Arriving in New Zealand as a pre-school child with a strong Northern English accent, growing up in a small rural community in a non-farming family that was different from other local families and coming out as queer are just some of Martine Hartley-Parsons’ lived experiences of the importance of inclusion, and the damage of exclusion. She has been known to refer to her family as “not a Wattie’s family” to capture how outside Pākehā NZ culture she often felt.
Martine began challenging heteronormativity and societal expectations of family configuration in her post-graduate research before embarking on a career as a social worker. Visible leadership role models at all levels are critical protective factors for many of us. From the outset of her career, Martine made a conscious decision to be ‘out’ and worked towards building social work practice that was inclusive and response to the needs of LGBTIQA+ young people.
She is a former senior leader in the New Zealand Public Service, where she led the development and implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion work programme for the public service, including the first survey of rainbow-identifying public servants in New Zealand which generated international interest. Martine has led many workshops throughout her career and was a keynote speaker at the 2021 Cross-Agency Rainbow Network (CARN) conference held in the NZ Parliament Buildings.
She has long contributed to and supported workplace rainbow networks and was the initial co-creator and convenor of the gQ (government Queer) network, a pre-cursor to the Public Service Cross-Agency Rainbow Network. Martine is a former national network delegate convenor for the Out@PSA network and the Out@PSA representative on the Out at Work Council with Te Kauae Kaimahi | the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
She has worked across the public service building the inclusive practices capabilities of workgroups and led the infusion of inclusive leadership throughout all programmes offered by the Leadership Development Centre to senior leaders across the public service.
With her husband, Martine established Pito Mata Consulting, a boutique consultancy providing specialist organisational development services, including leadership development coaching. Martine uses visibility to create safety for others and believes that even small actions can make a big difference. One starfish at a time.