WATCH: Te Manawa opening

Source: Auckland Council

It’s the first of its kind in Auckland, and it officially opened at the weekend.

Welcome to Te Manawa, the new multipurpose community facility at Westgate, which heralds a new way to interact with the council.

Hundreds of people braved the weather to come and share in the celebrations with music, entertainment and more, as well as getting a first look at the new facility.

Check out the video: 

[embedded content]

About Te Manawa

The newly-opened multipurpose facility, Te Manawa, is the first of its kind in Auckland – both a community hub and library built for the city of the future and generations to come.

As a cornerstone of Westgate’s urban complex, Te Manawa will provide West Aucklanders with space and resources to explore, connect and grow. 

The facility includes the Auckland Council services area where residents can sort administrative matters, a library with a children’s area, a commercial kitchen available for catering events, and a stage for storytelling and performances.

Read more about Te Manawa here on OurAuckland.


Export requirements for live animals microchipping

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Closing Date:

Contact: Live animal export assurance team

Have your say

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is consulting on a single improvement to live animal export regulations under the Animal Products Act. The proposed update to the regulations will make it mandatory for all live horses to be microchipped prior to export. The consultation runs from 8 April to 6 May 2019.

What’s being proposed?

MPI is proposing to replace the current Animal Products (Export Requirements – Cats and Dogs) Notice 2012 with the updated Animal Products (Export Requirements for Live Animals Microchipping) 2019. The major changes from the previous notice include:

  • incorporating live horses into the scope of animals requiring microchipping prior to the issuing of an official assurance (Export Certificate)
  • requiring the exporter to retain the microchip information and have it readily available to reference for verification and certification purposes.

Full details are in the consultation documents.

Consultation documents

Legal Notice: Export Requirements for Live Animal Microchipping [PDF, 441 KB]

Consultation Document: Proposed amendments relating to live animal export microchipping [PDF, 365 KB]

Making your submission

Email your feedback on the draft documents by 5pm on 6 May 2019 to

While we prefer email, you can post your submission to:

Amendments – Export Requirements for Live Animals Microchipping
Food and Live Animal Assurance Team (Level 11 TSB Tower)
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

Make sure you include the following information in your submission:

  • the title of the consultation document
  • your name and title
  • your organisation’s name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation, and whether your submission represents the whole organisation or a section of it)
  • your contact details (such as phone number, address, and email).

Submissions are public information

Note, that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have good reasons for withholding them.  That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it’s commercially sensitive or it’s personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.


New partnership renews push for zero pre-schooler drownings by 2020

Source: New Zealand Plunket Society

A new partnership between YMCA Auckland, Plunket and Auckland Council is increasing the push for zero drownings in the under-five age group across Auckland.

The partnership, which takes effect from Monday 29th April 2019, is being driven by YMCA Auckland and will see the not-for-profit’s Swim School programme run out of eight Auckland pools rather than the current four.

In 2017, seven children under the age of five drowned in New Zealand, that’s two more than in 2016. Of those seven fatalities, five occurred in home pools. In that same year, a further 26 children were hospitalised as a result of near fatal drowning incidents.

“By adding four Auckland Council run pools to the list, we’ll have all of Auckland covered. By increasing our reach, we give more Auckland pre-schoolers access to potentially life-saving knowledge and education,” says Karla McCaughan, YMCA Auckland Swim School Quality Services Manager.

Plunket’s Northern Regional Operations Manager Sam Ferreira says the new partnership is a fantastic opportunity to work towards zero drownings for Auckland pre-schoolers.

“Plunket works every day to build the confidence and knowledge of families and whānau, and we’re delighted to be able to provide half price swimming lessons to our Auckland families and support their confidence around water safety.”

Since 2017, YMCA Auckland and Plunket have worked together to deliver water safety sessions to 17,500 pre-schoolers via the four Auckland Council pools run by YMCA Auckland: Lagoon Pool and Leisure Centre, Onehunga War Memorial Pool, Cameron Pool and Leisure Centre, and Glen Innes Pool and Leisure Centre.

The four Auckland Council owned and operated pools being added to the list are: Tepid Baths, West Wave Pool and Leisure Centre, Albany Stadium Pool, and Manurewa Pool and Leisure Centre.

Auckland pre-schoolers aged three months to five years will have access to half price swimming and water safety lessons at all eight sites.

Councillor Penny Hulse, Chair of the Council’s Environment and Community Committee, says working with organisations like Plunket and YMCA is a great example of Auckland Council partnering with the non-profit sector to support community initiatives.

“Being safe around water – whether it’s a pool, at the beach or river – is essential to living an active life in Auckland. This partnership will equip our young people with the knowledge and skills to be safe and survive in and around water.”

