Session details

Session 1

Grounding in time and place

Mihi whakatau
During the official opening ceremony, delegates are welcomed to Rotorua and encouraged to make the most of the time together. The proceedings serve to remove the tapu (restrictions) of the manuhiri (visitors) to make them one with the tangata whenua (hosts). For this session, we ask that all mobile phones are turned off, nobody is eating, a tidy dress code is observed, and the appropriate respect is paid to all that occurs during the welcome.

Ancient wisdom and modern solutions

Ngahihi o te ra Bidois

Ancient Wisdom Modern Solutions is the inspirational story of one man's journey. Inspired by the love and support of his wife and family, Ngahihi's painfully honest recount of his journey records the highs and lows as he joined the ranks of the unemployed to relearn the language he'd once spurned. He speaks of reconnecting with his Māori heritage and the life-changing decision to receive the gift of ta moko from his ancestors. Now sharing his people's Ancient wisdom, modern solutions from stages across the world, Ngahi can finally say - "for this I was born".

Chairperson’s welcome
Ola Ioane

Nau mai, haere mai! We settle into our conference whare (house) with a brief overview of how the three days will run, the social programme, opportunities to connect, housekeeping and scene setting.

Our relationships with people and places are foundational to who we are and everything we do. The table discussion will provide the space for people to connect with each other, to express what is in their hearts and to explore aspirations and goals for the three days together.

Session 2

Scanning the horizon

DEI Update from Australia
Lisa Annese, Chief Executive, Diversity Council Australia

In this presentation we will hear about current priorities, research, progress and developments in DEI in Australia.

DEI Update from Canada
Anne-Marie Pham, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
In this presentation we will hear about current priorities, research, progress and developments in DEI in Canada.

DEI Update from Hong Kong
Janet Ledger, Acting Chief Executive, Community Business
In this presentation we will hear about current priorities, research, progress and developments in DEI in Hong Kong and South East Asia.

DEI Update from Aotearoa New Zealand
Maretha Smit, Chief Executive, Diversity Works New Zealand
In this presentation we will hear about current priorities, research, progress and developments in DEI in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Panel discussion: Benefitting from global perspectives to accelerate organisational transformation

Launching the Global Inclusion and Diversity Alliance (GIDA)

  • Lisa Annese
  • Janet Ledger
  • Anne-Marie Pham
  • Maretha Smit

The discussion will reflect on similarities and differences across the world, and opportunities for learning from global experiences and connections. We will launch the Global Inclusion and Diversity Alliance (GIDA) and explain how organisations can participate and benefit from a global DEI community.

Session 3

Work and wellbeing

Unwell - Bullying and Harassment in Aotearoa New Zealand
Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Commissioner, Human Rights Commission

A national survey of New Zealand’s workforce sheds light on the prevalence of sexual harassment, racial harassment and bullying in the workplace. For the first time in Aotearoa New Zealand, we look at the prevalence and impact of these acts of violence from the perspectives of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, industry, and period of settlement across the country. And we ask the question “what needs to change to improve workplace safety for all employees?”

Fireside chat: Work as a place of healing – how to use holistic models of wellbeing to support your team
Riana Manuel, Te Aka Whai Ora
During the pandemic years, corporate wellness programmes have become a non-negotiable for many organisations. But how can we ensure that our programmes have a positive and lasting impact on the health, engagement, and productivity of employees? Looking at wellbeing through the lens of Te Whare Tapa Whā, the Māori holistic model for health, as well as models such as The Wellbeing Protocol, we will learn how workplaces can support employees to take care of all the different aspects required to build a balanced life.

Panel discussion: I am the future of work! Building workplaces that are attractive to young people.

  • Dr Zoe Port, Massey University
  • Dr Angela Lim, Clearhead

Session 4

Are we there yet? Developments in gender equity

Session Chair: Dellwyn Stuart

Session introduction
Through the Mind the Gap campaign, organisations are encouraged to report their pay gaps on the first Pay Gap Registry in New Zealand. Our Session Chair will provide an update on campaign progress and set the tone for discussions about barriers and solutions to achieving equity for women.

Case study: The unspeakable - managing menopause in the workplace

Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson, Chief People Officer / Regional Director, Ph.Creative

Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce. Far too many successful women give up their jobs midlife because they find it too difficult or too embarrassing to manage the effects of menopause, as well as juggling work and family. What does it mean to be a 'menopause friendly' workplace? We look at how to create an environment where menopause can be talked about easily and what support needs to be put in place to retain talented women who are going through this tricky phase.

