Speakers

Below are the confirmed speakers. We will be adding to this list as our confirmations grow.

Professor Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro

Professor Cindy Kiro (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Hine) – is a well-known New Zealand academic.

Having focussed on Education for the past five years, Professor Kiro also worked in public health and children’s advocacy for many years. She has extensive experience working in roles to improve outcomes for the New Zealand population.

Professor Kiro is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at the University of Auckland (effective from 1 October 2018).  She has worked at the University of Auckland for three years as Director of the Starpath Project and Te Tumu – responsible for Māori/indigenous education in the Faculty of Education.

Having held many senior roles in the health sector, academia and community organisations – Professor Kiros career has straddled social work, public health and education.

As New Zealand’s fourth Children’s Commissioner, Cindy Kiro established the Taskforce for Action on Family Violence, the largest ever response to family violence, that included 22 government department chief executives, a chief district court judge, the Police Commissioner, the Principal Family Court Judge, the Chief Families Commissioner, five non-government organisation chief executives, and Māori and Pacific Island representatives.

Sacha McMeeking



Sacha is of Ngāi Tahu descent and has had a varied career working with Iwi and Māori across public policy, entrepreneurship and community development. She is currently the Head of School at Aotahi, the School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury and co-founder of Tū Māia, a kaupapa Māori business supporting entrepreneurship and leadership within Māori communities.

She was awarded the Fulbright Harkness Fellowship in 2010, which she used to explore the role of tradition-based values in decision-making. She is a member of the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board and will shortly commence a doctoral programme with the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School in the United Kingdom, exploring the relationship between entrepreneurship, positive social change and building community capability to be self-determining.

Dr Bryce Edwards

Formerly of the University of Otago Politics Department, Bryce is now a Wellington-based political commentator and analyst. He is the director of Critical Politics (criticalpolitics.nz) a project focused on researching, analysing, and communicating New Zealand politics and society, all from a critical point of view.

He writes regularly for the New Zealand Herald on contemporary issues in politics, and appears in a variety of other media. Bryce has an enthusiasm for public engagement, debate, and critical thinking, and is also a director of Transparency International New Zealand.

His current research focuses on political power (for a book Who Runs New Zealand? An Anatomy of Power) and democracy (especially on problems and possibilities in New Zealand’s political system). His PhD was titled Political Parties in New Zealand: A Study of Ideological and Organisational Transformation, and he has published extensively on issues of New Zealand electoral politics.

Hon Carmel Sepuloni

Hon Carmel Sepuloni is the Minister for Social Development and the Minister for Disability Issues, as well as Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Pacific Peoples. She is also the Member of Parliament for Kelston, West Auckland.

Carmel is of Samoan, Tongan and NZ European decent.  She was born and raised in New Zealand and is the mother of two boys aged 6 and 21.

Outside of politics Carmel has been a leader in many roles across the health and education sectors, working as a literacy educator with youth in Auckland, teaching in Samoa, managing equity programmes and then leading the Pacific non-regulated health workforce research project at the University of Auckland. Carmel was also the CEO of New Zealand’s only national Pacific disability, mental health and older person’s service provider, Vaka Tautua.

As the Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues, Carmel is undertaking an overhaul of New Zealand’s welfare system to ensure it is fair and accessible. She is committed to having a system that treats New Zealanders with the respect, upholds their dignity and supports them and their families to realise their potential.

Hon Tracey Martin

Tracey was first elected to Parliament as a New Zealand First list MP based in Warkworth, in 2011. A great believer in giving back to the community, Tracey spent the majority of her pre-parliament time on parent based fundraising and volunteer committees, while she raised three children with her husband Ben.

She is the only MP who listed their previous occupation as stay at home Mum – though she has done other work. Tracey is the Minister of Children, Seniors, and Internal Affairs, and is the Associate Minister of Education.

Jan Logie

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Justice (Sexual and Domestic Violence Issues), Green Party Spokesperson Community and Voluntary Sector

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.

Jan worked for Women’s Refuge, the New Zealand University Students’ Association, the YWCA and numerous other social causes before entering Parliament in 2011.  She also has a proud history as a volunteer – for Youthline, HELP Sexual Abuse Crisis Line, Wellington Rape Crisis Board and others. 