Auckland Council’s Head of Active Recreation Rob McGee says jumping on board the initiative was a no-brainer.

“This partnership with YMCA and Plunket gives us a great opportunity to reach more young Aucklanders and their families to ensure the whole whānau knows how to swim and are educated on basic water safety skills.”

Another five council pools will be brought into the fold over the next three years.

“I’ll be training and educating all Auckland Council pool staff to ensure our water safety product is consistent across all eight sites. If a family goes to Cameron Pool or any other site they’ll get the same level of service and education. Consistency is key,” says McCaughan.

“Together we are helping shape a more water-safety aware Auckland.”

0 Comments Posted by Plunket on 8 April 2019


New steps in improving our response to family violence

Source: New Zealand Government

Speech to the Auckland Branch of the NZ Law Society, 25 March 2019

First of all I want to acknowledge the victims and survivors of the terrorist attack in Christchurch just ten days ago. As we are still processing what happened and considering how we are going to change and respond as a nation, it’s important to reflect on how we can all promote peace in our communities and ensure that everyone in them can live free of violence.

We have been swift to say that these kinds of acts of mass violence against religious or ethnic groups is not the Aotearoa New Zealand we stand for and love. But the sad reality is that a different – but not completely unconnected – kind of violence is all too common in our homes.

An estimated one million New Zealanders are affected by family violence and sexual violence every year. That includes the people who themselves use violence, and it’s important that we include them in our thinking. Even as we center victims and survivors in our discussion and decision-making, we must be able to hold those who use violence to account, to take responsibility and change their behaviour.

Our society is a violent one. But it doesn’t have to be.

Tonight I want to talk with you about the new Family Violence Acts and the wider work the government is doing to improve the responses to family violence and sexual violence.

These forms of violence undermine the physical and mental health, employment, housing, and education of families and whānau. They have an impact across generations. Ending this violence is one of our greatest opportunities to improve wellbeing, and for this reason, action on family violence and sexual violence is a priority for the government.

In 2016, the Family Violence Death Review Committee said New Zealand doesn’t have a family violence safety system. Instead, we have a ‘default system’ consisting of a fragmented range of processes and responses, with one-off interventions that don’t manage risks.

To achieve an effective, integrated system that changes social norms and delivers on prevention, early intervention, crisis response and long-term recovery, we need everyone – inside government and in communities – understanding their role and who are competent and resourced to take action.  We need a plan – a whole-of-government and whole-of-society plan.

So in September, we announced a Joint Venture of 10 chief executives across government who are now collectively accountable for action to address family violence and sexual violence.

This means government agencies working together in new ways to reduce family and sexual violence, to break down the silos in our responses.

Its role is to lead, integrate, and provide support for everyone involved – victims, survivors, people who use violence, and their communities; to ensure that effective, whole-of-government response we need. And to be publicly accountable for that response through reporting to Parliament.

The joint venture is working alongside an interim Māori/Crown partnership group – Te Rōpū – because we know that building genuine partnership with Māori into our model will drive significant improvements in the system. The interim group is preparing advice on what the enduring arrangements for this partnership should look like, and helping to develop a national strategy and action plan.

We all know that myths and misunderstandings about family violence and sexual violence abound. Many people don’t understand the dynamics and the drivers of the violence, how it can escalate, where it comes from, that it’s about control and unequal power. That sexual violence is most often committed by people the victim knows. That family violence can continue when someone is out of the home at work, and that the time when a victim leaves an abusive relationship is the most dangerous.

These myths and misunderstandings put lives at risk.

As lawyers, you are a critical part of the response to family violence and sexual violence. You play a crucial role in the process of achieving justice and resolution for victims and survivors, as well as ensuring the right to a fair trial and help to change for defendants. You can have a tremendous impact, not just in the technical aspects of your work – as we heard recently at the Victims’ Hui held in Wellington, for many people just the act of explaining how the court process works and what’s expected of them can be a huge deal in making the process easier.

So you need to know how to respond, identify risks, and act in ways that enable safety. You are part of the solution.

Our new family violence legislation should help.

The first phase of this legislation came into effect in December.

It introduced new provisions including new offences of strangulation or suffocation, coercion to marry, and assault on a person in a family relationship. These offences criminalise behaviours and practices that are known to be used by perpetrators of violence, but weren’t previously consistently responded to or given enough weight. Strangulation, for example, is a significant risk factor for future, escalating violence. It’s important we can see where and when that is happening.

Coercion to marry, I want to be clear, is not the same as arranged marriage. This arose from a lot of discussion with ethnic and migrant communities who need that distinction clearly spelled out in order to identify and respond to abusive situations.