Table reflections and discussion

We wrap up the day with a few minutes for reflection, sharing stories and experiences from our own workplaces, and learning from each other.

Closing comments
Session Chair: Dellwyn Stuart

Session 5

Beyond binary workplaces

Session introduction
Organisations who are explicitly demonstrating a commitment to rainbow inclusion, are viewed by employees and customers to be inclusive of all communities. We set the scene for this session with insights about developments in rainbow inclusion around the world.

Table reflections and discussion
We wrap up the day with a few minutes for reflection, sharing stories and experiences from our own workplaces, and learning from each other.

Closing comments

Session 6

Disability, neurodiversity and accessibility

Session Chair: Phil Turner

Session introduction
We provide context for this session through a brief overview of latest statistics, highlights and lowlights regarding the employment of people with disabilities and neurodivergent conditions in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Beyond good intentions - removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities
Paula Tesoriero, Chief Executive, Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People
Designing for accessibility is about creating work environments where everyone feels welcome, can participate, and can thrive. In this presentation we unpack the barriers that people with disabilities encounter in workplaces, with specific emphasis on intersectional impacts, and reflections on how universal / accessible design could benefit all.

Adapting workplace practices to build neurodiverse inclusivity

Employment of people with neurodiverse conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, and autism is gaining momentum on the global level. The biggest challenge, however, remains the lack of equitable and scalable processes to set these employees up for long term career success. In this presentation we will learn how to create a neurodiversity policy which acknowledges and accommodates a range of neurodiverse conditions, and how to take a whole-organisation approach in developing a structured path for career progression of neurodivergent colleagues.

Table reflections and discussion

We wrap up the day with a few minutes for reflection, sharing stories and experiences from our own workplaces, and learning from each other.

Closing comments
Session Chair: Phil Turner

Session 7

Race at work

Session Chair: Ziena Jalil

Chairperson’s opening comments
In setting the scene for this session, we look at the origins of race as a social construct, look at the defining moments in the race discussion over the past years, and the magnitude of this journey, going forward.

Keynote: After the Tampa
Abbas Nazari
When the Taliban were at the height of their power in 2001, one family’s desperate search for safety took them on a harrowing journey from the mountains of Afghanistan to a small fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, crammed with more than 400 other asylum seekers. When their boat started to sink, they were mercifully saved by a cargo ship, the Tampa. However, one of the largest maritime rescues in modern history quickly turned into an international stand-off, as Australia closed its doors to these asylum seekers. While many of those rescued by the Tampa were the first inmates sent to the island of Nauru, Abbas and his family were some of the lucky few to be resettled in New Zealand. In a powerful and inspiring story for our times, Abbas celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.

We need to talk: Racism at work

Dr Virginia Mapedzahama, Member Education Director, Diversity Council Australia

Across the western world, conversations about race and racism are deeply awkward. Cultural exclusion and structural disadvantage became preferred terminology to keep DEI practitioners safe from backlash. But, with the global outrage in 2020 and subsequent solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign, came a readiness to be more courageous in this work. In this time of racial reckoning the Diversity Council Australia undertook extensive research to create evidence-based guidelines to effectively address racism at work, and in doing so, support racial diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Drawing from the research findings, we will look at why anti-racism needs to be on the agenda for organisations.

The master's house – structures of exclusion in Aotearoa New Zealand

Haylee Putaranui, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Fonterra

“For the master's tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Audre Lorde.
As an organised system, racism operates at multiple levels, both structurally and interpersonally. This presentation looks at the development of structural exclusion for the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, and how these structures result in adverse career outcomes for Māori. We look at how the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi feed into the workplace and how leaders can improve the employment experience for Māori.

Panel discussion: Navigating race and culture conversations in the workplace

  • Earle Wilkes
  • Rahul Govinden
  • Janelle Mims
  • Pratima Namasivayam

Open, honest conversations with employees about inequality are an important part of diversity, equity and inclusion. So how can companies ensure that conversations about race and racism at work are meaningful and productive? In this discussion, our panel of experts explore the complexities of navigating discussions about race and identity in the workplace across the globe. We look at the nuances of race and culture in New Zealand, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore. We consider how to have effective conversations with people leaders and colleagues about these concepts, and we think about the principles, steps and considerations for organisations in encouraging race and culture conversations.

Case study: From diversity and inclusion to anti-racism
Dr Sripriya Somasekhar, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment
Through this case study, we will hear why and how a large public sector organisation implemented an anti-racism programme. The way in which bias affected day-to-day decision making in the organisation are addressed along with the prevalence of microaggressions and the impact thereof on wellbeing. We will look at the role of line managers in creating a culture where all are educated enough to understand how to interrupt their own biases and how to address microaggressions when they take place.

