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Diversity and inclusion


We aspire for diversity and inclusion to be “how things are done at Spark” – embedded into our day-to-day activities, standards, and business practices. This is reflected in Spark’s purpose: To help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world.

Āwhinatia ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa kia matomato te tipu i te ao matihiko

To help all of New Zealand grow, stand strong and thrive in a digital world. It’s also reflected in 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.

Our diversity performanceOur ambition is to achieve 40:40:20 representation Spark-wide, which refers to 40% men, 40% women, and 20% of any gender (as well as gender diverse representatives).

Overall, across Spark group we have female representation at 34%. The proportion of females in our Wider Leadership Group (senior leaders outside of the Board and Leadership Squad) is 47%.  Our Board is 43% female and 57% male, with three female directors (including our CEO) and four male directors. Our Leadership Squad has a 60% female and 40% male split.  

Spark is also committed to encouraging authentic ethnic participation in our business, and we are working alongside credible partner organisations Diversity Works, Champions for Change, Global Women, and the Sustainable Business Council, to develop a framework and subsequent actions to support positive change.

A key enabler of establishing meaningful approaches within our own business is having a clear picture of workforce ethnicity data. In order to create meaningful movement and change around ethnic diversity we need access to quality data to provide us with a benchmark of what our organisation currently looks like, and greater insight into the changes that we need to make to improve representation. So far, around 50% of our people (excluding employees in wholly-owned subsidiaries) have shared their ethnicity data with us, and this remains a focus for the year ahead. 

Our focus over the next year is to reach out to our people, armed with a greater understanding of who we are, to create experiences, support and initiatives that reflect our increased cultural intelligence across our business. We hope this will flow into the attraction of new talent, progression of diverse talent through the business, and further our people’s sense of connection and belonging. 

We are also currently participating in the Diverse Digitech 2040 Design kaupapa alongside Spark Foundation – an initiative focussed on creating employment pathways for Māori and Pasifika youth. 

Spark’s Blue Heart KaupapaOur Blue Heart Kaupapa sets the standard of behaviour and the values we stand for, creating a culture of belonging.  It is a visible icon of our heart-led approach to diversity and inclusion. 

We want to build a ‘blue culture’, where achievement, self-awareness, encouragement and collaboration are tools we use every day. In the world of emojis (the language of mobile), a blue heart means trust, harmony, peace and loyalty.

At last count, about 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. 

Cultural celebrations and mental health awareness events remain an important part of bringing our people together. We celebrate the wide range of cultures and communities that make up the Spark whanau. The company provides funding and support for our people to celebrate and share their own culture with the rest of the organisation. These celebrations are organised by our own passionate people, for our people. These include key moments such as:

  • 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
  • International Women's Day

Te Korowai TupuTe Korowai Tupu o Kora Aotearoa (the cloak of growth of Spark New Zealand) is inspired, driven, and led by kawa (protocol), tikanga (process), and kaupapa Māori. It takes the threads of a tangata whenua world view that can be woven across Kora Aotearoa – into our strategic pillar, business strategies, Spark values and shared Māori values to embrace the physical and spiritual nature of te ao Māori.  

We continue to promote our people’s understanding of te ao Māori by delivering cultural responsiveness modules, and Te Ara Reo, our Māori language pathway strategy which currently has over 150 of our people learning te reo Māori at beginner and intermediate levels.

We continue to work in partnership to bring our strategy to life through our stable of key partners of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Whāriki, Kōkiri, Arataki Systems, Kiwa Digital, Te Taura Whiri, Te Ipukarea, Education Perfect and Te Pūtahitanga o te Waipounamu.

Through our partnership with Hapai Tūhono we are committed to building our future Māori leadership talent by supporting their development pathways. 

Champions for ChangeSpark's CEO, Jolie Hodson 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 awareness about the business 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.

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