And assault on a person in a family relationship will now sit alongside “male assaults female”, which will allow us to respond to violence in a range of adult relationships, including in-laws, parents, grandparents, siblings, and those in a close personal relationship such as carers – another important facet of family violence which was highlighted by the disabled community.

We are monitoring the legislation and its application to ensure we do not lose sight of the gendered nature of family violence, or inadvertently end up prosecuting victims’ acts of resistance and self defence. Pulling out forms of violence beyond intimate partner violence works within this framework.

The phase one changes also affected the Bail Act and Evidence Act, so the safety of victims of family violence offending, and their family, will be the primary consideration when deciding whether or not to grant bail, and on what conditions; and Police and courts will be empowered to impose any conditions they deem necessary for the protection of the victim and their family.

And it is now easier for Police to use video evidence on behalf of the victims. The pilot of this has already seen an increase in early guilty pleas.

Phase two of the legislation comes into effect on 1 July.

It updates the definition of family violence to more clearly recognise the controlling, coercive nature of it, and the cumulative harm it causes. It acknowledges the impact and flags raised by individual acts that may not seem significant in of themselves. Lawyers will importantly need to recognise this change and ensure clients get the protection they need.

There are also new principles to guide decision-making, including the need to consider the views of victims, that access to court should be speedy, perpetrators should have access to services to that help them stop and prevent family violence, and the need to recognise that children are particularly vulnerable to family violence, and family violence has a long term impact.

We know that if violence is occurring between a child’s parents, it can cause as much harm if not more than a direct assault against that child. We need to ensure we are protecting children in the context of intimate partner violence and helping to re-establish their relationship with their protective parent.

This is also being covered by our Family Court considerations.

The Act makes important changes to Protection Orders, Police Safety Orders and other mechanisms to improve safety.

It lays the foundations for better family violence response systems by promoting consistent, collaborative responses to people experiencing family violence.

A range of agencies will now be defined in law as Family Violence Agencies with the expectation that they will collaborate to identify, stop, prevent, and otherwise respond to family violence. They must consider sharing information with other agencies where doing so would help keep people safe. This doesn’t include information held by lawyers, but it’s useful for you to know that new guidance and tools on how to share information safely will be available for agencies and practitioners.

The New Zealand Law Society recently hosted a webinar on the family violence legislation. This is available as part of Law Society Continuing Education. A second webinar will be available to support the 1 July changes, and I strongly encourage you all to take part.

The Ministry of Justice has been working with victims, survivors and people who use violence as well as advocates to support the implementation of the new legislation. This means redesigning protection order application forms and developing a risk and needs assessment and brief intervention service when a Police Safety Order is issued.

As I said, this is a priority for us. In addition to the legislation, Minister Little is leading the Family Court rewrite, and the report is due 1 May. We’ve also increased funding to frontline services and much more, including judicial education on family violence and sexual violence, bail information pilots, and ISR.

It’s important to me that we create a safe system, and that needs to include the courts.

I will, with the Minister of Justice’s support, be taking proposals to Cabinet this year to improve how the justice system responds to victims of sexual violence.

These proposals are built on Law Commission advice and important academic and policy work completed over the last decade.

In the meantime, the Ministry is implementing operational changes aimed at reducing trauma and revictimisation for sexual violence victims.

This includes improvements to our court buildings and an online guide to the justice system. This was co-designed with survivors and survivor advocates, to help victims understand the processes and roles in the justice system. We are also implementing psycho-social support from the point of disclosure, and I want to acknowledge the guidance and training for prosecutors issued by the Solicitor-General. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

You will all have views about the role of the justice system in our response to family violence and sexual violence; how evidence is gathered and presented in court, what support should be available to victims, their family and whānau, as their cases proceed; and how we should react to people who are alleged to have committed these crimes or are found guilty of doing so.

As we continue improving the system, I welcome your perspectives.

I am a strong believer in hearing from a broad range of voices, because it’s easy to get stuck in our own frames of reference, and the cultures of the organisations we operate in.

It’s critical to hear and include the perspectives of different ethnic groups, of diverse gender or sexual orientation, those living with disability, children and young people, and especially people who have direct experience of family violence and sexual violence.

We also need the expertise of those who advocate for and represent victims and survivors, and the professionals who see the trauma and know what is effective in holding perpetrators to account and changing their behaviour.

In the justice system, as a first principle, we need to approach family and sexual violence from a “do no more harm” approach. This means acknowledging the trauma that many people engaging in the justice system are already carrying and the need to create a system that is safe, effective and fair, and doesn’t cause further harm.

