New Zealand Diversity Forum

The New Zealand Diversity Forum is a platform which brings together individuals and organisations to share ideas and good practice on cultural diversity and positive race relations.

Originally created in 2004 following a community response to the desecration of two Jewish Cemeteries, the Diversity Forum is organised and facilitated by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission with a focus on practical action.

Held towards the end of August, the forum is held in a different city each year, having been in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.

Unique insight and perspectives are shared by a wide range of organisations, each offering their own particular forums on important topics including but not limited to refugee issue, cultural and workplace diversity, religion, language, and human rights. Keynote speakers round off the event, sharing new research and interesting experiences.

A cooperative enterprise, the Diversity Forum is a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of the different needs, issues and interests of what is the varied and diverse society which make up today’s Aotearoa New Zealand.

Post-Forum Survey

We want to ensure that every year we make the Forum better than the last and your feedback plays a crucial role in making sure that this happens. 

If you could take a few moments to fill out the Post-Forum survey here: that would be most appreciated. Responses please by the end of Friday the 25th of September

New Zealand Diversity Forum 2015 | Hui Kanorau 2015

The 11th annual Diversity Forum, organised by the Human Rights Commission, will be held at AUT’s Auckland campus on 9 September 2015. The theme for the 2015 forum is 'Empathy in the face of Diversity'. 

The forum’s aim is for individuals and organisations to share ideas and good practice on how to foster positive race relations. 

The keynote speaker at this year’s forum is Dr Gill Hicks, a double amputee as a result of the London bombings in July 2005. In 2007 Gill founded the not for profit organisation M.A.D. for Peace, a platform that connects people globally and encourages us to think of 'peace' as a verb, something that we have an individual responsibility to do every day. In parallel, her work confronting violent extremism through counter narrative and communication is at the forefront of current international thinking. 

Associate Professor Gail Pacheco (Co-Director of the New Zealand Work Research Institute, AUT) and Professor Edwina Pio, also from AUT, will respectively present the findings from their research on the effect discrimination has on physical and mental health and religion in the workplace. 

Other speakers include, but are not limited to: Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy and Police Commissioner Mike Bush. Forum participants will be welcomed by AUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Rob Allen.

The audience is, depending on the theme, academics, refugee, migrant and religious community people and representatives from the agencies who work with them such as NZ Police, local councils, the Office of Ethnic Communities, Immigration NZ, and others. You can register for the forum below.

Keynote Speakers

Click on names for full biography

  • MC: Ali Ikram

    Ali Ikram is a broadcaster and columnist. Currently he writes on the subject of fame for Fairfax NZ and art for the NZ Herald. Most recently he was a reporter on the TV3 show Campbell Live. Notable assignments have included reporting on the Asian Tsunami, the Christchurch Earthquake and the Coral Burrows murder inquiry. Ali was born in Christchurch of both Pakistani and English ancestry. He has three children who are also part Italian and Pakeha added into that mix.

Community Project Presentations

  • Sahaayta Counsellor Zoya Salim Kara

  • Shanti Niwas Project Manager Nilima Venkat

  • New Zealand Police Asian Liaison Officer, Jessica Phuang
    Jessica Phuang was born in Singapore, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1988. She joined the New Zealand Police in 2003 as the Asian Liaison Officer for Auckland City District. Jessica developed and established the first New Zealand Asian Advisory Board in 2004, and continually strives to advocated for the welfare of international students, visitors, and the recruitment of ethnic people to join the New Zealand Police.

  • Umma Trust Youth Project Coordinator Melissa Rose Powell

  • Melissa Rose Powell is the Umma Trust Youth Project Coordinator. She has over 12 years managing health and social sector projects and programmes alongside communities from refugee and migrant backgrounds including young people, women and their families. She is passionate about community empowerment models and practice. Her favourite thing is when women and young people achieve goals they didn’t previously believe were attainable.
  • Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel Chair, Dave Tomu

             Dave Headshot.jpg

  • Dave has served the African community in various advisory and executive positions and is the recent Past President of the African Communities Forum (ACOFI). His executive committee has worked tirelessly to implement the ACOFI vision of “A dynamic, fully integrated African community that contributed to all sectors of New Zealand society”. In 2013 he was nominated by the Universal Peace Federation as an Ambassador for Peace. He’s a Trustee of the African Film Festival New Zealand (AFFNZ). The inaugural festival was launched in 2015 in Auckland Dave is currently the chair of the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel (EPAP) A father of a son and four daughters Dave loves the outdoors. Walking in the various council regional walking trails, Shakespear Regional Sanctuary is his favaourite. When not out and about he sells real estate in his spare time, based in West Auckland..

Forum Sponsors and Partners

The New Zealand Diversity Forum is organised by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the following sponsors and partners: 


Event Programme


2015 New Zealand Diversity Forum Gallery