Closing comments
Session Chair: Ziena Jalil

Session 10

From equal opportunities to equal outcomes

Session Chair: Ola Ioane

Session introduction
We set the scene for this session with a quick-fire overview of the main highlights in the social discourse over the past century and the associated workplace response to such changes. What are the next frontiers to explore and how can we accelerate the conversation?

Fireside chat: Creating opportunities for marginalised young people in STEM
Lyndele von Schill, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Human Rights Commissioner, Charlottesville, Virginia

Closing comments
Session Chair: Ola Ioane

Session 11

DEI in Construction

Session Chair: Katherine Hall

Session Chair introduction

Session 13

Allyship in action

Session Chair: Ola Ioane

Session introduction
In this session we will look at how to create safe spaces for learning, how to identify, leverage and grow allyship programmes, and how to mobilise the community of allies for impactful DEI engagement.

Did you just say that? Why language matters
Marni Panas, Program Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Alberta Health Services

Fireside chat: Moving beyond western models of DEI to build workplaces of belonging
Dr Guillermo Merelo, Auckland University
In making the “business case” for diversity, we see how even our DEI models are western. To remain sustainable, will have to reconsider what we value. We will need to move beyond the rhetoric in addressing neo-colonialism and structures of power. And we will need to look at models from the global south of the world and learn from indigenous groups about alternatives that might be effective in building organisations that put people first.

Learning, unlearning, relearning
Joe Consedine, Director Global Women and Champions for Change

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” – Alvin Toffler
The world we are living in is fast and dynamic. In order to remain relevant, we need a growth mindset and a genuine desire to learn. Genuine allies are the ones who can learn to look beyond their own privilege to recognise the impact of inequity on various communities. In this session we look at how allies become allies and how to support them in their journey.

Closing comments
Session Chair: Ola Ioane

Session 14

Accelerating strategy and capability

Session Chair: Ola Ioane

Chairperson’s opening comments
We start the day with a reflection on the learnings from the past two days, and focus our attention to the question about what to prioritise when we get back to our workplaces.

Changing complex systems and structures through deliberate leadership and accountability
Chris Lamb, New South Wales Public Service Commission, Australia

Fireside chat: Governance in a post-pandemic world - putting equity and social sustainability on the Board agenda

  • Kirsten Patterson, Institute of Directors New Zealand
  • Adrienne Miller

Case Study: Te Taunaki - Capture and Translate Critical Data for Actionable Insights
Josh Masson, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Services Commission

Building DEI capability: DEI Professional Accreditation Launch

Successful strategy acceleration requires a heavy investment in building capability – both in technical skills and leadership skills. In this session we launch two accreditation options for DEI practitioners and leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand with a purpose to support workplaces with skills and capabilities that will accelerate change, while keeping teams safe and engaged.

CEO Panel - Fuel critical change with inclusive and genuine leadership support

  • Mark Bosomworth, George Weston Foods (NZ) Ltd
  • Heather Baggot, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Services Commission
  • Moderator: Susan Doughty

Creating an inclusive work environment isn’t only the right thing to do for employees –it’s also a driver of more effective teams. But, to achieve the intended outcomes, organisations need informed and passionate executives who are committed to leveraging their position, influence and resources to bring about positive change. Our panel of Chief Executives reflect on how DEI teams can motivate and empower change champions within senior leadership for long-term impact and momentum.

Table reflections
In this final hour of the conference, we circle back to our colleagues at the table to reflect on our learnings, highlights, commitments and next steps as we return to workplaces after the three days together.

Courage to connect: Lessons in badassery
Shelly Davies
“I think a lot about the concept of power because we tend to think of it hand in hand with control—and that’s a bad thing. When we think of powerful people we think of selfish, manipulative dictators, wielding their power.
But me? I’m powerful in my world.
I have the power to choose, at any given moment, to act or not to act. To speak or to stay quiet. To go left or go right. To be resistant or be open. To take on a client or not. To charge what I want for my services and expertise. To be generous, to love, to be vulnerable.
And because I KNOW the choices are all mine, I’m powerful.”

Closing comments
Session Chair: Ola Ioane


Session 15

Jump-start Workshop - Inclusive Decision-making

Gender Based Analysis Plus - Understanding intersectionality and the layers of oppression that create barriers to equal outcomes
Marni Panas, Alberta Health Services, Canada