We have deep cultural and social norms to address and failing systems to mend. We need solutions that will endure: better enabling families and whānau to be strong; ensuring women and children are safe in their homes and communities; having men be confident in their masculinity and able to express their emotions without using violence; and that people of all genders are treated with respect.

We need all New Zealanders working together to address family violence and sexual violence. We need to think beyond the way things have always been done, see the future free of violence that we want to create, and identify how we are going to change the way we work to get there.

So I challenge you to examine the role of the legal profession in the response to family violence and sexual violence, to step up and join us to deliver a system that responds far better to the violence that is happening now, in order to stop it happening ever again.

Thank you.


‘Significant disruption’ signalled for primary schools

Source: National Party

National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye is concerned for students and parents potentially facing continued strikes in 2019 as the Government has yet again failed to reach an agreement with primary teachers.

“The news today by NZEI that teachers have overwhelmingly rejected the latest Government offers means that there is a high likelihood of strikes in the coming months and disruption has teachers try to get the Government to listen to their concerns.

“Last year marked the first primary teachers strikes in 24 years. This would be the third strike to take place after prolonged negotiations that started 11 months ago.

“NZEI has signalled ‘significant disruption’. We note that NZEI is looking at paid union meetings, partial strike action by working to rule and a day of strike.

“The PPTA has also previously confirmed that it has rejected the Government’s third offer and is also likely to be heading towards strikes unless it can come to an agreement. It cancelled its strike because of the terrorist attack. Both the primary and secondary education sectors have raised a number of issues including recruitment and retention issues.

“We have said before that Labour has taken teachers for granted and favoured tertiary students by using huge amounts of education cash on a failed fees free policy.

“National has been travelling the country and listening to teachers concerns as part of the consultation on Tomorrow’s Schools. People are concerned that the proposals could cost potentially millions and that the larger priority is teacher pay and addressing additional learning support issues.

“The Government needs to find a circuit breaker to break the stand-off. It appears that there will be no agreement if the Government doesn’t either shift on additional learning needs, workload and recruitment issues.”


Waging war on pests in Greenhithe

Source: Auckland Council

Sloping down from Upper Harbour Drive in Greenhithe, down to the Hellyers/Oruamo Creek which borders with Beach Haven, is a wonderful escarpment of mature native forest.

The 140-hectare high-ecological value area is home to some huge kahikatea and kauri which are hidden away in steep, tangled and tricky to access surrounds. It is also home to various native lizards, including the copper skink, ornate skink, green gecko and forest gecko.

Over the past 12 months, Greenhithe Community Trust has been working with local residents and volunteers to roll out its first large-scale pest control programme in the area.

The main weapon to date has been the deployment of Goodnature gas-powered traps. Around 200 of these traps have now been installed within the escarpment and in surrounding wooded areas, including council reserves and adjacent private properties.

“The gas traps are fantastic and extremely effective,” says pest free project co-ordinator Richard Chambers.

“Because they are self-resetting and only need servicing and refilling twice a year, they are perfect for deploying in tricky to access terrains like this, he says.

“Their low maintenance is also helpful in keeping foot traffic minimal, and thus reducing the chances of introducing other problems into the area, like kauri dieback disease.”

Goodnature gas traps are in place in Redfern Reserve, Taihinui Historical Reserve, Hellyers Esplanade Reserve and, with owner permission, in some adjacent private properties.

Earlier this year, Auckland Council undertook pest monitoring in the three reserves and found no signs of rats or stoats now being present in the two largest ones.

“Those results were great to see and confirm our efforts to date have been effective in significantly reducing pest populations and infestations,” says Chambers.

“There remain some significant tracts of private land in the surrounding area where we do not yet have traps in yet where we would very much like to,” says Chambers.

“We’re keen to speak directly with any neighbouring property owners who have not yet spoken with us who would like to support this project by approving property access for trap installation and maintenance.

“Our goal for the coming year is to work with our community to get more traps into private properties right across Greenhithe, and to grow community involvement and participation with the Greenhithe Community Trust and the Upper Harbour Ecology Network.”

Advancement of this pest free control initiative, along with others in neighbouring Herald Island, Whenuapai and Paremoremo, have been assisted by funding of the Upper Harbour Ecology Network (UHEN) by Upper Harbour Local Board.

UHEN is a network of environmental groups from across Upper Harbour that meet monthly to learn, network and keep up with developments in environmental issues across Auckland.

Roll out of the project was made possible last year following a grant from Transpower that enabled the purchase of 200 Goodnature gas traps, and another from the Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund which provided funding for Richard Chambers to work as a dedicated resource to the project.  

