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Encouraging diversity on New Zealand boards

Encouraging diversity on New Zealand boards

  • 21 Feb 2021
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Diversity on New Zealand boards is paramount, and the Pacific community have much to offer.

As part of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) vision to see Pacific people thrive in New Zealand, it is encouraging the many natural leaders within the Pacific communities, to put their hand up for governance roles.

The Institute of Directors, with support from MPP, is hosting an event on March 30 (5.30pm to 8pm) – An introduction to governance for Pacific peoples – which will be staged at AUT South Campus, Manukau, featuring keynote speaker Caren Rangi, who will speak and then facilitate a panel discussion with Mele Wendt, La’auli Sir Michael Jones and Tiumalu Peter Fa’afiu.

Director Pacific Capability at MPP, Kaliti Bainimara-Kolinisau says feedback from a governance survey the Ministry conducted last year and from community, is people are keen to attend networking events where they can hear from experienced governance practitioners about their journeys and receive advice and insights to progressing their governance careers. 

“The Ministry is supporting this event as this is a great opportunity for Pacific people to hear from Pacific leaders with extensive governance experience who are passionate about sharing their experiences,” Kaliti adds.

The event is aimed at those from the Pacific community, but all are welcome to attend and hear lived experiences from experienced governance practitioner Caren, and the impressive panel.

Caren is a proud Cook Islands Māori and is the Acting Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand, board member for Radio New Zealand and Pacific Co-operation Broadcasting Ltd, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Pacific Homecare Services, and Pacific Inc Ltd. 

Additionally, Caren is a Board Director of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation in Rarotonga, and in this role is leading work to develop professional board directors in the Cook Islands.

In 2015, Caren was conferred as a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and in 2016 she was awarded a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award for services to governance.

In 2018 Caren was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and the Pacific community and was named as the Linden Estate Hawke’s Bay Business Leader of the Year.

Meanwhile, on the panel is Mele, 17 years of leadership/management experience and 23 years of governance experience.

Her roles have included being a Teacher, the founding Pacific Islands Liaison Officer and Manager of the Victoria University of Wellington student recruitment office, and then the Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand for 10 years.  In the last few years, Mele has been doing a mix of consultancy work and governance. 

Mele currently serves on several boards and action groups, and in January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.

Fellow panellist La’auli has a wealth of public and private sector experience having worked in tertiary education and Pacific economic development.

Currently Director Strategic Development at Matson South Pacific, a regional shipping company servicing the Pacific, La’auli is passionate about economic and social development for Pacific people both in the Pacific and in Aotearoa. 

Much of La’auli’s time and energy is spent in Pacific youth and community empowerment programs, particularly in his role as founder and Chairman of the Village Community Trust and Pasifika Advance Secondary school, the first Pasifika Secondary school in New Zealand. 

In 1997, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 and in 2003, he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame recognising his considerable commitment and achievements in rugby as an All Black, coach and player.

Tiumalu completes the panel – his current and previous governance roles have covered diverse structures: private company, international organisation, Crown organisation, Schedule 4 (Public Finance Act) entity, regulator, charity and community organisations.

He is a United Kingdom registered Board Director of Amnesty International Limited and is currently the Chair of Pacific Media Network (PMN). Peter is a Non-Executive Director of CORE Education Limited and a Board Member on Monte Cecilia Community Housing Trust.

Tiumalu’s executive roles include being Interim Chief Executive and GM Corporate Affairs for the Tamaki Regeneration Company, New Zealand's first urban regeneration entity. He was also Head of Government and Community Relations for NZ Post Group.

If you are interested in governance but are not sure what you can do to move down this path, then come along to hear these experienced directors share their stories.

An introduction to governance for Pacific peoples, at AUT South Campus, Manukau on March 30, 5.30pm to 8pm.

See more information here.