Speakers

Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities

Hon Jenny Salesa is New Zealand’s first Tongan born, Tongan speaking Member of Parliament and the first Tongan born Cabinet Minister of the Crown. In 2014 she was elected in as the Member of Parliament for Manukau East and was subsequently re-elected in 2017.

Hon Nania Mahuta, Minister for Maori Development

As a mother, and a constituent MP with 20 plus years’ experience who has come from ‘flax-root’ politics, Hon Nanaia Mahuta remains connected to the aspirations of people from all walks of life. Those who work hard for a living so that their children can do better, kaumatua, trades-people, those who aspire to own their home, those who own small businesses and those who lead a range of services and organisations and huge iwi entities.

Michael Wood, Parliament Under-Secretary to the Minister for Ethic Communities

Michael has spent many years working at the grassroots level in Mt Roskill, driven by the core belief that people do well when living in strong, fair, and supportive communities. He has been a member of the Puketapapa Local Board since 2010, winning Council investment to upgrade local parks and speaking up on local issues like the Three Kings quarry development and the campaign to save seniors’ social housing at Liston Village.

Jan Logie, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues)

Jan’s Southland childhood established her deep connection with the beauty of an untouched environment.  But it was the impact of the economic reforms of the 1980s that led her toward people-oriented work, giving a voice to those who often go unheard.

Kara Puketapu, Chairman, Te Atiawa Tribal Maori Council

Kara Puketapu is Chairman of the Te Atiawa Tribal Maori Council (cities of Wellington, Hutt and Upper Hutt.) He has a BA and Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Victoria University, Wellington and has studied extensively in the USA. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Brookings Institute and a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund in New York.

Cr. Jimmy Chen, Christchurch City Council

Jimmy Chen was born in Taiwan – his parents were from Sichuan, China. Jimmy and his family (wife and two daughters) immigrated to Christchurch in 1996.
In Taiwan, he earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Commerce.

Pancha Narayanan, MNZ National President

Pancha was born in Malaysia and has now lived in New Zealand for 31 years.  As a professional I am a management consultant.  I am passionate about achieving settlement outcomes for migrants that would be much better than what I received when I first arrived in 1986 in New Zealand.  I have been a member of the Multicultural Councils since 1992.

Alexis LewGor, MNZ Immediate Past President

Alexis was born in Fiji and is of Chinese, German and Samoan ancestry. New Zealand has been her home for 30 years. She is the Immediate Past National President of Multicultural New Zealand and held the position for 3 years, a first for a female member of MNZ. She currently is National Treasurer. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust and the Rotorua Ethnic Council, (now Multicultural Rotorua) where she stepped down after 10 years as President and still continues volunteering.

Mai Chen

Mai Chen is a thought leader, a direction setter and a futures thinker. She is one of NZ’s top constitutional and administrative law experts, specialising in central and local Government policy and legislation, especially as it applies to business and litigating major public law cases, advising on inquiries and reviews, on Treaty of Waitangi and human rights issues and on regulatory defence.

Ravindran Annamalai, MNZ Vice President

Ravindran is a senior level manager in Sales and Marketing, Operations, Management & Production. He is a White Ribbon Ambassador and has been serving the Multicultural Council of Wellington as a Vice President since 2010. He has organized various multicultural festivals in Wellington, a highlight being his participation in the Festival of Carnival as part of Rugby World Cup.

Meggy Bartlett Mc-Bride, MNZ National Secretary

Meggy Bartlett-McBride is the President of Southland Multicultural Council as well as the Secretary of Multicultural New Zealand Federation. Meggy comes from the Philippines and arrived in NZ in 2005, Meggy has 3 children, one daughter, and 2 sons. Meggy is a registered beauty therapist by profession and currently operate a home clinic studio at her house.

Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner

Appointed Race Relations Commissioner in 2013, Dame Susan Devoy has been a vocal advocate for raising New Zealand’s annual refugee quota and urging politicians, decision makers and everyday Kiwis to treat people from ethnic minorities with respect, humanity and mana.

Ann Dysart, Manager, MSD

Ann Dysart has many years of management experience in the New Zealand public sector with a focus on designing and implementing innovative social sector initiatives aimed at improving social outcomes for disadvantaged communities and groups in New Zealand.  This has included significant government initiatives for Māori, single parents, refugees and migrants, and Pasefika communities.

Naomi Ferguson, Commissioner and Chief Executive of Inland Revenue

Naomi was appointed to the role in July 2012.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in revenue agency management to the role, including serving as Deputy Commissioner, Service Delivery at Inland Revenue from 2003 to 2006.

