainability Officer, Alpine Energy

Susan is passionate about all things people within the organisations she works within, knowing that diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is a critically important part of any culture.

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.

Having previously worked for many award-winning employers, Susan’s passion and personal purpose led her to join Fuel50, the world’s fastest growing Talent & Opportunity Marketplace and a business striving to enable outstanding employee experiences globally with their clients.

Tama Kirikiri

Tama Kirikiri

Poumatua, Toi Mai

Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Konohi, Ngāti Rākaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu

Tama is an experienced leader with a passion for te reo, tikanga Māori and Māori development and educational success. He is skilled in strategic planning and implementation, coaching, curriculum development and facilitation.

He has worked for the Māori Language Commission and held leadership and advisory roles in education. The widespread use of te reo and kaupapa Māori typifies Tama’s approach to everyday life and he is excited about the opportunity to be part of building a new model for vocational education.

Tama has an undergraduate degree and honours in te reo Māori from Te Herenga Waka/Victoria University and a diploma in primary teaching. Prior to joining Toi Mai, he was Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori/Māori education leader at Te Kura o Te Mātauranga/Institute of Education at Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa/Massey University.

Te Ariki Te Puni

Te Ariki Te Puni

Head of Māori Initiatives, Education Perfect

Ānei tētahi hua o Ngāti Porou, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Rangitāne o Manawatū, Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga me Ngā Rauru hoki. Ko Te Ariki Te Puni tēnei.

Te Ariki Te Puni is the Head of Māori Initiatives at Education Perfect, a company providing cultural competency services to over 300 New Zealand organisations.

Te Ariki has previously held both advisory and consulting positions in this space, along with multiple iwi governance positions. Te Ariki is also the Māori Vice Chair for the Multi-Ethnic Young Leaders Network. He has a passion for navigating authentic engagement with te ao Māori as an organisation, both strategically and operationally.

Teina Teariki Mana Judge Diversity Awards Community Engagement Vector

Teina Teariki Mana

Community Engagement Manager, Vector Limited

Teina has worked for Vector for over 14 years and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business from the University of Auckland.  She has experiences in Finance, Risk Management and Electricity Network and has held senior roles within these areas.  Born in Rarotonga and is of Cook Island, Tahitian and Scottish heritage, lives in Auckland with her family and mini dachshund.

Teina’s passion for diversity, equity and inclusion plays an important part in her work, and she is driven by facilitating change, understanding and acceptance in the Diversity space.  Teina sits on Vectors WIDE (Wellness, inclusion & Equity) Committee and her contribution lends support to R@ve, Vector's Rainbow community, Accessibility employee group and as a Cultural lead.  Her experience in this field was instrumental in Vectors success as Supreme Award Winners in the 2015 and 2019 Diversity Awards NZ, alongside category awards including Tomorrow’s Workforce, Empowerment and Diversability. 

Trina Jones

Trina Jones

Co-Founder, Cultivate

Trina brings over 25 years of recruitment experience to the table, with a strong focus on leading and inspiring successful teams for nearly half of that time. Known for her expertise and industry relationships, Trina is a Co-Founder of Cultivate Recruitment. In 2023, Cultivate won the Seek Medium Recruitment Agency of the Year award and became Aotearoa’s first recruitment agency to achieve Brain Badge accreditation, showcasing their commitment to DEI.

Apart from her professional achievements, Trina is dedicated to driving women in leadership roles and enhancing DEI across Māori, Pasifika, and neurodiverse talent pools. Outside of work, Trina enjoys exploring her passion for travel, with Italy and Bali being among her favourite destinations.

Ziena Jalil

Ziena Jalil 

Independent director and strategic advisor 

Ziena Jalil is an award-winning business and public sector leader, focused on improving outcomes for those with diverse cultures, abilities and experiences, and deepening New Zealand’s engagement with the Asia Pacific. 

She holds senior leadership and governance roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and is a keynote speaker and commentator on a range of topics including Asia business, leadership, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Recognised by Campaign Asia Pacific as part of its 2020 Women to Watch, a group of 40 outstanding women in the Asia Pacific, Ziena has received several international awards for her work promoting New Zealand trade, investment and education in Asia, where she was based for 10 years as Regional Director (South and Southeast Asia) for Education New Zealand, New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore, and Head of North Asia Marketing and Communications for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.  


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