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 Head of School – Aotahi / Māui Lab Co-Director, University of Canterbury.

Sacha brings a serial entrepreneur’s approach to working with and for Iwi Māori. From instigating United Nations proceedings to architecting a Māori social enterprise fund and leading commercial negotiations, she is known for solution-building that meets Iwi Māori aspirations.

Before coming to UC, Sacha was the director of a boutique consultancy working with Iwi Māori in strategy development, kaupapa Māori asset management and innovation and the General Manager Strategy and influence with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, responsible for government relations on behalf of the Iwi.

Recognised as an emerging New Zealand leader, Sacha won the inaugural Fulbright Harkness Fellowship in 2010. Sacha is a change agent and compliments her varied background with a desire to support and grow the next generation of Māori scholars. Initiatives like the Māui lab are a product of that intent and just one of the many innovations that Sacha intends to bring through Aotahi in the years to come.

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, Minister for Social Development

Hon Tracey Martin, Minister for Children, Internal Affairs and Seniors

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

Hon Alfred Ngaro, National Party Spokesperson Community and Voluntary Sector

Peeni Henare, Minister of Community and Voluntary Sector

Kath Harrison, Chief Executive, Belong Blue Mountains Community and Neighbourhood Services Australia

Damon Salesa

Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is a prizewinning scholar who specializes in the study of colonialism, empire, government and race.  With a particular interest in the Pacific Islands, he also works on education, economics and development in the Pacific region, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. After studying at the University of Auckland, he completed his studies at Oxford University.

He is currently Associate Professor of Pacific Studies at the Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland.  Previously he was Associate Professor of History, American Culture, and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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