Dr Jo Cribb, Chief Executive, New Zealand Book Council – Guest speaker

Jo brings to the Council a current knowledge of development policy (particularly the role of women in development) gained through her work as the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and a background of research on family violence in the Pacific. After more than a decade in senior leadership roles she also brings financial management and strategic planning experience.

Rakesh Naidoo, Strategic Advisor Race Relations

Rakesh Naidoo is the Strategic Advisor Race Relations at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. His expertise informs how harmonious race relations is maintained and celebrated in New Zealand. He leads the Race Relation’s Commissioners work programme that has resulted in practical outcomes to address racism and discrimination.

 Vanisa Dhiru, President, National Council of Women NZ

Vanisa has been involved with NCW since 2009 when she was on the board of the YWCA Greater Wellington, and later as President. Vanisa is on the Leadership Advisory Panel for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Graduate Women Wellington Committee, and the NGO Advisory Group for the Minister of Social Development. She is also the chair of the Inspiring Stories Trust.

Lisa Lawrence, Vice President, National Council of Women NZ – Keynote

Lisa has worked in a range of roles in the social health sector – mentoring, service development, business planning and governance. Currently, she is Kaiwhakahaere of Motueka Family Service Centre and Chair of Nelson Bays Primary Health’s Te Tumu Whakaora. Previously Lisa has worked in iwi led health and social services, and 100 years ago began as a health promoter and a health educator for St John and New Zealand Family Planning Association.

Pohswan Narayanan, E Tu Whanau

Pohswan Narayanan is a strong and experienced voice for equality and inclusion in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Born into Malaysia’s Chinese community, Pohswan and her Malaysian Indian husband migrated to Aotearoa 32 years ago. Their two children – ‘My multicultural kiwi kids’ – were born here.

Tam Schurmann: The Baskets of Blessing

Baskets of Blessing is a community project that has been running in Queenstown for the past five years. We reach out to anyone who is going through any kind of crisis.

The project began deep in my heart when I was caring for my mum eleven years ago.  She had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. I returned home from overseas when I heard the shocking news and found myself nursing my mum 24/7, with no time to see or even update friends.

Margriet Theron, President, Rotorua Multicultural Council

Dr Margriet Theron is the President of the Rotorua Multicultural Council. She arrived in New Zealand in 1978 from South Africa. Her career was in science and education management. She has served in governance roles in Conservation, Horticultural Research and Secondary Education and at Speech NZ.

Sandra Tonkin, Vice President, Waitaki Multicultural Council

I have lived in Christchurch, North Island and Oamaru is my hometown. I have worked in a variety of work including the health and disability sector. My current job is working in a local real estate office. One of the groups I am involved is the Multicultural Council and Safer Waitaki which focuses on Community Safety.

Dr Zainab Radhi

My family migrated to NZ from Iraq  in 1994. After completing my LLB (Bachelor of Law) from Waikato University I moved to the UAE, practising as a lawyer before moving to Saudi Arabia where I taught English to law students.  I returned to New Zealand where I completed a Masters in Law with honours at Waikato University.

Laure Romanetti, Albany Newcomers Network

Until recently, Laure Romanetti was the Newcomers’ Network Coordinator in the Upper Harbour of Auckland where most residents were born oversears. Laure is a passionate advocate for a number of social justice issues, including gender equality and racism. She believes in a bicultural New Zealand and has undertaken the task of learning Te Reo Māori because:  “Language is the road map of a culture.”

Mengzhu Fu, National Youth Coordinator, Shakti Community Council

Ko Panshan tōku maunga
Ko Haihe tōku awa
Ko Tianjin tōku rohe

Arpita Das, Education and Training coordinator, Shakti Community Council

Arpita Das is the Education Coordinator for Shakti Education Training and Advisory Company Ltd (SETAC). SETAC, a recognised PTE, is the Education and Training Wing of the Shakti Community Council Inc that undertakes capacity building programmes for staff and external stakeholders. Arpita is an Indian and has been in Aotearoa for the past 2 years.

EeMun Chen, Martin Jenkins

EeMun is an evaluation and research professional who also does advisory, strategic and research work in the economic development field. Her depth of experience across a number of areas allows her to ask the right questions and find the necessary data and information to enable her to add value and provide a robust evidence base for client projects.

Martine Udahemuka

Martine is a Research Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative working on education policy. Martine was a student success advisor and learning consultant at Massey University, and has published research on migrant and refugee integration in New Zealand. She was also with the New Zealand Aid Programme at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Martine holds a Masters of Arts in Industrial and Organisational Psychology with First Class Honours from Massey University.

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