Mai Chen is the Managing Partner of Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment law Specialists, Australasia’s first specialist public law firm which she co-founded in 1994. Mai is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Auckland School of Law; a Director on the Board of BNZ; Founder and Chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders; Founder and Chair of Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business; Inaugural Chair, NZ Global Women; and Co-founder, Cultural Bridge, a joint venture between Chen Palmer and NZME. Mai is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors. Mai was a top 10 finalist for the 2014 New Zealander of the Year Awards.
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Hon Margaret Wilson DCNZM
Hon Margaret Wilson was born in Gisborne in 1947 and holds a LLB from the University of Auckland. She has a distinguished career and was Dean at the University of Waikato (where she established New Zealand’s fifth law school), a trade unionist, Law Commissioner, President of the New Zealand Labour Party, Chief Political Advisor to Sir Geoffrey Palmer when he was in office, Member of Parliament, Attorney-General, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Since retiring from the political forefront, Hon Wilson has resumed her Professor of Law position at the University of Waikato.
Leo is a former Ombudsman from 2016-2018, and Deputy Ombudsman from 2004-2016. He has also occupied the roles of Assistant Ombudsman, Senior Investigating Officer, and Investigating Officer with the Office of the Ombudsman, and previously worked for the Parliamentary Counsel Office. Leo graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington and was admitted to the High Court of New Zealand in 1981.
Leo has been a champion for diversity in the public sector and will be building on that experience to advise private and public sector clients on managing the challenges and opportunities of a superdiverse society. Leo will be advising clients on the their diversity and inclusion strategies, delivering Cultural Intelligence (CQ) training, and to assist with its research into the implications superdiversity has for workplace health and safety, and other areas of law and policy.
Leo is of New Zealand and Japanese ethnicity.
Senior Māori Advisor
Marina has over sixteen years experience providing legal and public policy advice on a range of issues.
Marina has a LLB and Diploma for Graduates in Arts from the University of Otago, and was admitted to the Bar in 2002. Marina joined the public service, firstly with the Transition Tertiary Education Commission, then the Tertiary Education Commission. She was seconded to Parliament as the tertiary education private secretary for four senior Ministers of the Crown. She then moved back to the Tertiary Education Commission as a Senior Manager. Marina has extensive experience providing advice to organisations on public policy frameworks being proposed, developed and/or implemented in the education, Maori development, ethnic communities, economic development, science and innovation, tourism, and immigration.
Marina assists organisations who are undertaking the CQ Tick, which measures the existing level of cultural intelligence and capability of staff and management so that gaps and strengths can be identified and addressed. Marina also works with organisations who are part of the Global Talent Intern programme which increases their cultural capability by having an international student/graduate intern in their organisation. Marina also delivers Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and Unconscious Bias training.
Marina grew up in Invercargill. She is Ngati Kahu and Tuwharetoa. Marina is a member of Te Hunga Roia Maori Aotearoa (Maori Law Society).
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Senior Chinese Advisor
Zong-Pei grew up in Hong Kong. His family migrated to New Zealand in the late 1990s. Proficient in both Chinese Mandarin and Chinese Cantonese, Zong-Pei has been involved in international relations for the Wellington City Council since 2004 – hosting overseas Chinese delegations, translating and interpreting (including simultaneous interpretation) in official occasions, advising the Wellington Mayor on cultural and diplomatic matters, co-leading Mayoral delegations to North Asia, and connecting Kiwi businesses with opportunities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam.
Zong-Pei was also a civil servant at various central government entities for over 10 years before joining the private sector. He has a solid understanding of the machinery of government and has experience in the areas of building and construction law, criminal law, education law, immigration rules, evaluation, public policy, official information, courts management and international relations.
Outside work, Zong-Pei is a life member of the New Zealand Chinese Writers Association, a division of the World’s Chinese Writers Association, where membership is by invitation only. He is also a keen musician and plays a number of instruments.
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Rosie is an associate at Chen Palmer and was admitted to the Bar in 2016. She has a BA/LLB from the University of Auckland, and a BA(Hons) in International Relations from Victoria University of Wellington. She has experience working in Parliament, for central government, and for local government, specialising in governance issues. Most recently she was a specialist advisor on local government official information and privacy legislation.
Penelope is in her final year studying a LLB(Hons)/BA at the University of Auckland. Diversity and equity have always been important to her. Penelope has served as the Women’s Rights Officer, Welfare Vice President and Student Engagement Officer of Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA). She advocated for women, student parents, and students with disabilities on campus.
Penelope recently co-directed the United States Leadership Tour 2018. She led 14 students through five US cities to meet with the biggest players in foreign affairs and compete at the Harvard National Model United Nations.
Prior to joining Chen Palmer and the Superdiversity Institute, Penelope worked at the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.
Ben is an Associate at Chen Palmer and was admitted to the bar in 2018. He graduated from University of Auckland with an LLB(Hons) in the same year. At university, Ben served as President of UoA Comedy, and was an active member of the Chinese Law Students Society and the Fair Trade Club. Ben is an active member of the New Zealand comedy community. His crowning achievement was being awarded the UoA Comedy Worst MC award for 2017.
Prior to joining Chen Palmer, Ben was an intern with the New Zealand Police Prosecutions Service.
Anna is a fourth year BCom/LLB (Hons) student at the University of Auckland. She arrived in New Zealand with her family as new immigrants at the age of seven and settled in Papamoa, Tauranga. She has previously worked in Hong Kong as an intern.
Shivani is in her final year of LLB/BHSc at the University of Auckland. She has previous experience working as the legal clerk at ACC.
Shivani has her heart in the community and has volunteered at a number of not-for-profit organisations: Hospice Waikato, Waitamata Community Law Centre, the Equal Justice Project, just to name a few.