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Diversity & Inclusion

  • At Spark we want every employee to feel valued, respected and confident to bring their whole self to work. We want to develop a culture that has diversity and inclusion at its heart.  

    This is reflected in Spark’s purpose: “To help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world” and Spark’s adoption of Agile ways of working, which relies on creating diverse teams that can use their different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences and skills to solve complex customer problems.  Collaboration by diverse teams is what creates magic.


    Spark’s 'Leading Diversity and Inclusion from the Heart' programme was launched to inspire everyone at Spark to be more inclusive in everything that they do, to celebrate the diversity within the organisation and ensure that everyone has a voice. This programme works alongside other focuses and initiatives at Spark, including: 

    • Blue Heart Pledge – inviting employees to make a personal commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion
    • Celebration of cultural events – through employee-led events and communications 
    • Champions for Change – to raise the value of diversity and inclusion across organisations in the public and private sector 
    • EmpowerED – a platform to support women in leadership and unleash the potential of aspirational women at Spark
    • Spark Pride – embracing the diversity of our LGBTQI+ community and our partnership with OUTLine NZ
    • Te Āhika – building our people’s capability in a Māori business environment

    Blue Heart

    Spark’s symbol for its diversity and inclusion programme is a blue heart, chosen as a symbol to represent that Spark has a ‘heart-led’ approach to D&I, not a ‘mind-led’ one, along with the ‘blue culture’ we want to build where achievement, self-awareness, encouragement and collaboration are tools we use every day. In the world of emoji (the language of mobile), a blue heart means trust, harmony, peace and loyalty. Nearly 3,000 Spark people, including all members of the Board and the Leadership Squad, have made a pledge to uphold the values of diversity and inclusion with their own personal commitment.  

    Celebration of cultural events 

    Celebration of significant cultural events are created and led by passionate Spark people. The company provides funding and support for our people to celebrate their own culture and share it with the rest of the organisation. These events have grown organically to include:

    • Diwali
    • Chinese (Lunar) New Year
    • ANZAC Day
    • Matariki and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    • Eid al-Fitr
    • NZ Sign Language Week
    • Chinese Language Week
    • Samoan Language Week
    • Cook Island Language Week

    Champions for Change

    Both Managing Director, Simon Moutter and Board Chair, Justine Smyth are members of Champions for Change, a group of New Zealand leaders from across the public and private sectors who are committed to raising the value of diversity and inclusion within their organisations and advocating for progress across all New Zealand workplaces. Champions come together to share challenges, solutions and achievements. As well as spearheading collective initiatives our two Spark Champions for Change lead specific workstreams that impact significant change within our organisation and across Aotearoa.

    EmpowerED and women in leadership

    Spark’s Board leads by example by having strong representation of women and continues to promote women in leadership at Spark. Visibility of women in senior roles is encouraged through initiatives like EmpowerED, a platform to unleash the potential of aspirational women at Spark. The series is made up of TED-style talks and panel discussions where women and men at Spark can ask leaders the hard questions, as well as providing opportunities for mentorship and networking.

    Spark celebrated International Women’s Day in 2018 by inviting inspirational New Zealand women to share their stories and insights at offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. 

    Spark Pride

    In 2017, Spark was the first company in New Zealand’s telecommunications sector to achieve the Rainbow Tick certification, which it has continued to maintain. It also made a commitment to be an active and supportive member and ally of the Rainbow Community both internally and externally, and the 2018 #thankstoyou campaign was the opportunity to demonstrate that commitment, both to Spark employees and to the rest of New Zealand. It acknowledged the historic efforts of individuals and organisations within the Rainbow Community, which mean younger generations can now grow up in a country that is more accepting, loving and respectful. It included the creation of a video, which went viral across New Zealand, and the announcement of a three-year strategic partnership with OUTLine (a confidential telephone support and face-to-face counselling service available to the LGBTQI+ community and their families and friends). 

    Spark also supports the Auckland Pride Parade, taking part with a large float in 2018 with senior executive participation. 

    Māori Strategy

    Spark’s vision for our Māori strategy is kanohi kitea – for our people to be seen, connected and empowered. Our mission is to become trusted advisors, enabling intergenerational digital solutions through amazing technology. Our purpose is awhinatia ngā tangata katoa o Aotearoa, kia matomato te tipu i tea o matihiko – To help all New Zealanders so that they may grow, stand strong and be successful in the digital world.

    Spark is building a relationship with the Māori community to effect change and become a driver for cultural, economic and social growth through meaningful partnerships and digital platforms – and we’ve proud of the progress made so far.  Spark has: 

    • Been identified as an ‘exemplar’ for use of Māori language (as traditionally non-speaking domains) which enabled its participation in a 12-month research project ‘Subjective Motivation’ conducted by Te Kotahi Research Institute via Te Taura Whiri;
    • Provided sponsorship of the first Māori Business Accelerator Programme Kōkiri, in partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa;
    • Participated in Hei Tauawhi Cultural Education Programme – a pilot scheme to educate some of Sparkpeople on the basics of tikanga Māori and te reo Māori;
    • Created an internal Tuia te ao Māori Culture and Language mobile application launched for Spark people to incorporate Māori customs into every day work life;
    • Launched the company’s own waiata – Manaakitia ngā iwi katoa, written and composed by Spark’s Te Arepa Morehu (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei);
    • Released a 2018 Matariki video in te reo Māori, which was the most shared video ever posted on the Spark Facebook page with over 5000 shares.
    • Launched Kupu an interactive mobile app that helps people learn Te Reo Māori translations by exploring the objects around them. From a cell phone image Kupu will use image recognition to identify what the object is in the picture and provide Te Reo Māori translations for the object(s).
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