Richard Chambers can be contacted via email at   

Get involved – New Zealand Garden Bird Survey 2019

Another way of gauging the impact of the work being undertaken is by the monitoring of bird life in the surrounding area.

Greenhithe residents are encouraged to take part in this year’s annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey, which takes place between 29 June and 7 July.

“It’s easy to do and it can be done sitting in the backyard with the kids,” says Chambers. 

“And the more people who do it, the more meaningful it becomes.”

“While it is a nationwide count, if we can get significant numbers of people inputting data from across Greenhithe and neighbouring Beach Haven and Glenfield, we can gain a much more informed picture of what’s going on in our little area of the world,” he says.

Visit Landcare Research website for all you need to know on how to participate in this year’s New Zealand Garden Bird survey.  

Bellbird / Korimako

Increased trapping across wider Greenhithe

Greenhithe Community Trust has also been busy working with local residents, community groups and organisations across Greenhithe to set up rat and possum traps on their properties.  

“We’ve definitely noticed a big upswing in interest and participation in environmental protection initiatives across Greenhithe,” says Greenhithe Community Trust Chairperson Amanda Mitchell.    

“Within Wainoni Park, for example, we have teams of locals working on trap lines over the entire 39 hectares of park area to eradicate rats and possum populations present there. This has provided a focus on trapping in the wider area and that has led to more people coming on board.”

The Trust is keen to hear from people living locals in the area surrounding Wainoni Park wanting to join the Wainoni Park Halo.

“The Halo aims to grow an area of protection and sanctuary for our native birds and plant species to recover and grow in strength within,” says Mitchell.

Residents can contact Trust Eco Facilitator Nicola Robertson on email at for more information on the Wainoni Park Halo, and to request a free trap for use on their private property.

Nicola Robertson and Richard Chambers of the Greenhithe Community Trust.


New Zealand Books – Māori views on European colonisation, through French eyes

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Canterbury University Press

A new book published by Canterbury University Press brings to life a crucial period in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand, when European settlers were mixing with Māori people, and gives compelling insight into Māori customs, values and beliefs of the time from a French perspective.

Living Among the Northland Māori: Diary of Father Antoine Garin, 1844–1846 is the first full English translation of the surviving Mangakāhia journals and letters of French Marist priest Father Antoine Garin – known to Māori as Perekara or Père Garin – who was sent to run the remote Mangakāhia mission station on the banks of the Wairoa River.

Garin’s diaries are a human-centred record of life in a Māori community – he describes the relationships he formed with Māori men, women and children, including the chiefs who offered him protection while he lived among them, and also with his European neighbours. Garin came dangerously close to the action of the Northern War – he provides vivid accounts of contemporary events, and writes of prominent figures such as Hōne Heke and Kawiti. Father Garin moved to Nelson in 1850 and died there 39 years later. Nelson’s Garin College is named after him.

After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, European colonisation of New Zealand accelerated rapidly. In the 1840s, European settlers, including French missionaries, were spreading out over the country, reaching remote places such as Northland’s Wairoa River. However, the role of the French in New Zealand’s colonisation has been a neglected theme in our written histories, largely because of the challenge of dealing with French language material.

What did Māori think of this encroaching culture? How were the daily lives and thoughts of tangata whenua influenced by European activities and relationships? As a fluent te reo Māori speaker and astute observer Garin offers a fascinating first-hand account of his conversations with the Māori people he met and lived among. The three years of Garin’s diary have been translated into English and annotated by Peter Tremewan and Giselle Larcombe, making this valuable primary source accessible to historians and general readers.

“We came across French missionary Antoine Garin’s diaries many years ago,” Tremewan says. “I discovered some of his writings in Rome and Giselle wrote a biography on him in 2009. All his writing was in French, of course. Over the course of four to five years, we translated his diaries covering 1844-1846 so that English speakers can benefit from these resources.”

 Living Among the Northland Māori will be launched on 14 April, the 130th anniversary of Garin’s death, at the University Bookshop, Ilam.

About the authors:

Peter Tremewan is a retired University of Canterbury academic who has written widely about the French in New Zealand and the Pacific in the 19th century. He was awarded the John Dunmore Medal (1991) and JM Sherrard Award in New Zealand History (1992) for his research in this area. His publications include French Akaroa (CUP, 1990, revised 2010). In 2007 the French government made him a Chevalier de l’ordre des Palmes académiques.

Giselle Larcombe is a historian whose publications have focused on the French in New Zealand, especially the written records in French of the early French missionaries; her doctoral thesis, completed in 2009 under the tutelage of Dr Peter Tremewan, was on Antoine Garin. She was awarded the John Dunmore Medal (2010) for her contribution to the study of the French in the Pacific.

