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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).

Our Board is 43% female and 57% male, with three female directors (including our CEO) and four male directors. Our Leadership also has a 50% female and 50% male split.  We also have 42% females in senior roles (outside our Board and Leadership Squad).

Spark is 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, which we currently lack.  We are currently refreshing our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems across Spark, including our people systems. This will provide an opportunity to encourage our people to share their ethnicity data, to support our work in this space. 

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 have been intentional in weaving Te Korowai Tupu, our Māori Strategy, throughout our business, informing how we develop strong connections with Māori businesses and partners, as well as uplifting our own understanding of Te Ao Māori through our own cultural responsiveness modules, Te Ara Reo (Language Pathway) classes, and other learning resources in line with our growth mindset commitment.  

Our partnerships with established Māori organisations have ensured we remain authentic in our desire to uplift our capability in this domain.  Our key partners include Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Whāriki, Kōkiri, Arataki Systems, Kiwa Digital, Te Taura Whiri and Te Ipukarea.

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.
Rainbow Tick

In 2017, Spark was the first company in New Zealand’s telecommunications sector to achieve the Rainbow Tick certification, which it has maintained. It also made a commitment to be an active and supportive member, and an ally of the Rainbow Community both internally and externally.
Spark demonstrates its support of the Rainbow Community by endorsing several regional activations and events, including the annual Auckland Pride and Spark Empowerment Initiative – a month long festival celebrating rainbow events.  This initiative helps to resource Auckland’s diverse rainbow communities by supporting those producing events for the festival.

We also support OUTline NZ, a national charity that offers a free support line for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and family and friends.  In recent years, we have renewed our Genesys Cloud support for a further three years, activated an OUTline Chat service, and assisted with OUTline’s rebranding.

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