Diversity Awards:

Past Winners & Entrants


Empowerment & Supreme Award Winner

Diversity committee fosters greater equity in technical services industry

Traditionally, engineering and science fields have tended to be dominated by men.  While this trend has shifted somewhat in recent years with more female graduates coming through, the number of women in senior technical roles remains low.


Jacobs merged with Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) in late 2013 to form one of the largest providers of technical, professional and construction service providers in the world. Jacobs employs approximately 70,000 employees across a range of technical sectors.  The New Zealand office employs 370 staff within the engineering and science profession, delivering services across a number of sectors, including infrastructure, environment, resources and power.

The Engineering Consulting industry is a competitive one. There is currently a global shortage of engineers and other skilled staff, so it is critical to retain and develop good senior talent. The company also works to strongly encourage young people to consider careers with Jacobs in the areas of engineering and science.  This is a strategy that a number of businesses in the technical sector have adopted in recent times to ensure their ongoing sustainability through carefully managed talent pipelines.


0614-Cultural_LRElizabeth Knox Home & Hospital

Dedicated to changing the face of residential care

Irish immigrants Elizabeth and Charles Knox settled in Auckland in the early 1840s. When Elizabeth died in 1908 at the ripe old age of 99, she bequeathed her estate for the “purpose of building, endowing and maintaining a hospital or home for poor people suffering from incurable diseases”.


The Knox Home Trust Board was established in 1911 and the facility was originally constructed on the Knox farm in Tamaki. In 1974 the new home relocated to its current location in Epsom, Auckland. The Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital (EKHH) now provides care to both subsidised and fee-paying private residents. Both the young and old have made Knox their home.

The Knox community is extremely diverse; over 26 nationalities are represented amongst the residents, and 17 nationalities amongst the 123 staff members.  Collectively, 23 different languages are spoken. The volunteering community of around 600 regular monthly volunteers, vital in an environment with so much emphasis on companionship and one-to-one communication, includes 47 different nationalities with around 50 different languages.


Divers-ability Award Winner

Past experiences no barrier to the future for Odyssey team

At any time in New Zealand, 450,000 people are suffering from a substance misuse disorder. Ten per cent of these people seek help each year from addictions treatment services such as Odyssey.  

27.08.14.EEOAwards2014_043As an organisation, Odyssey has grown from just one staff member in 1980 to providing employment and personal and professional development opportunities for over 140 staff in 2014. In building its teams, Odyssey seeks to provide employment opportunities for a broad range of differently abled people including those with mental health conditions and addicts in recovery and those with previous criminal convictions.

Business and Service Development Manager, Gabby Clezy says, overcoming struggles and coloured pasts is not a disability but experience that provides the employee with greater insight, empathy and an understanding of the challenges faced by Odyssey’s clients.


Nirvana Health Group 

Melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and religions is a recipe for a happy family

The Nirvana Health group owns and manages the largest network of primary healthcare clinics in New Zealand under the banner of East Tamaki Healthcare, West Auckland Healthcare, Mt. Roskill Healthcare and White Cross.


East Tamaki Healthcare (ETHC) has over 37 years’ experience in large scale delivery of primary care services to the highly diverse communities of the greater Auckland region.  Nirvana Health Group was incorporated to serve as the umbrella company for all these business units with in excess of 30 Medical Clinics ensuring New Zealanders have access to 24 hour private medical care. There are currently over 170,000 enrolled patients and many more who visit as casual patients on a daily basis.

There is no one initiative that best exemplifies the celebration of “innovative responses to inclusivity” within the Nirvana Health Group.  Rather a continuous and consistent number of initiatives interwoven into practical day-to-day occurrences make up the Nirvana Health culture.


Russell Group 
Skills Highway Award Winner

Core Strength literacy programme gives strong foundations for company’s future growth

The building industry has been challenged by the economic climate in recent years and the road ahead is not yet a smooth one. With experienced, loyal staff, solid client relationships and a diverse business, the leaders of the Russell Group are confident they have the skills and attributes required to ensure sustainable growth even in periods of economic downturn.

27.08.14.EEOAwards2014_044The Russell Group comprises four major companies, Dominion Constructors Ltd (DCL), Russell Gordon Contracting (RGC), Acrow Ltd and Stresscrete. They have been trading for over 30 years and cover most elements of the construction industry and sectors of the market.

The Russell Group Core Strength programme incorporates employees from Dominion Constructors Ltd and Russell Gordon Contracting, collectively employing close to 280 staff, many providing long term service and invaluable experience.