Living Among the Northland Māori: Diary of Father Antoine Garin, 1844–1846, Translated and edited by Peter Tremewan and Giselle Larcombe, published by Canterbury University Press, March 2019,ISBN: 978-1-98-850302-8, RRP $89.99


New Zealand Leaders Stand Together

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Media release from New Zealand Leaders Stand Together

Emerging leaders seek support from NZ CEOs to foster inclusive and diverse workplaces following Christchurch mosque attacks.

A group of emerging leaders has published a letter calling for CEOs and other leaders across the country to enable a better, safer and more inclusive New Zealand following the Christchurch mosque attacks on 15 March.

The letter, already supported by organisations including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Ernst & Young (EY), commits to addressing discrimination and creating more inclusive environments within New Zealand workplaces.

“As leaders, this is a critical time for us to reflect, listen, learn and most importantly empower change to enable a better, safer, more inclusive country that embraces diversity for our people,” the letter reads.

“Unfortunately, racism and discrimination are still a part of daily life for many New Zealanders. We have a responsibility as leaders to ensure this ceases – not just for ourselves, but for our children, families, friends, colleagues, communities and future generations. Now is the time to act with strength and to use aroha and respect to forge a pathway forward.”

The letter, published at and on the LinkedIn page ‘NZ Leaders Stand Together’ was initiated by a group of emerging leaders graduating from the Darden Executive Programme as the events in Christchurch unfolded on 15 March.

Executives across New Zealand are being encouraged to become signatories to the open letter and join the dedicated LinkedIn group which has been set up for leaders to chat and share resources that support organisations to undertake the actions laid out in the letter.

Organisations that sign the letter are pledging to create a culture where people are empowered to speak up when they observe casual or systemic discrimination in the workplace. The organisations are also promising to provide the training, tools and techniques to support inclusive behaviour, to regularly review internal processes, and to celebrate and acknowledge the value of diversity in the workplace.

Spokesperson for the group, Sharon Davies, CEO of Talent Propeller and a 2019 Darden alumni member, said two of the key threads in the programme were inclusive growth and leadership that embraced diversity.

“While many might argue New Zealand is already a progressive and inclusive country, the mosque attacks highlighted that we still have a long way to go before we can say racism and discrimination aren’t problems here,” said Ms Davies.

“So, as emerging leaders within a range of New Zealand organisations, we recognised that we could leverage our own networks and drive real change within New Zealand workplaces to build a better future for all New Zealanders.”

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr and EY NZ Managing Partner Simon O’Connor said they were committed to ensuring a positive and inclusive environment for their organisation’s employees today and in the future, and called on others to show their support for the initiative too.

“Being a signatory to the open letter is a public way of sharing our commitment to developing and promoting inclusive, diverse and safe workplaces. Some organisations are further along in this journey than others, yet collectively we will work together to empower change. We hope more organisations will join us,” Mr Orr said.

“The events in Christchurch have been a wake-up call for many New Zealanders. Now is the time to make real change that fosters a safer, better future for all of our people and we are pleased to be making that commitment today along with many other New Zealand organisations. We hope more will join us today,” Mr O’Connor said.

Organisations already signed up to the commitment laid out in the letter include Aeroqual, Auckland Transport, Ernst & Young, Grounded Packaging, Heartland Bank, LMAC New Zealand Limited, Plant and Food Research, Porirua City Council, Propellerhead, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Refining NZ, Synlait Milk Limited, Tainui Group Holdings, Talent Propeller, Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki, The Babysitter’s Club, and Waikato-Tainui College for Research & Development.

The Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, Paul Hunt, supports the initiative.

“It’s up to all of us to stand up to racism, including in the workplace. I applaud the business leaders who have signed the open letter for speaking out today,” Mr Hunt said.

“I encourage organisations to leverage the resources available on the Human Rights Commission’s Give Nothing to Racism website to support their pursuit of more diverse and inclusive workplaces,” he said.

The initiative is also supported by Hon Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch, who is also an alumnus of the Darden Executive Programme.

“We will not be defined by what happened on the 15th of March 2019, we are defined by what followed – the unity, the love, the compassion and the kindness,” Ms Dalziel said.

Organisations can join this commitment and become a signatory to this letter by emailing or joining up at


How did this initiative come about?

This Open Letter is an initiative led by a group of the 2019 cohort of the New Zealand-based Darden Executive Programme (which is offered by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in the US). This cohort graduated from the programme on 15 March – the day of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

A large part of the Darden Executive Programme is focused on diversity and inclusion and the continuing need for leaders across business, Government and the non-profit sector to lead the way in acknowledging, understanding and engaging difference.