Combining her big picture thinking with her experience of helping individuals personally gives Jan a uniquely caring and practical political perspective.

In Parliament she has been a champion for people and families affected by domestic and sexual violence.  She initiated a select committee inquiry into funding for specialist sexual abuse and social services, and her Workplace Protection Bill is designed to protect victims and reduce the significant economic impact of domestic violence. 

Jan made global headlines when she was detained in Sri Lanka while highlighting human rights abuses to which the Government had turned a blind eye. 

Jan wants to see the way we practice politics change to strengthen faith in our democracy. She believes that public engagement and greater transparency are central to trust in both the system and our politicians.

Hon Alfred Ngaro

National Party Spokesperson for Children, Community and Voluntary Sector, Pacific Peoples

Alfred is a New Zealander of Cook Islands descent married to Samoan-Niuean Moka Fuemana with four children and two grandchildren.

Alfred was raised in Te Atatū and attended the local schools of Edmonton Primary, Rangeview Intermediate and Henderson High School. He played for the local Rugby clubs and was an active member of Te Atatū St Giles Church. He trained and qualified as an electrician out west and also completed his theological degree at the Henderson campus of the Bible College of New Zealand.

Prior to entering Parliament, Alfred was a consultant in community led development and governance with expertise in New Zealand, Cook Islands and Canada. He co-pioneered several community initiatives such as the Tamaki Achievement Pathway, Healthy Village Action Zone (HVAZ) Project, and the Inspiring Communities Exchange Network sponsored by the Tindall Foundation.

Alfred’s governance experience includes key roles on the National Family Violence Taskforce, Auckland District Health Board and Pacific Advisory Committee Auckland City Council and others. He is also an Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign.

In 2009 Alfred received the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award in recognition of his leadership work within the community.
In 2011 Alfred entered Parliament as a List MP for the National Party.
During the 50th Parliament term he was Deputy Chair of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee from February 2013 to February 2014. From January 2014 to August 2014 he was Deputy Chair of the Social Services Select Committee.

In 2014 September elections, Alfred represented the National Party for the Te Atatū electorate. Although he did not win the seat he and his team ran a vibrant campaign and halved the majority of the incumbent. Alfred returned to the 51st Parliament as a List MP based in Te Atatū.

In October 2014 he became the Chair of the Social Services Select Committee. In December 2014 Alfred opened an office in Te Atatū and is proud to be serving the interests of the Te Atatū constituency. “Raised, schooled and trained in Te Atatū, I had lots of challenges in my upbringing but I have always taken the positive from this. It allowed me to get a real insight into the tests people in our community face that sometimes leaves them on the wrong side of the tracks. Those insights have helped me to contribute to our team in developing strong social policy that is now delivering results for our country.”

Prior to the change of government Alfred held four portfolio responsibilities from the end of 2016 till the end of 2017. He was the Minister for the Voluntary Sector, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Associate Minister for Children and Associate Minister for Social Housing.

Kath Harrison

Kath Harrison is the Chief Executive Officer of Belong Blue Mountains Community and Neighbourhood Services. Belong Blue Mountains is a key non-government community service provider within Greater Western Sydney, across a broad range of government and non government funded services. Belong Blue Mountains services span children, family and youth; aged care; disability; mental health; neighbourhood centres and community hubs.

Kath has over 30 years professional experience within the tertiary health and community based service sector. Kath has experience in the delivery of mainstream health services, with a background in primary health care and experience running the largest hospital and outreach in the Southern Hemisphere, a tertiary education background working as a Senior Lecturer in Health & Social Ecology in Sydney and Thailand and her current senior management experience within the community based service sector.

Kath has expertise in partnering for change and adaptive leadership to support the impacts of change and social reform across funding models, shifting target population priorities, service delivery challenges and changing political climates. In driving the Belong Blue Mountains long term strategic platforms, Kath models the professional values of integrity, honour, accountability, openness, respect and innovation.

Damon Salesa

Damon Salesa is a scholar of Pacific politics, history, technology, culture and society.  He is a prizewinning author of works on the Pacific, New Zealand race and politics.  He has written or edited a number of books including Tangata o le Moana (2012) and Island Time: New Zealand’s Pacific Futures (2017). His 2012 book Racial Crossings won the Ernest Scott Prize. 

