Launch of the Superdiversity Stocktake

The Superdiversity Stocktake was launched last night by prominent lawyer and Global Women member Mai Chen at the Auckland Art Gallery, from the new Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business.

The centre is designed to help New Zealanders adapt to a super-diverse New Zealand, and make sure we are fit for the future – the thinking is that “we cannot gain the benefits of superdiversity without understanding and addressing the challenges that come with the diversity dividend, and investing in social capital to keep financial capital high”, according to the website.

The 400-page report, available online, has 58 key findings and made 78 recommendations. It surveyed all government departments and agencies for superdiversity awareness, and ranked Police, Customs, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as the top four – see more information in this Herald article.

Chen says any conversation about superdiversity needs to start in Auckland – at the last Census, nearly one in four Aucklanders identified with an Asian ethnicity.
“What picture does the Superdiversity Stocktake paint? What investment is needed to keep New Zealand harmonious?”

She says we need to take superdiversity into account in the private sector to increase the bottom line, and in the public sector to develop policy that serves and consults with all New Zealanders.

It’s important we boost our cultural understanding in this country, for reasons from Silver Fern Farms’ huge Asian customer base, to increased intercultural marriage: our children-in-law may now be from another culture, says Chen.

Forward projects

The Superdiversity Stocktake doesn’t stop with the report, but will forge ahead with the following projects into 2016 and beyond:

  1. Joint venture with NZME, called “Cultural Bridge”, to help central government and organisations converse with all New Zealanders.
  2. AUT is sponsoring a working conference in February 2016 in response to the Superdiversity Stocktake, to ask what’s next, with approximately 100 key business and government leaders in attendance to discuss what they can commit to changing.
  3. A partnership with BNZ to share best practice on cultural intelligence. HR managers from around New Zealand will be invited to share in this and hear of the key findings from around the world.
  4. A Wellington briefing Nov 25, 2015, for public servants on the key findings of the Superdiversity Stocktake.
  5. The launch of a survey tool to measure cultural capability of a company’s workforce, available to organisations.

Small business

Global Women member and New Zealand Managing Director for Xero Victoria Crone spoke at the event, and says her key learnings around superdiversity are that her customers are grappling with the increased diversity in their small businesses – they just don’t have the skills nor the time to integrate other cultures into their businesses.

She says unconscious bias is rife when hiring; if they see photos, names or meet candidates from another culture, they see it as “just too hard”. In addition, these employers don’t understand cultural differences: nuances, language.

She says the Auckland market is seeing a large majority of immigrants head for sectors such as cafes, bakeries, dairies, and small horticultural enterprises – hard-work industries that Kiwis don’t want.

But she says those businesses that have successfully integrated other cultures have improved bottom lines, and critical to this success was listening and empathy.

Crone says Xero is committed to keeping the Superdiversity Stocktake momentum going by telling stories of how businesses have successfully implemented diversity and inclusion, publishing case studies, and training its 4000 accountants to advise customers on emotional and cultural intelligence for small businesses. Xero is also gathering data on increase of financial performance when a business has successful cultural integration.

Take-home points

The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, former judge, Ombudsman, and Governor-General of New Zealand, is patron of the Superdiversity Stocktake, and at the launch told the audience there are three take-home points from the report:

  1. The 2013 census has shown the makeup of New Zealand society has changed, particularly the rise of immigrants from Asia
  2. Multicultural policies need to be developed to involve all.
  3. The government needs to work on what the new society means, and what will work.
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