These discussions and learnings have inspired the cohort to commit and contribute to influencing positive societal change in our country.

What are you hoping to achieve with it?

We hope New Zealand leaders and their organisations will get behind this campaign to support a more tolerant, inclusive and safer New Zealand.

We’d like to see real change made within New Zealand workplaces and society so prejudice and discrimination, whether intentional or casual, are no longer accepted.

We want to establish this initiative as an ongoing discussion so that the commitment organisations make as specified in our open letter remains a priority and isn’t forgotten over time.

We’re proud to have the support of the Human Rights Commission to align ‘NZ Leaders Stand Together’ with their ‘Give Nothing to Racism’ campaign. Our goals are aligned, and we are committed to working with the Commission to make positive change. More information is available at

What are your expectations of organisations who sign up to support this initiative?

We hope that organisations:

  • Commit to leading and ensuring implementation of the changes and behaviours as listed in the Open Letter.
  • Develop, if they haven’t already, diversity and inclusion policies that reflect this commitment.
  • Act as champions for a better, safer, more inclusive New Zealand to support positive change and ensure it remains a priority for New Zealand leaders and their organisations.

We will utilise our Linkedin page to foster and encourage discussion and information sharing about the progress being made to eradicate prejudice and discrimination.

The Human Rights Commission has tools and resources that are available to organisations to use to work towards these outcomes. Those can be found at and

What are some examples of procedures that organisations already have in place?

The signatories to the letter come from a diverse range of organisations, and accordingly their journeys to embrace diversity and inclusiveness are at different stages. As signatories they are actively and openly committing to undertaking the actions set out in the letter, which will help to enable all these organisations to continue this journey to influence positive societal change in New Zealand.

We encourage signatories to share their experiences, case studies and resources with each other via our LinkedIn page to ensure that we all learn from good practices and outcomes.

How many graduated from the Darden programme?

Forty-three emerging leaders from a diverse range of New Zealand business, public sector, non-profit and iwi organisations successfully completed and graduated from the two-week Darden programme, which was held in Taupo from 3-15 March 2019.

When did the Darden programme begin? What is the history? What is involved in the programme?

The Darden Executive Programme is designed to challenge participants to push their limits in leadership and strategy. It is currently in its 26th year of delivery in New Zealand and alumni now number more than 1,400. Who are the individuals behind this initiative? What are their roles/level of seniority?

Members of the working group are:

Aaron Kenny, Strategic Finance Manager, Synlait Milk Limited
Ben Grant, Founder and Director, Grounded Packaging
Bridget Jolly, Associate Director, Ernst & Young Limited
Darryn Grant, Manager City Growth & Strategic Property, Porirua City
Jane Small, Group Manager Property & Planning, Auckland Transport
Ruth Russell, Associate Director, Ernst & Young Limited
Sharon Davies, Founder and Director, Talent Propeller
Sonya Haggie, Communications Advisor, Tainui Group Holdings
Vanessa Rayner, Manager Industry Insights & Thematics, Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Media enquiries and further information:

Sonya Haggie
Media liaison
Ph: 021 946 633


Native frogs and kiwi protected by Nature Heritage Fund purchase 

Source: New Zealand Government

A block of native forest which is home to threatened native frogs /pepeketua and Coromandel brown kiwi will be preserved after being purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today announced the formal protection of 130 hectares of native forest, at Papa Aroha, 11 kilometres north of Coromandel township. 

“The owners offered the Aradia block to the Fund to guarantee it would be protected for future generations,” Eugenie Sage said.

The land is covered by logged kauri forest and tairaire-tawa forest with emerging stands of rata.

New Zealand has only four species of native frog, all of them are listed as threatened or at-risk. Habitat for two species, Hochstetter’s frog and Archey’s frog, will now be permanently protected by the Native Heritaqe Fund purchase of the Aradia block of native forest.  

“Archey’s frog is our smallest native frog, growing to only 37mm in length. It’s also one of the world’s oldest frogs. Fossils show its hardly changed in 150 million years.

“Archey’s frog is listed as the world’s most Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibian species by the international EDGE of Existence Programme.

“Living beside streams, Hochstetter’s frog is our most aquatic native frog. All our other native frogs live on land in shady moist areas. Hochstetter’s frog is dark brown grows up to 48mm long and is found on the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and at other sites in the upper North Island.

“The Aradia block is also home to Coromandel brown kiwi, which is genetically different to other brown kiwi. It is the rarest of the four forms of brown kiwi with an estimated population of around 1700.