He is a graduate of the University of Auckland, and completed his doctorate at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. A Samoan born and raised in Glen Innes, he hails from Satapuala and Falealupo. He taught for a decade at the University of Michigan before joining Auckland University as head of Pacific Studies. He became Auckland’s Pro Vice Chancellor Pacific in November 2018, the first Pacific Pro Vice Chancellor in New Zealand.

Panapa Ehau

A co-owner in a number of Māori land blocks in the ancestral estate of Te Papa Tipu o Uepohatu. With more than two decades of business experience in housing development, environmental services and social enterprise, Panapa is focused on developing sustainable inter-generational economic pathways that utilise and enhance local natural resources.

Panapa is a co-founder and Director of Hikurangi Cannabis Company where his role as Whanau Engagement sees him focused on developing the skill base of families in the Ruatoria area.

Dr Richard Egan

Dr Richard Egan is the co-director of the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, part of the Department of Preventive & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand. His background includes five years working as a health promoter in a Public Health Unit and five years secondary school teaching.

Richard’s Master’s thesis examined spirituality in New Zealand state schools, his PhD thesis explored spirituality in end-of-life care and he has qualifications in theology, English literature, religious studies, and public health. Richard is a past-president of the New Zealand Public Health Association and is currently vice-Chair on the Board of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand. He is also an Honorary Research Consultant for Meaningful Aging Australia, a Global Network for Spirituality & Health member, a Board member of the Selwyn Institute for Aging and Spirituality and he works with Hospice NZ on spirituality matters. Sarah (wife), Benji (son, aged ten) and Milo (dog) remind Richard about ‘what matters most’.

Richard’s research interests include health promotion, supportive care in cancer, and spirituality in healthcare/public health. Spirituality research is still ‘emergent’ in healthcare and even more so in public health. Richard has begun to show that in New Zealand settings such as end-of-life care (Egan et al. 2011, Egan et al. 2016), dementia care (Perkins et al. 2015), renal care (Egan et al. 2014, Egan et al. 2015) and medical education (Lambie et al. 2013) spirituality is broadly understood across a continuum from secular through to religious; and considered an important domain of care. There are, however, many questions and challenges that remain clinically, for public health and in the research field. Current funded projects include work on euthanasia, Māori prostate cancer and spirituality in cancer and elder care. Richard is more than happy to discuss these issues and is always developing further research; feel free to contact him at richard.egan@otago.ac.nz

Katherine Peet

After teaching maths and sciences in secondary schools in this country and in England and Wales, Katherine has worked in the NGO/Third/Voluntary Sector, which she sees as an important site of creativity and responses to injustice. Marriage for 51 years to John has involved caring for three children and 26 years of living alongside aged and disabled parents. Now three out-of-town grandchildren and one due in October to be in Christchurch give great enjoyment along with her current primary commitment as Organiser and Workshop Leader with Network Waitangi Otautahi and the associated work as Tangata Tiriti CoChair with One Voice Te Reo Kotahi.

Katherine is a Past President of the national Federation of WEAs and represented this country (1985) and then the International Federation of WEAs (1997) at UNESCO Adult Education Conferences. She has been involved with the Asian and South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education for over 30 years. She was appointed to the National Council of Adult Education Lifelong Learning Task Force in 1985 and to the 2001 Government Working Party on Adult Education and Community Learning. She has also chaired the Christchurch and subsequently the NZ Council of Social Services and was an inaugural Trustee of Kotare Research and Education for Social Change Trust.

David Hanna

David is a fourth generation Pākehā, a partner in a civil union, a father of four children, a Director of a Social Change/Service Organisation (Wesley Community Action) and National Coordinator of Inspiring Communities.

He has worked as a national NGO youth director, a policy manager in Central Government, a consultant on youth development, a trainer in policy analysis and now a director.

Key themes across his activities are bicultural/Treaty of Waitangi perspectives, systems/holistic action/thinking, positive child and youth development and grounding what we do in an authentic spirituality.

David is currently working in dual roles with Inspiring Communities and as the Director of Wesley Community Action.

