Meet the Judging Panel for the Inaugural New Zealand LGBTI Awards
By Ciaran Warner
The votes are in and the countdown has begun for the first New Zealand LGBTI Awards.
On November 29th, at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland, the Awards ceremony will honour those members of the shortlist who have been chosen as role models for the rainbow community and its allies.
However, the selection process also involves a panel of judges, who have been chosen for their sound judgement and dedication to the cause of tolerance and equality in New Zealand.
“We have chosen a judging panel of senior leaders who are invested in their workplace and also the wider LGBTI community,” says Silke Bader, Director and MD of the New Zealand LGBTI Awards.
The judges will decide the winners of the Corporate Awards Categories, which include Corporate and Social Allies of the Year, Diversity Champion of the Year, LGBTI Employee Network of the Year, and Inspirational Role Model of the Year.
The Public Awards, meanwhile, will be decided by 50% public vote, and 50% judge’s decision. In the event of a tie for any of the categories, the judge’s decision will be final.
The panel of judges is composed of an eclectic group of activists, academics and politicians, who have each lent their support to various LGBTI issues and supported those within the community for years.
One of the better-known faces on the panel is Nikki Kaye, New Zealand Member of Parliament for Auckland Central, a position she has been re-elected to several times. She describes herself as a strong supporter of the LGBTI community, and is particularly intent on reforming the adoption laws in New Zealand, which currently prohibit unmarried couples from adopting.
Another politician who has added their voice to the panel is Louisa Wall, Labour MP for Manurewa, who pushed forward legislation allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in New Zealand in 2013, and lobbying for gender identity to be added to New Zealand’s discrimination laws under the Human Rights Act in 2015.
Nick Winchester, co-founder and mentor for trans support organisation Kindred, is also on the panel. Nick has also volunteered for St Johns and Christchurch-based LGBTI youth group Qtopia, and is passionate about being a positive role model for those he supports.
Rāwā Karetai has also joined the judging panel. He is the Co-Convenor and chair of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in Oceania, and spends a great deal of time supporting Kiwi LGBTI organisations and suicide prevention, and has recently thrown his weight behind Human Rights Issues for Gender and Sexual Minorities, co-ordinating activities on their behalf with the Human Rights Commission.
Next up is Helen Leahy, the Pouarahi/Chief Executive of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu; the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island. Formerly Chief of Staff and National Secretary for the Māori Party, she is also the author of “Crossing the Floor: The Story of Tariana Turia”, for whom she was Senior Ministerial Advisor.
LGBTI advocate and Tamariki Advocate and Deputy Chief Executive for the Oranga Tamariki - Ministry of Vulnerable Children, Hoani Lambert (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa) is on the panel as well. Hoani has passionately supported civil unions for same-sex couples in 2005 and marriage equality in 2013 and was formerly Chair of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.
Finally, Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann has joined the panel. Karl is a fa’afafine, a Samoan who identifies as third-gender or non-binary. Born in Samoa, Karl has become a well-respected academic and mental health consultant since coming to New Zealand as a child, and is a strong supporter of the LGBTI community. He is also a Fuimaono, a title given to an ali'i or high chief of Western Samoa.
To find out more about the New Zealand LGBTI Awards, the judges, or the process, click here.
Contact New Zealand LGBTI Awards:
Phone: +61 2 8097 0054
Phone: 0274 587 724