Embracing a culture of inclusion
Inclusion is a vital element of a business’ sustainability and social purpose. It is the right thing to do – mahi tika.
The vision for Heartland is to be an accepting and welcoming workplace for all people, where diversity of thought and cultural intelligence is valued.
Diversity brings fresh ideas and different perspectives. This is at the heart of our aim to be always evolving – mahi tipu. A welcoming and accepting workplace makes it possible to realise the best of everyone, to have big ambition – mahi toa – and to work together as one team – mahi tahi.
One of Heartland’s objectives is to be the employer of choice for Māori. Part of this means creating an environment where Māori language, culture and values are embraced. In doing so, the foundation is built to become an inclusive and welcoming environment for all cultures.
Ko tētahi o ngā whāinga a Heartland kia noho mātāmua hei wāhi mahi mō Ngāi Māori. Inā rā, ka whakatūria he taiao mahi e manaaki nei i te reo Māori, i te ahurea Māori me ngā mātāpono Māori. Mā tēnei ka rite te tūāpapa kia tū ai te whare hei whakamanuhiri i ngā ahurea katoa.
Initiatives to increase the presence and use of Māori culture and language underway include:
- free reo and tikanga Māori lessons
- creation of Manawa Whenua, a group to support and inform Māori initiatives within Heartland
- Māori signage and Mahi Māori video series
increased use of te reo Māori and tikanga in formal occasions
- Māori translations of website and annual reports
- Māori language and symbolism within Heartland mātāpono (values).
The benefits of these initiatives are starting to show internally, particularly in the increased capability of Heartland people in respect of te reo Māori. This has led to more use of te reo Māori throughout daily work life. The introduction of bilingual values was warmly welcomed by all employees, including in Australia, and reo and tikanga Māori lessons are being extended into an internal video series.
“Kua tawhiti kē te haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu. He nui rawa te mahi, kia kore e mahi tonu.”
We’ve gone too far not to go further. We’ve done too much not to do more.
– Sir James Henare
Although progress has been made over the last two years since we set out on this journey, Māori are still under-represented in Heartland’s workplace, making up 4% of staff. This is above average for the sector – of those who identify as Māori in the working population, 2.8% work in the financial and insurance services sector, according to Māori Labour Market trends. However, it is well below Māori representation in the overall workforce, where a recent household labour force survey showed that Māori make up 13% of the New Zealand labour force.
This lack of representation of Māori in the financial sector means that the onus on us is not simply to recruit but to encourage participation generally.
Supporting the Māori community is just as important as ensuring we continue to encourage and develop Māori culture and inclusivity internally. In FY2019, the Heartland Trust sponsored:
- Te Matatini Festival – a Māori performing arts event central to Māori identity and culture
- Kupe Leadership Scholar Tāmati Rākena – a Masters of Education student with a passion for supporting Māori communities
- InZone Education Trust – an organisation that aims to enhance the outcomes of Māori youth by providing opportunities for students to attend high-performing state schools.
In addition, Heartland’s internship programme is based on the Māori concept of ‘ako’ which means to learn and to teach. As such, it provides a rich opportunity for interns to learn from us about the world of work, and for us to learn from them.
By increasing the presence of Māori culture and language at Heartland, and by showing our commitment and support to Māori, we are creating a workplace where Māori can see a career pathway. In doing so, we are also providing a valuable opportunity for our people to increase their cultural awareness and intelligence by learning more about New Zealand’s rich and diverse culture, setting Heartland up to become a place that is welcoming to all people.
Strong progress in FY2019 has been made towards inclusivity for Māori, and it is recognised that there is more to do.