Tue 18 Jun 2024 AT 12:00 pm

Ethnic leadership in New Zealand’s public sector – current and future

Today's new professionals are our future leaders and we need to ensure they are supported, feel included and are excited about the mahi they contribute to in order to ensure they stay in the public sector and become the catalyst for transformation.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s demographics are evolving, and so too are the expectations around diversity and inclusion in the public sector. This webinar seeks to inspire future ethnic leaders about a public sector that is ethnically inclusive and diverse, and encourage them to drive system change.

IPANZ will bring together Public Sector rangatira Angela Hassan-Sharp, Divisional Manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Tofilau Iris Webster, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Public Service Commission; and Richard Foy, Manager at Te Puni Kōkiri for a panel discussion led by our own IPANZ New Professionals Network Co-Chair Cullum Peni-Wesche. This will be an engaging conversation where panellists will share experiences from their personal and professional journeys and provide insights and tips for aspiring ethnic leaders, and participants will be given the opportunity to ask questions.

This webinar will build upon the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Ethnic Leaders Group and Ethnic Network, specifically their public sector ethnic leaders panel event (4 October 2023), where they heard from some of the most senior ethnic leaders from across the public sector. For a summary of this event you can read the report by Alex Shahryar-Davies Ethnic Leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand’s public sector.


Angela Hassan-Sharp

Ange is Divisional Manager of the United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has been at MFAT for over 20 years and has had a career of 2 halves – the first decade working on international development issues, including a posting to Vanuatu, and the second decade on human rights and multilateral issues, including a posting to work on UN issues in New York. At the height of COVID, Ange was seconded to the Ministry of Health for 18 months to co-lead the COVID-19 policy team.

Tofilau Iris Webster

Tofilau Iris is currently the Director: Diversity & Inclusion in Te Kawa Mataaho’s Workforce team, and has an extensive Public Service career. She started at the Ministry of Social Development covering a multitude of roles from frontline case management through to senior management roles. Previous to Te Kawa Mataaho, Tofilau came from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) where she was Deputy Chief Executive of the Office of the Chief Executive, leading the Ministry’s Ministerial Services team, its Governance & Nominations service, Legal team and the Communications, Marketing & Media team.


Richard Foy

Richard Foy is an Aotearoa New Zealand-born son of Chinese immigrants, accomplished public speaker, failed comic novelist and a public servant who’s enthusiastically committed to a career of public service and leadership. From 2017 to 2020, Richard was the Chief Archivist of Archives New Zealand. He is a 2019 Leadership Development Centre Fellow, President of ARANZ and a wannabe Starfleet Officer. Outside work, Richard is obsessed with his children, Star Trek, and fungi, sometimes in that order, but seldom in combination.

Cullum Peni-Wesche - panel facilitator

Cullum is a co-chair of IPANZ New Professionals and an IPANZ Board Member. He is currently a Senior Advisor at Fire and Emergency NZ who supports Local Advisory Committees in Tairāwhiti, Hawke's Bay, and Otago to provide independent local advice on community needs, issues and risks. He also deploys internationally with FENZ to support partner agencies respond to large-scale emergencies. His prior work at the Ministry for Primary Industries included leading departmental input to New Zealand Major Event planning and supporting the Border Sector’s response to COVID-19, which was awarded Te Tohu a te Pirimia – the Prime Minister’s Award in 2021.