Maori cadetship programme brings benefits for business and community

New Zealand's workforce is growing older and more culturally diverse with each passing year, with those at entry level increasingly young workers of Māori and Pacific Island heritage. This trend will continue to grow with predictions that by 2026 the proportion of the population identifying as Māori, Pacific Island or Asian will be 42 per cent.

27.08.14.EEOAwards2014_319The worrying element of this story is the impact that this will have on the skilled talent pool available to business, as currently in excess of 50 per cent of Māori and Pasifika boys leave school without any qualifications at all and are ill equipped to enter the workforce. National unemployment amongst Māori youth stands at approximately 22 per cent, compared to approximately 9.5 per cent amongst youth of European descent.   

Aurecon is an organisation that provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for public and private sector clients globally. With an office network extending across 27 countries, Aurecon has been involved in projects in over 80 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas and employs around 7500 people throughout 12 industry groups.


Ranjna Patel – NZ Asian Leaders

Community-driven leadership philosophy builds diverse, sustainable New Zealand healthcare

“Be the best for our community” was the simple guiding vision for Ranjna Patel and her husband when they started their first medical practice in Otara. The location of the clinic was chosen so they could give something back to the culturally diverse community, predominantly of Maori and Pacific Island descent, that had welcomed and embraced them when they settled there as new migrants.


This simple vision has continued to guide Ranjna’s leadership and over nearly four decades that first clinic has evolved into East Tamaki Healthcare, encompassing 22 GP clinics and nine White Cross emergency clinics.

Founder and Director for East Tamaki Healthcare (ETHC), Ranjna now provides leadership for more than 500 medical professionals and support staff.


Andrew.Stewart Ltd 

 Balanced lives for team members delivers loyal talent, strong company culture 

Planning and environmental consultancy Andrew.Stewart is focused on becoming an organisation that talented employees want to work for and team members choose to stay with. And it’s on track to achieve its vision.

27.08.14.EEOAwards2014_036Smaller and younger than many of its long-established competitors, Andrew.Stewart can’t entice top talent with the largest salary packages but has instead built an organisation that fosters team spirit, provides opportunities for personal and professional growth and offers all staff flexibility to pursue their interests outside work.

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Highly Commended Awards 

Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products (Skills Highway)

Delivering a cutting edge workforce for future growth

Diversity in New Zealand organisations can take many forms and at times presents challenges. One such challenge that can have a huge impact on productivity and organisational performance is educational diversity, especially in terms of standards of numeracy and literacy.

Skills Highway.HC.Carter Holt

One company who understand these issues and has taken positive steps to address workforce capability and improve efficiency is, Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts NZ, one of New Zealand’s largest timber operations.

The business employs a significant number of Maori and Pacifica workers across their eight sites and a high proportion of the workforce has limited educational achievements outside of early secondary school, being considered ‘low-skilled’. At one particular site in South Auckland 95% have English as a second language and come from the Pacific Islands. 

Computers in Homes 

Cultural Celebration

Forming vital connections with Computers in Homes

Bringing technology, internet access and basic computer literacy to all New Zealanders is the core objective of the 2020 Communications Trust. . Yet their Computers in Homes programme has gone much further by creating vital connections and opportunities within diverse communities throughout the country.    

Computers in Homes (CIH), the flagship programme of the 2020 Communications Trust, has helped connect more than 12,000 families since its establishment in 2000.

Cultural Celebration.HC.Computers In Homes

To achieve this, CIH works within communities where access to technology and internet connection isaffected by low income and/or rural locality.  Meeting specific needs of   families from low decile schools ensures that those without home access to computers or the internet are able to receive training, a refurbished computer, a subsidised internet connection and tech support for 12 months. The goal is simple: digital inclusion and digital literacy for all, with parents connecting to their children’s learning.



Small role making a big difference for Blastacars’ keenest employee

In a small company the pressure is always on to get the most out of each team member but drift-karting business Blastacars has discovered the reward of valuing diversity and recognising potential.


Blastacars Auckland is a Kiwi-owned and operated drift kart track situated in the heart of West Auckland. The business, which has a sister track in Hamilton, is owned by Peter Zyp who has been building his brand for the last 25 years. Zyp created the “Drift Kart” and pioneered the drift karting industry which is quickly becoming popular around the world and attracting interest from overseas investors.

There are challenges that come with a one-of-a-kind, evolving industry: developing policies and procedures from scratch without generic industry resources to fall back on, selling a product with no point of reference and contending with growth as a small, inexperienced business.