Highlights from our first event with the Prime Minister, Rt Honourable Jacinda Ardern

This event took place the night before the terrorism attacks. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern was expressly asked how NZ Asian Leaders (NZAL) and SUPERdiverse WOMEN (SDW) members could increase social capital and community cohesiveness in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister stressed the importance of diverse leaders on government appointed boards in particular.

Held at the premises of NZAL sponsor, Datacom, the session was facilitated in an interview format led by Mai Chen, Chair, NZAL and SDW. A Q and A format with questions shared by the audience, the evening saw the Prime Minister answer questions on various topics, ranging from climate change, digital growth, SMEs in NZ, relationship with Asian countries, contribution of Maori women to the society.

Speaking to an audience of over 250 leaders, the Prime Minister shared her thoughts on the values of a being a kind and strong woman leader. She said, “What are some of the values we try and teach our Tamariki? We teach them generosity, care, thoughtfulness and kindness. You think about those basic values that you try and teach in the playground. And then somehow, when we get into the space of political leadership, we stop valuing those traits, and we start treating them as weaknesses. If we don’t teach our children to treat kindness as a weakness, why would we expect our leaders to treat kindness as a weakness.”

The Chair, Mai Chen concluded that the affinity NZAL, SDW members felt with the PM is that she did not fit the usual stereotype, but had greatly influenced New Zealand for the better. Her strong performance in the role gave us all hope that others who do not fit the normal stereotype can also play an influential role for the betterment of NZ.

The session was opened by Rachel Walsh, Chief Financial Officer, Datacom Group followed by a welcome and karakia by Kiri Nathan, Founder and Director, Kiri Nathan Ltd and SDW Advisory board members. The formal vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Hinemoa Elder, Māori Strategic Leader CoRE Ageing Brain, University of Auckland and SDW Advisory Board member.