Anjum Rahman

Anjum is a chartered accountant with over 25 years’ experience, working with a range of entities in the commercial, farming and not-for-profit sectors. Her knowledge and experience, coupled with attention to detail, see Anjum working on more complex accounting jobs and providing larger businesses with monthly reporting and management accounts. Anjum has specialist skills in financial reporting standards, taxation of investment income and farm accounting.

She also commits to various volunteer roles in the community. She was a founding member of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, an organisation formed in 1990 to bring Muslim women together and represent their concerns. Over the years, she has been Chair, secretary, and for many years, the media spokesperson. She has also been a founding member and trustee of Shama (Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre), a social service organisation that provides support to ethnic women through its social work service, life-skills classes and community development. She is a founding member of the Campaign for Consent Waikato, an organisation working on sexual violence prevention, and in that role, has been involved a number of programmes to raise community awareness. The organisation has been working on setting up an agency network to co-ordinate activities within Hamilton, as well as pushing for research into the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in ethnic communities.

Anjum has been an active member of the Waikato Interfaith Council for over a decade, a trustee of the Trust that governs Hamilton’s community access broadcaster, Free FM, and a trustee of the Ethnic New Zealand Trust. The latter undertakes projects to promote awareness of human rights within the community. Along with these roles, she writes poetry, is a member of the interfaith choir, is a mother of two. She takes on various public speaking engagements on a voluntary basis. Her favourite activity, for reasons which should be evident, is sleeping.

Mike Reid

Mike has been employed at LGNZ since 1996 during which time he has worked in a diverse range of policy areas including local governance, elected member development, legislative change, social policy, relationships with Maori and local democracy.

Mike completed his PhD in public policy in 2011 and is currently on the board of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies. He speaks regularly on local government matters and has published widely.

Liz Hawes

Liz is the Kaituiora for the Social Equity and Wellbeing Network in Christchurch. She has a strong community background, having worked in the sector for 35 years, with experience across a range of different organisations.

Jayden Cromb

Jayden works in the mental health sector for ALBE Southern Family Support in Alexandra. As well as being a Trustee of the local Youth Trust. Jayden works in the community supporting those suffering from Mental Illness across the Central Otago area.

Jayden grew up in Ranfurly, Central Otago in one of the only permanent Māori families in the area. Growing up it was hard not to fit into the stereotypes that members of the community would talk about and Jayden struggled to connect with and understand his culture in a very rural part of the South Island. He worked hard to beat those stereotypes and show that ‘we all get to decide who we are, not a small group of people sitting around a coffee table and that being different isn’t a negative but something we should all be proud of’.

Before entering Mental Health he studied Social Services at the Otago Polytech and served in many positions on the Otago Polytech Students’ Association, focusing his time on supporting and advocating for better Mental Health services within the Polytech and more support and inclusion of Māori, Pasifika and International students. This included pushing for greater support to lift the number of Māori graduates.

During his time in Dunedin he was also the Chair of Dunedin Young Labour, before creating Southern Young Labour to better support like minded students in more isolated parts of the lower South Island. In 2016 Jayden had a brief stint as the Labour Party’s Waitaki candidate before stepping aside to become a stay at home dad.

After leaving Dunedin Jayden returned home to Central Otago with a lifetime goal of helping build a sociality that allows everyone to grow into who they are without fear, and that is fair and equitable for the minority as well as the majority.

Megan Thomas

Megan Thomas is an experienced facilitator and community consultant. Her work focuses on co-designing solutions for the future, building adaptive and responsive organisation cultures and collective responses to social issues.  Often described as a synthesizer of ideas and thoughts into logical patterns of operations, Megan brings a unique combination of skills to projects she is involved in.

Megan has a solid all round knowledge of the community sector having worked in international aid, arts and social services sector.  Her consultancy practice has involved work across all spectrums of the community sector – health, social services, community education, social enterprise and the environment. She has been involved in sector wide initiatives working with Government on projects such as NGO Streamlined Contracting, Financial Reporting Standards, Social Impact Bonds and how to effectively transition to results-based contracting.

Recently Megan was Interim Chief Executive for Birthright New Zealand. One of the projects she worked on here was looking at a collective response to creating equitable outcomes for single parent whānau.