Each of our 2023 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.
Human Resources Generalist, Kāhui Tū Kaha
Ngāti Awa, Pākehā
Beatrice (she/her) works within the HR team at Kāhui Tū Kaha, a Ngāti Whātua organisation committed to addressing inequities in wellbeing. She also continues to provide support to Rainbow Tick, having previously held the role of Pou Hautū Kaupapa Rainbow Tick Director.
Beatrice is drawn to work that contributes to a more equitable society. She brings experience in advocating for the needs of minority groups, such as takatāpui and rainbow employees, employees seeking mental health support, and children with communication difficulties.
Beatrice lives in Auckland with her wife and 2-year-old. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics and Anthropology), a Masters in Speech-Language Therapy Practice and a Bachelor of Media Design (User Experience Design).
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 over 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.
Kaiwhahaere, Te Tai-awa o te Ora Trust
Originally trained as a social planner, Christine Herzog worked for the Auckland City Council from 1977-81. Subsequently, her interests shifted to community and adult education, with a focus on Te Tiriti o Waitangi. She spent over twenty years as co-ordinator of bi-cultural programmes in Te Tari Matauranga Māori at Manukau Institute of Technology, where she set up the Treaty Education Unit. In 2004, she established the Treaty Resource Centre and the related Culture Matters project.
Christine has facilitated more than a thousand Treaty and related workshops, consulted widely and published numerous articles relating to application of the Treaty in organisations. She was a founding member of Auckland Project Waitangi and continues to be active in Tamaki Treaty Workers. Christine supported Ngati Tamaoho Trust through their Treaty claims negotiations and is now kaiwhahaere of Te Tai-awa o te Ora Trust, a kaupapa Maori social services organisation based in south Auckland.
Chief Executive, YWCA Auckland & Co-Leader, Mindthegap.nz
Dellwyn is passionate about gender equality and wants to amplify the voices of young women as New Zealand moves to more equitable outcomes for all its people and embraces the changes that will face us this century.
She has 30 years experience in corporate and private business, has led a family foundation (the Stevenson Foundation) and a major charity (Cure Kids). Among her governance roles she has served on the Board of Philanthropy NZ. In 2017, Dellwyn founded New Zealand’s first Women’s Fund, bringing an idea to New Zealand that is mobilising women around the world, and is Chair if the Advisory Board.
In 2022, Dellwyn was awarded the inaugural Diversity Champion award at the 25th Diversity Awards NZ™ for her mahi progressing gender equality and pay equity.
Emeritus Professor Edwina Pio, ONZM
Recipient of an ONZM (Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit), Te Rangi Hiroa Royal Society medal, and Duke of Edinburgh Fellowship, Fulbright alumna, Edwina is New Zealand’s first Professor of Diversity. She was University Director of Diversity, and an elected Councillor on the governing body of the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, where she worked for more than two decades.
Her appointment as Professor Emeritus of Diversity is testament to her distinguished commitment and engagement in diversity. Her research, publications, training modules and doctoral supervisions encompass the intersections of work, ethnicity, Indigenous studies, religion-spirituality, and pedagogy.
Edwina is world class (A ranked) in her research field based on New Zealand’s Performance Based Research Fund quality assessment exercise. Appointed to the Ministerial Advisory Group Kāpuia pertaining to the Royal society recommendations on the Christchurch Mosque shootings, she also chairs the Academic Advisory Board of Te Kupenga Catholic Theological College of New Zealand. She is on the selection panel for the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships. A woman of peace and prayer, a scholar of colour, and a passionately engaged educator, she brings grace, gratitude, courage and thoughtfulness to governance, teaching, research, policy, doctoral supervisions, and stakeholder engagement.
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.
Global Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, 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.
Jennifer Del Bel
Managing Director, Downlights NZ
Creative, compassionate and a champion for change, Jennifer is the co-founder and managing director of Downlights NZ, a social enterprise that creates meaningful employment and career growth opportunities for young New Zealanders with Down syndrome and cognitive disabilities.
Possessing a dedication to creative excellence, an entrepreneurial mindset and genuine care for the community, she has applied her 25+ years business experience to develop Downlights into a thriving luxury soy candle company that is designed through the eyes of a disabled person.
Jennifer’s leadership has seen Downlights become the 2020 Breaking Barrier Award winner, 2020 Attitude Awards Impact Category finalist, Orakei Business Awards 2021 Best New Business; Best Not for Profit; Best People’s Choice And she is a proud Principal Partner for Living Wage Aotearoa and Akina Impact Supplier.
Her greatest pleasure comes from watching the Downlights crew beam with confidence as they achieve new goals and increased independence as a result of meaningful work opportunities.
Consulting Manager, Skills Group
Josh Williams is Consulting Manager for Skills Group. Josh is a nationally and internationally recognised expert on workplace and adult learning, particularly employer-led approaches to upskilling in and through workplaces. Josh is also the National Co-ordinator for the Global Apprenticeship Network in New Zealand.
