September 30, 2021

Meet the Top Diverse Board-Ready Directors 2021: Part 4

The Superdiversity Institute and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities are pleased to announce that the ‘Top Diverse Board-Ready Directors List 2021’ has been decided. Meet the next twelve below!

Kai-Shek Luey
Kai Luey is a NZ born Chinese who is an Electrical Engineering graduate with a distinguished working career internationally in the electricity transmission and distribution industry. Since his retirement in 1998, he has become a respected leader in Chinese community activities and ethnic community affairs generally including being Chairman for over 20 years of New Zealand Chinese Association Auckland Branch and Auckland Chinese Community Centre Inc. A particularly relevant initiative was to organise a series of five Going Banana events which gained considerable attention in highlighting the challenges of acceptance in NZ for ethnic minorities such as Chinese who have contributed greatly to the economic welfare of their new homeland.

Luxmanan Selvanesan:
Lux hails from Jaffna, Sri Lanka and has lived in a number of places around the world before moving to New Zealand and calling it home. Lux has a passion for learning about different cultures and languages, and firmly believes in the concept of unity through diversity. Lux trained as a Molecular Biologist at the University of Otago, currently working as a Product Development Scientist for Pacific Edge Limited, a cancer research company in Dunedin at the forefront of developing cutting edge, non-invasive cancer detection tools. Lux is also the President of the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council, is a member of many local ethnic and cultural groups and has led multiple community initiative and projects. Lux is excited about using his knowledge and experiences gained in the fields of science and community work to help other individuals and organisation grow. He lives with his wife and four kids in Dunedin.

Staverton Kautoke
Staverton Kautoke was born and raised in Tonga and came to New Zealand in 2006 where he completed his medical studies at the University of Otago. He is happily married with a young son. Staverton has vast experiences in leadership and governance. Working as a doctor for the last almost 10 years has been a pleasure and privilege for Staverton who has met many people with diverse backgrounds and different walks of life. He has shared their happiness, sadness, suffering and journey which has cultivated empathy and compassion which is integral to all aspects of life especially being an adapatable and a conscientious diverse thinker.

Debbie Peri
I am of Tainui, Ngāti Raukawa and Italian descent. I spent eight years abroad, six of which were spent studying in the USA in esteemed academic institutions. Since I returned to Aotearoa in my mid-20s, I have worked in many different sectors and in many different roles, including governance roles. I picked up a Law degree in the early 2000s and have most recently been in senior leadership and executive roles in large commercial and public sector organisations. I have a uniquely global-cum-local perspective, an appreciation of many cultures and countries, and I am also aware through firsthand experience, observation and data, of the inherent biases people carry, the privileges many people benefit from but are not necessarily aware of, and how these affect our decisions and impressions. My appreciation of diversity comes not only from my experience of ethnicities, cultures and biases, but also from my intellectual curiosity and exposure across many social and business sectors. I am and always have been a cautious optimist, a pragmatic idealist and I continue to search for ways in which I can help to push us all forward towards a more equitable, sustainable and fair future, one that my three children can inherit.

Maria Jose Alvarez
Maria Jose invests in deep-tech start-ups from Seed to Series A and supports companies through the process of investment, commercialisation, and growth. MJ is a Biotechnology Engineer from Universidad Andres Bello in Chile and has a Masters in BioScience Enterprise from the University of Auckland. Prior to her time in NZ, MJ co-founded and operated VidAoX, a deep-tech start-up focused on the Agritech sector. MJ is an Executive Council member at AgritechNZ, and an Independent Committee member at StartUp Science, the Seed Fund of the Chilean Ministry of Science. She is also a founding member of the Momentum Investment Committee, a national organisation that provides advice and access to funding for young entrepreneurs. MJ is a part of the AgriTech & Food Investment Committee at Return On Science, a member of the Women In Leadership Development Program, and mentors early-career women in STEM that are transitioning into Industry

Yeshe Dawa
As a community-builder, Yeshe enjoys connecting with people in an authentic way and forming strong, ongoing, inclusive relationships. Yeshe is drawn to meaningful work and organisations. She has eleven years of experience in marketing, communications and relationship management, including seven years managing her own successful business, The Midnight Baker. Yeshe is the brains and baker behind The Midnight Baker. On a journey to heal her eczema from the inside out, Yeshe crafted her allergy-friendly gluten-free bread and fostered a conscious new community. Now, her much loved bread is supplied and served at eateries and speciality stores across Aotearoa.

