About Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland is a rich tapestry of identities, communities and backgrounds. We aim to make our University a nurturing space where staff can thrive and grow. We are committed to upholding the principles of Te Ara Tautika, Equity Policy. In the spirit of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we work to create an environment where people find a sense of belonging. Together, we embrace the diversity of our communities as a source of strength, that empowers every member of our University to succeed and contribute to a brighter future.

Established in 2022, Staff Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Staff DEI) operates as an integral function of Human Resources, dedicated to weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion into every part of the University's staff experience.   

By fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding, we empower each individual to contribute their unique perspectives and talents, enriching our collective efforts to achieve excellence.

What we do

Our three workstreams are informed by Taumata Teitei 2030 Strategic Plan 2025 which aims to develop a workforce that is diverse,equitable and inclusive.

Everyone has a role to play in supporting a safe, equitable and inclusive workplace environment and culture for our diverse communities:

Developing our equity infrastructure

We co-create, promote and continuously work to improve interventions for our staff coming from historically marginalised or underrepresented communities. Waipapa Taumata Rau has a robust set of policies, resources and services that places equity at its core.

We also support members of our staff communities to connect with one another and facilitate spaces for reflection and discussion to improve their employee experience.

Improving our DEI capability

We design and facilitate specialist training across the University that improves our capability to understand our identities, navigate our differences and celebrate our identities. This is crucial to build a place where everyone finds a sense of belonging. 

From foundational topics such as unconscious bias and intercultural navigation to more specific ones such as disability confidence, we aim to develop and provide a set of learning experiences to strengthen staff’s sense of belonging.

You can register for our first refreshed workshop offering Working with Unconscious Bias on Career Tools.

Rethinking our HR systems

We work to make our HR systems inclusive and mindful of our diverse communities. To this end, we partner with all HR functions to bring evidence based, best practice solutions and connect our communities with decision makers in the people and culture space.

We work with internationally recognised DEI metrics to monitor and analyse data about staff workforce composition, including demographic information, representation across different occupation groups and employee experience surveys. This data helps identify areas of improvement and measure progress towards diversity, equity and inclusion such as the work on Gender Pay Gap reporting for the University.

Contact the Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team

Dr Guillermo Merelo (he/him)

Associate Director, Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, HR
Email: guillermo.merelo@auckland.ac.nz

The Associate Director - Staff DEI focuses on workplace DEI outcomes for academic and professional staff through designing and implementing strategies, plans and programmes. This role is also responsible for providing expert advice to members of HR and the University community.

Read more about Dr Merelo on the staff intranet.

Shasha Ali (she/her/dia)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Experience Lead, HR
Email: shasha.ali@auckland.ac.nz

The DEI Experience Lead contributes to the design and delivery of an outstanding DEI employee experience. This role ensures processes, policies, and regular interactions with staff DEI are cohesively mapped and delivered through excellent service standards. The Lead is also the first point of contact for engaging with all DEI staff related networks, providing technical and logistical advice and support.

Read more about Shasha and her work on the staff intranet.

Staff DEI networks

Staff networks play a vital role in fostering a more inclusive and supportive work environment. These networks provide a platform for staff members to connect, support one another, and contribute to the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Our team is currently supporting five staff networks as part of piloting intersectional approaches to workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives. These employee-led groups are voluntarily run and bring together staff members from non-dominant or intersecting backgrounds such disabilities, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, faith, and other identities.

The five staff DEI networks, in order of earliest to most recent are:

Disabled Staff / Staff with Disabilities Network
Chairperson: Prof. Virginia Braun

Rainbow Staff Network
Co-chairpersons: Stephanie Harris and Tee Boultier-Esprit

Asian Staff Network
Co-chairpersons: Lincoln Dam and Pooja Yadav

Women of Colour Staff Network
Co-chairpersons: Suzanne Acharya and Fay Nanai

Muslim Staff Network
Interim convenor: Shasha Ali, with Maclaurin Chaplaincy Associate Muslim Chaplain Shahela Qureshi

Starting in 2023, work is underway to develop resources and guidance on membership structure, governance capability, and increase visibility of existing staff DEI networks. Work is also planned to develop accessible guidelines on how to start a DEI staff network for other communities.

If you are a permanent, fixed term or casual staff member who identifies with and would like to be added into any of the current networks, please email: staffdiversityequityandinclusion@auckland.ac.nz.

Links to other staff networks

PVC Māori and PVC Pacific lead and develop staff engagement within their portfolios. Find out more about Rūnanga for Māori staff, and the Pasifika Staff Network for Pacific staff here.

Ask us - Equity contacts

Everyone at the University can play a part in contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for students and staff through engaging with different initiatives across the University.

Faculties and large-scale research institutes (LSRIs)

Every Faculty and LRSI has an Associate Dean Equity/Associate Director Equity.

These roles chair their equity and diversity committees. Their staff and student representatives gauge insights, discuss matters relevant to enhancing student and staff experiences, monitor and report on equity related trends and challenges, and identify DEI opportunities.

Faculties, LSRIs and service divisions participate in equity related strategies, plans and policy development through the Equity Action Network, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Equity.

For all equity-related contacts, visit the Ask us - Equity contacts page.