Josh has been at the leading edge of critical developments in the New Zealand education system over the last 20 years. He was Chief Executive of the Industry Training Federation, and a senior policy manager in the New Zealand Ministry of Education, leading policy and initiatives for foundational and vocational education and school to work transitions.
Josh was one of the architects of New Zealand’s system of Vocational Pathways, an organising framework for transitional and vocational education in secondary schools and the VET sector. Josh now leads a team that consults in Aotearoa and internationally, supporting governments and companies seeking to develop vocational education and training that supports people and communities to succeed and prosper.
Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission
Karanina is the proud mother to three children, and of Samoan descent, originally from the village of Vailima, Upolu, Samoa.
Her professional and academic background has involved advocating for the promotion of economic development, social and employment interests of marginalised groups, particularly women, Pacific peoples, learners and young people. Her previous experience within the public sector includes roles within the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Tertiary Education Commission and the Auckland District Health Board. Currently she is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commisioner for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
Karanina holds qualifications in science, social work, mediation and social policy including a PhD in public policy from AUT.
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.
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.
National Key Contracts Manager, Edwards & Hardy Roofing Ltd
Ngāti Tiipa, Ngāpuhi
Kylie is married with four children and hails from Te Puaha O Waikato. She is a National Contracts Manager and is passionate about supporting Māori, Pasifika and especially Wahine Māori into employment and education within Construction, strengthening our footprint within the industry and advocating towards promoting equitable opportunities for all. She is a Kaiārahi for our rangatahi māori, and a voice for those who struggle through adversity getting into the workforce.
Her strength and determination to help others, resonates deep from her own life’s experiences and sharing that kete of knowledge is key for future generations. Kylie’s core values of success are based on Manaakitanga and Whakanaungatanga and sets the foundation that leads us to more sustainable and meaningful outcomes for our communities.
Kylie’s career background is Contract Management, Operations and Learning & Development. She is a member of the ConCove Tūhura Māori Advisory Group and has previous experience as a national company representative for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and an active panelist speaker/presenter for various governance and community groups.
Dr Nicola Ngawati
Ngāpuhi, Ngati Hine
Nicola is a previous member of the Board of Diversity Works New Zealand and has extensive experience as a senior public servant working within the Crown/Māori relationship in various contexts. She has previously represented New Zealand offshore as part of the diplomatic service and worked in the areas of Pacific development, trade, diversity and inclusion, equal employment opportunities and human rights.
Nicola currently serves on the Boards of Endometriosis New Zealand and Tāwhiri Limited and was the inaugural Crown representative on the WAI 2700 Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry Joint Research Committee. Nicola is a Member of the NZ Institute of Directors and holds a Doctor of Government (PhD) from the Victoria University of Wellington. Her PhD research examined the representation of Māori on and offshore through the use of Māori (people, images and diplomatic practice) furthering her interest in all forms of artistic form and expression.
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 9 years 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.
Robin Davies Consulting
Robin is a practical, commercially focused human resources leader with 30 years’ experience in leadership, people and culture and finance roles around the world. She loves helping organisations build strong cultures and is passionate about supporting people to grow and develop.
She spent the first part of her career working in governance and commercial finance before following her heart into human resources, where she has been People & Culture Director at Lion NZ and Stuff.
Robin is passionate about diversity, inclusion and belonging and has won several awards for her work on equal pay, flexible working and wellbeing. She is also an experienced executive coach. Robin now runs her own consultancy business supporting organisations to build inclusive cultures, with a particular interest in supporting working parents and making flexible working work.
Chief People & Sustainability Officer, Fuel50
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.
Community Engagement Manager, Vector Limited
Teina chairs Vector’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion group, where she was instrumental in leading the organisation who was recognised as Supreme Award Winners in the 2015 and 2019 Diversity Awards NZ, alongside category awards including Tomorrow’s Workforce, Empowerment and Diversability.
Teina has worked for Vector for over 10 years with experiences in Finance, Risk Management and Networks and has held senior roles within these areas. Teina’s passion for diversity, equity and inclusion plays an important part in her work engaging with customers from all walks of life as from Mangawhai to Papakura.
Teina holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business from the University of Auckland.
Deputy Secretary Organisational Support, Te Puni Kōkiri
Ngāti Porou, Ngatangiia (Rarotonga)
Terina Cowan joined Te Puni Kōkiri in 2022 as the Deputy Secretary Organisational Support. Her public service experience extends across policy, corporate services, and community engagement.
Across her public service career to date, Terina has worked at Manatū mō ngā Iwi ō te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa (Ministry for Pacific Peoples), the Environmental Protection Authority, Inland Revenue, and the Department of Corrections. Terina’s first introduction to the Public Service was as an Intern at Te Puni Kōkiri; undertaking the Graduate programme in 2007.
Born and raised in Wellington, Terina holds a Bachelor of Science from the Victoria University of Wellington. She has also completed her Master of Public Management with the Australian New Zealand School of Government.
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.