“Other native birds found at the site include North Island kākā, korimako / bellbird, pied tomtit /miromiro, tūī, kererū, riroriro / grey warbler, pīwakawaka / fantail and New Zealand falcon / kārearea.

“Threatened native fish living in nearby rivers include tuna/ long fin eel, giant kōkopu, and koura freshwater crayfish. 

“The good news for this native wildlife and the native forest is that the Department of Conservation (DOC) has controlled introduced predators at the site. The Fund’s purchase will enable this control to continue into the future.” 

The Nature Heritage Fund was established in 1990 to help protect the indigenous ecosystems of Aotearoa through direct purchase or covenant on a willing buyer/ willing seller basis. The Aradia purchase cost the Fund $412,000.

To date, more than 343,000 hectares has been approved for protection through the Fund.


Takahē Awareness Month

Source: Department of Conservation

April is Takahē Awareness Month, when DOC, Ngāi Tahu, our national partner Fulton Hogan, and the wide network of supporters take the opportunity to celebrate the great work of the Takahē Recovery Programme and engage New Zealanders to get out there, see a takahē, and learn about a piece of conservation history.

With around 375 takahē in the population today, takahē have come a long way since being considered extinct over 70 years ago. On top of seeing an average growth rate of 10% each year, the Programme is celebrating a year since we took the first steps towards establishing a second wild takahē population in Kahurangi National Park.

Fulton Hogan CEO Graeme Johnson and DOC Senior Takahē Ranger Glen Greaves releasing takahē in the Murchison Mountains. Credit: Anna Clare.

Learn about takahē:

For 50 years takahē were thought to be extinct until a party led by Dr Geoffrey Orbell rediscovered takahē in the Fiordland Murchison Mountains in 1948.

Watch the short film ‘Takahē – Return to the Wild’ to follow the journey of takahē from rediscovery to the successes of today’s recovery programme.

See a takahē:

Where Takahē Live

Outside of the wild populations in the  Murchison Mountains and Kahurangi National Park, takahē live at sanctuary sites. With the exception of the Burwood Takahē Centre, Cape Sanctuary, and two privately owned islands, these are all open to the public.

Takahē at public sites are our ambassadors, providing opportunities for you to admire and learn more about these amazing ‘pre-historic’ looking birds.

Kiwi Guardians + Takahē Recovery Collaboration

During Takahē Awareness Month, Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Dunedin, Wellington’s Zealandia Ecosanctuary, Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre in northern Waiarapa, and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari near Cambridge, will be offering Toyota Kiwi Guardians the opportunity to get outside and see a takahē for free. Existing Kiwi Guardians will be sent a unique codeword which they can use to receive free entry to these sanctuaries. With a unique codeword provided, Kiwi Guardians can visit any of these sanctuaries and receive free entry. Not a Kiwi Guardian yet? Visit to see how you can get involved and receive the codeword when you redeem your first medal.

While visiting one of the Takahē Sanctuaries during Takahē Awareness Month in April, take a photo of a takahē and be in to win a Kiwi Guardians + takahē prize pack! Comment on the Kiwi Guardians Facebook post with an awesome photo of a takahē to enter.

Remember, always keep your distance from takahē at all time to avoid disturbing them and never attempt to touch or feed the birds.

Fullers360 Takahē Photo Competition

To celebrate Takahē Awareness Month, Fullers360 Ferry Service in the Hauraki Gulf, along with Rotoroa Island Trust and Tiritiri Matangi Island Trust, are running a Takahē Photo Competition with visitors to these takahē sanctuaries.

Take a photo of a takahē on Rotoroa or Tiritiri Matangi Island and post it to Facebook. Tag @Fullers360 and you’ll go in the draw to win a family ferry pass and overnight stay on Rotoroa Island OR a family ferry pass and guided walk on Tiritiri Matangi Island. To enter, use the official Takahē frame filter on Facebook and snap a photo of either a takahē or yourself on Rotoroa or Tiritiri Matangi. Tag @Fullers360 on Facebook or submit your photo via the Fullers360 website.

As well as the photo competition, Rotoroa Island will be hosting a free Takahē Walk & Talk on 27th April for visitors to the island.

Tiritiri Matangi will be holding daily takahē talks and feeding at 1:30pm daily and have a number of kid’s activities to do around the visitor centre, including colouring in’s, takahē mask making, and creating the world’s longest takahē poem!

Donate to Takahē Recovery

You can help support the Takahē Recovery Programme in our goal to restore this precious taonga species back to the wild by either sponsoring one of the Kahurangi founder takahē or donating direct to the Recovery Programme.
All donations are administered by our partner the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation – an independent charitable trust.