‘A diverse society provides us with the opportunity to extend our knowledge and cultivate innovation.’
A diverse society provides us with the opportunity to extend our knowledge and cultivate innovation. I am a social work academic with a practice background in working with diverse, and sometimes marginalized and vulnerable, individuals, families, groups and communities. In my work I research and teach about family violence, culturally responsive work with families, communities and organizations, advocacy and social change, Pacific communities, and indigenous practice.
What does diversity mean to you?
I am the product of two people from different ethnic groups so diversity is very personal to me and my family. So, for me diversity means knowing who you are (in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, class and so on) and how then you are positioned in relation to others. Diversity then, is about how we engage respectfully in relationships with others; it is about how we recognize our similarities and negotiate our differences so that we can relate in meaningful and productive ways.
What role does diversity play in your work?
Diversity has been a key component of my career at UC. I have had the opportunity to teach courses with diversity content, write about diversity, and contribute to equity and diversity issues that are important to UC and to New Zealand. I have relished the opportunity to attend courses, workshops and conferences to enhance my learning about diversity.
What diversity activities have you been involved in?
I have been a part of UC’s Central Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee and a member of the Pasifika Strategy Advisory Group (PaSAG) who developed the UC Pasfika Strategy.
As well as my work at UC I have been involved for many years in community development and social work practice with Pasifika Communities. Currently I am on the Canterbury Police Advisory Board (Pacific), and the New Zealand Police Commissioner’s National Advisory Forum (Pacific) whose work is focused on building a strategic plan for the Police to support and guide their work with Pacific communities. I am also a Board member of Barnardos New Zealand, an organization working to enhance wellbeing for children and families.