Roimata Claasen
A proud graduate of Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa, Roimata grew up in Rangitukia, in Te Riu o Waiapu, on the East Coast of the North Island. She was privileged to be taught the stories and histories of her tīpuna and to be nurtured by the many different nannies, pāpā, uncles and aunties across the Coast. For the past ten years, Roimata has worked as a corporate lawyer in Auckland and London, and recently completed an MBA at The University of Oxford. She is passionate about improving the lives and wellbeing of iwi Māori and New Zealanders in general, and looks forward to contributing her basket of knowledge in the boardroom.

Dr Melani Anae
Dr Melani Anae, is Associate Professor in Pacific Studies, at the University of Auckland. She is a former Director of the Centre for Pacific Studies; a recipient of the Fulbright New Zealand Senior Scholar Award; the Companion to the Queen’s Service Order for services to Pacific communities in New Zealand. In 2014 she was awarded a Marsden Grant from the Royal Society of New
Zealand for her project on transnational Samoan chiefs. She has carried out research and published extensively in her specialty areas of ethnicity, health, education, Pacific research methodologies, relational ethics and Pacific approaches to a broad range of social issues. Her research interests include regional processes of migration, urbanization, ethnicity, Pacific activism, and the politics of identity, more specifically focusing on more finely nuanced understandings of transnational identity construction of Pacific peoples and communities in the diaspora. She is part of a large extended Samoan aiga, and is a grandmother and mother of three children.

Deborah Hart
A first generation New Zealander and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I’ve had a varied career as a lawyer, director, chief executive, government relations specialist and media commentator. I’ve managed complex relationships and have a collaborative style to ensure the voices of all. I have been appointed by the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to chair the inaugural Consumer Advocacy Council. I am the chair of the board of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand and on the board of DocEdge. I am also on the panel of the Human Rights Review Tribunal and have advised on family justice reform. I am the Director of ASH NZ and recently undertook the review of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. I am the former executive director of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.

Linda Meade
Linda was a Partner at Deloitte New Zealand from 2013 until 2020, when she established her own advisory firm. She continues to play a lead role in the delivery of public sector and infrastructure engagements, with particular emphasis on central government departments, the transport sector, education and housing. Linda is on the Boards of Weltec and Whitireia polytechnics, Studio Pacific Architecture, The New Zealand Initiative and was a founder member of Women’s Infrastructure Network advisory board. She owns two childcare centres in Wellington, which were established as a lighthouse of best practice in early childhood education, and is a trustee of the Whanake Education Trust and a former trustee of Wellington Zoo. She is a passionate Wellingtonian, with strong connections to the Wairarapa and two teenage daughters.

Gordon Shaw
Gordon is the Executive Director of VINZ – Vehicle Inspection NZ. (Appointed in 2019). Gordon was the CEO of VINZ from 2014 to 2019.  Gordon is a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors [CMInstD] and is also currently a Steering Group member of the NZ Business Leader’s Health and Safety Forum. Gordon has extensive management and governance experience in the transport sector in New Zealand and overseas. He joined VINZ in 2014 as CEO. Part of Gordon’s group accountabilities has been to lead the development of new products and services in NZ, Australia, Fiji and Japan. Gordon is an experienced governor and hands-on senior executive / business leader at a CEO and general manager level  in both private and public sectors with organisations in Japan and NZ such as Optimus Group, JEVIC JAPAN, JEVIC NZ, VINZ, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, LTSA (now Waka Kotahi), ACC and Dun & Bradstreet. Gordon has a specialisation in the transport and automotive sectors. Gordon has honed his skills as an experienced certified management consultant and independent consulting professional allowing him to bring to the board table specific experience in consulting and advisory, change management, programme and project management and process improvement.

Judy Whiteman
A facilitator, mentor/coach, consultant and director in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, Judy is passionate about helping people achieve success for themselves, their people, and their organisations. Judy has many years’ experience in senior management and executive positions in the global financial services industry, both in New Zealand and abroad. Judy has been a director (executive and non-executive) on various boards. Her governance experiences are deep, diverse, over many years and several countries. She is currently an Independent Director, Bank of India (New Zealand) Ltd and a Trustee, NZ Housing Foundation. Previous governance roles include Presbyterian Support Northern (Independent Trustee, Deputy Chair, Chair of Investment Committee) and Te Waipuna Puawai (Independent Director, Chair), ANZ Staff Superannuation (Australia) Ltd
(Director). Judy is a Chartered Member Institute of Directors New Zealand, a Fellow Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.