2020 Diversity Awards NZ: Congratulations to our partners NZ Police, Deloitte, Heartland Bank and Fletcher Building

The world our young women are entering as they become independent adults in 2020 is unique. Not only are they feeling responsible for solving the climate crisis which has been a constant in their lives, but they now find themselves doing it during a pandemic and recession.

In partnership with the YWCA and their Y25 programme that recognises young women under 25, this panel of four amazing young wāhine toa will be speaking to their truth and experience. Each will speak to the challenges they see for young women in 2020 and how support across generations can help make change happen more quickly. There will be the opportunity for questions and comments.

Zoom Webinar
October 20th, 2020 | 11:00AM – 12:00PM

About the speakers


Irihapeti Edwards [21, Global Youth Leader and Finance Activist, Whangarei]

Growing up as a decile one school-kid fed by Wednesday afternoon welfare cheques, many had a pre-designed model for Irihapeti Edwards. However it was these experiences that made her passionate about community engagement, cultural representation, women empowerment and education. She pursued her career to become one of the youngest people to be employed by one of the ‘Big Four’ professional services firms. Financial literacy in her community is a big passion plus she’s a keen advocate of human and indigenous rights, working with organisations including UN Youth NZ UN Canada and Children Minister’s Scholarship. As a young Māori wahine, she represents Māori people on every stage she enters even if it means being the 'only brown person' at the table.
Sophie Handford [19, Strike 4 Climate Founder and Kāpiti Coast Councillor]

If anyone needs to get 170,000 kiwi kids to take action then they should get Sophie Handford involved. As the national coordinator and founder of School Strike 4 Climate, she knows how to rally people. 12 year old Sophie invited a local MP to talk to her class about climate change, and ever since has been raising her voice about climate change and social issues. This includes being elected as one of the youngest councillors in the country for Kāpiti Coast, speaking at Select Committee public submission allocations, organising school events and being elected onto the Board of Trustees. She is currently working on holding Kāpiti Coast Council accountable to act on its carbon neutral 2025 resolution, building engagement between young and old and providing opportunities for youth to have a voice in decision making.
Courtney Davies [24, Agricultural & rural Ambassador, Auckland]

Courtney Davies lives and works in a field that is not known for its gender diversity: agriculture. She is the youngest executive member of the Royal Agricultural Society since its inception and is passionate about showing young New Zealanders how important the need for sustainable agriculture is. She does this through her role as a New Zealand Rural Ambassador, holding youth competitions at A&P shows, and leading by example raising her own Ayrshire cattle—a naturally hardy breed with minimal environmental damage compared to traditional dairy breeds. She's involved in local regional governance, and is an Environmental Educator at BLAKE NZ, bridging the urban-rural divide. Her biggest challenge is overcoming gender and age barriers in agriculture. She’s had to grit her teeth many times through being told that these farming activities “require someone stronger”.
Tulsi Lathia [18, Creator of multicultural cookbook “Spoonful of Spice’, Christchurch]

Tulsi Lathia had an idea to help bridge the 'cultural gap' in New Zealand, bringing her own experience as a migrant to the table. Knowing that food brings people together, and is a common thread to share one’s heritage, Tulsi and her teammates started a social enterprise to publish a multicultural cookbook. Still at school, Tulsi did not have the financial capabilities to fulfil the costs. However, as they began to share their idea they were nominated for several grants and applied for funding to fuel the inception of ‘Spoonful of Spice’. After the Christchurch mosque shootings Tulsi knew her cookbook was even more needed. ‘Spoonful of Spice’ includes personal stories from refugees and migrants and their shared recipes, with 100% of the profits going to the Christchurch Refugee Resettlement Centre. Tulsi would like to build a team of people passionate about ‘bridging the cultural gap’ and collaborate with others to create spaces where people can come together and unapologetically be themselves.